I have never been a military type. I guess it’s partially my upbringing – I don’t have any family members in the army, and my parents never talked about it as an option for a career. Not that they’d have condemned me if I’d picked it, but it was just never discussed. And I think it’s partially because of my personality. I am not the type to give orders, or to unconditionally obey them! I am fun-loving, free-wheeling, creative and spontaneous; none of those qualities are particularly suited for a military life. Perhaps because of this, I have never fully understood those analogies that we are engaged in spiritual warfare. I certainly agree that the ways of God are not the ways of the world – the world is far too materialistic and concerned with appearances – but I just can’t fully buy into the warfare analogies. Ideas that we are God’s warriors, in His army, just don’t click with me. Likewise, the idea that I am at war with myself, my past, my desires, also doesn’t work with me. I know that everything I want to do, I shouldn’t, and I know that my past is not exactly white-washed. But still, I prefer to cultivate an environment of acceptance. Yes, I’m not perfect, my life and surroundings are not the picture of purity or holiness, but that’s okay. Those around me are not perfect and the world is not an entirely happy place, but I am not at war with it. Is that silly? Or a cop-out? I don’t know!
I think that some people are suffering from “soldier syndrome,” some as severe as Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. They are so tired, so worn out from continuous battle…. They feel as though they’re making no progress and the urgency of the situation bears down on them. And it is this attitude of war that perhaps drives them to be more judgmental, less welcoming to strangers, and tired and grumpy in general! Please don’t get mad ’cause I am calling you grumpy! I am just saying that if you feel a bit like a tired soldier that’s been away on duty too long, perhaps you need to “come home.” Remember that God is always here – we are not a remotely operating army, with only sporadic communication from home base – and we are not removed from Him at all simply because we or the environment around us is imperfect.
I welcome comments about what you think about the warfare analogy of life!