Do you remember those old Western TV flicks where the bad guys are wildly closing in on the pioneers in their covered wagons? Billows of gritty dust. Horses galloping at full throttle. Bullets and arrows zipping all around. Maybe, if you’re like me, you feel like this is your life right now. “Circle the wagons! Circle the wagons!”
Back in the day when under attack, the pioneers would turn their prairie schooners into a tight circle, unhitch the horses, and draw every man, woman, child, cow, and horse into the middle of the ring. Then they had the advantage to fire back at their unprotected assailants. (Today we’d nab our cell phones and lattes and call OnStar®.)
I’ve had to circle my wagon a bunch lately. My computer hard drive screeched to its death. The electric hedge trimmer mauled my fingertip. Dear friends are terribly ill. I’m sure you can relate to times of drawing inward and stepping out of the fracas around you.
Even Ancient People Huddled Up
I can think of numerous times in the Bible where the people circled their wagons . . . er, chariots: Moses and the children of Israel just before the Red Sea parted (Exodus 14); David and his men retreating to a cave to escape their enemies (1 Samuel 22); the disciples after Jesus died (Luke 24).
Circling our wagons is not a sign of giving up but getting a better vantage point. We huddle up to regroup and recharge and rethink our next steps. We just have to be wise about what and who we allow into our wagon circle huddle.
Psalm 5:11 from The Message describes what happens when we include God at the center of our wagon circle: “. . . You’ll welcome us with open arms when we run for cover to you.”
I like those odds. God with open arms and me with my cell phone in airplane mode.
This example is such a great word picture. Life is not always rises. There are such trials along our life’s Journey that at times it is easy to dispair. Sometime it has felt as if I am walking in peanut butter or “post holing” through deep snow. It has taken all the emotional energy I could summon to put one foot in front of the other when wishing I could curl up in bed and hide. I would ask God for strength to go on and wonder how he could let thus happen to me. All I wanted was to adopt some kids who needed hope and a future. I had no idea what I was in for when we brought our daughters home from Ukraine. They had been so very traumatized that they were full of rage. To have my love and caring for our girls be not only rejected but have vitriol and verbal abuse doled our daily fir years has been incredibly painful. Living in my home in s hostile environment almost destroyed me. I became someone who I did not recognize. I am usually an outgoing person reaching out to others. This experience drained 99% of my emotional energy. I needed people to reach out to me as i didn’t have the strength. However, I found that most are in their own battles and need others to initiate. I used to initiate but just didn’t have the strength anymore. At the same time we left Seattle after 26 years there, leaving good friends, clients, etc. we were suffering from the financial situation the recession had wreaked on us and our business. In addition, my mom was in Denver dying of Alzheimer’s and I could do nothing to help her. I lost a very good friend who moved here and we had taken in. After two years she apologized from being mean and cruel to my husband and I. I appreciated that but don’t know if the friendship can be put back together. Thus is sad. Iven with all the sorrows in life there are also joys and new friends whom God brings into our lives. It takes more emotional reserves to build new friendships and sometimes we have to dig deep when our well has been almost drained.
Did we “circle our wagons” to conserve our energy? Absolutely! Bruce did not feel the “peanut butter and Post holing like I did as he did not experience our daughter’s anger toward their birth mother for all the abuse she wreaked on them. That anger was transferred to me. For years I felt as I were just surviving daily. I would sometimes think of those who were walking in a much worse reality than I….those running for their lives from ISIS with their kids and belongings on their backs….no place to live or to get food or water. It would break my heart to see this. My heartache and sorrow was mostly emotional…which is bad enough when one lives with hostility daily. However, these prople runnering for their lives didn’t have time to agonize emotionally over what they were going through. They just had to get through it and survive. If they had children or loved ones I cannot even imagine the helpless, hopeless feeling of watching their children or wife suffer at the hand of others and be helpless in the face of that horror. Well, I have gone on too long sharing my thoughts here.
Although not totally out of my deep deep valley I am feeling my strength return gradually. I feel a bit of strengthening and restoration beginning to occur. I am still taking my “St. John’s Wort”which helps the depression which is slowly improving.
God us helping my me build my real estate business again after leaving it all behind in Seattle. Our daughter’s seem to be improving somewhat in attitude and one of them has been working regularly for 6 months. We tell how proud we are of her for doing this.
Your thoughts on circling the wagons in hard times as did our forefathers elicited many thoughts. I went on too long. I am thankful to God for supporting my husband and I and helping us get settled in Colorado Springs. I didn’t know how we would do it but just that we were supposed to move here. I don’t see everything clearly yet but hindsight is sharper than hindsight. I am thankful! Thank you for your thoughts on this blog.
Summer, thank you for sharing your journey with the girls and your move over these past several years. It is good to hear how you’ve grown through the peanut butter slogging and post holing. May the Lord continue to draw you close, refresh you and give you new strength for each new day. Perhaps we need to stay with our wagons circled until He says the coast is clear.
Beth, this reminds me of a memory from my childhood which I’ll tell you sometime! Always good to circle the wagons and have a plan! 🙂
Nancy, I’d love to hear your childhood memory. I like your plan part to the wagon circling, which does involve seeking God’s direction on next steps. Sometimes that’s sit and park it. Other times it’s aim your efforts over here. But always it’s “trust Me, no matter what.”
That’s a great analogy, Beth. Thank you. As always, you write and express yourself so well.
Sometimes, there are distractions, sent by the enemy of our souls. They can be lying spirits, at times, sent to rob us of our peace and to distract us. As a result, we have to circle the wagons in “defense”. They can be distractions from the more “offensive” stance of serving others and ministering to others. That message, around distractions, is fresh on my mind because a friend in Florida shared that with me around 5:30 this morning.
The thief comes only to kill, steal, and destroy whereas our Lord offers Life more abundantly. We can circle the wagons and rise up in our full authority to push back the enemy in Jesus’ Name.
God bless you dear Beth and readers!
Thank you, Dorease, for your wise words on countering distractions. We certainly face a steady lineup of them every day. And the grand news is that God does not leave us powerless against these distractions and assaults from the enemy.
To me, circling the wagons opens a tiny escape hatch to a makeshift safe house where you can take those deep breaths, screw your head on straight, tap into the strength and resolve you carry within, and come out fighting. The bad guys can huff and puff from here to eternity, but they’ll never be able to blow your house down.
Diana, I love your analogy of a safe house where you regroup and stand your ground before going back into the fray. Thank you for sharing your perspective!