I hope it’s okay to like a trait that I simultaneously recognize the need to keep in check.
I’m a nice lady, but I can be a fiercely protective wife, mama, and friend.
Sometimes this has gotten me into trouble. Once it necessitated my 16-year-old sitting me down to tell me that as much as he appreciated my being in his corner, I simply couldn’t ask more of people than they were capable of doing, and that I needed to leave them to God to continue to grow and perfect. I told him to shut up. Well, not exactly like that, but I did sulk for a bit at having been spiritually schooled by my teenager. Deep down I was fiercely proud of him. He has grown up to be protective of those he loves, too, all under God’s big plan, and he’s probably better at it than me. But maybe I’ll do in a pinch.
It pierced my heart to watch another son’s heart be shattered by a girl. My protectiveness took the form of speaking truth a lot of people didn’t want to hear. In the end I pulled it back and put it in a box and sealed it shut because I was asked not to share it. It wasn’t fair that my son bore the brunt of something that wasn’t his fault, but God laid His calming hand over my heart and reminded me that this was ultimately for our son’s good. I now see what He meant. I was trying to protect him, but God was protecting him for something–someone–who would love and value him the way he deserves. I will always be grateful for that.
I was reminded a few days ago how quickly I can come to my husband’s defense when someone misunderstood something he said on a social media site and called his character into question. I had to walk away and pray me some Jesus intervention so I didn’t put the holy smackdown on some folk. Don’t be talking mess about my man.
I’m getting better about defending friends in gentle ways rather than speaking sternly first and thinking later. Prayerfully thinking before opening my mouth (or engaging my fingers) is helping. Who knew?
I try to follow Jesus’ example for focusing my protectiveness on honor and integrity and what is Godly, trying not to take things too personally (even for those I love) unless it’s blatantly necessary. I figure if Jesus was protective without sinning, I should be able to at least make a go of it in the right way.
One thing I will always protect (because love always protects) is my family, and by extension the institution of family. It is my heart to preserve God’s plan for marriage, parenting, and family, and because of that it is an area of ministry where “I feel God’s pleasure”.
I am wildly protective of the right to life for the pre-born, and the right to continued quality life for the elderly.
I am patriotically protective of American freedoms, the most important of which is the freedom to worship God without restriction (followed closely by any other freedom that helps ensure that right).
I am unswervingly protective of all who have special challenges in life. They are among my favorite people on the planet.
Since childhood I have been a champion for the underdog. Melvina Waltz was a girl no one in our junior high school wanted to be around. Socially awkward, she had few if any real friends. I gave her my favorite Disney plaque for her birthday in 9th grade. I’m pretty sure it’s the only present she got. She was a uniquely-wired girl, but Melvina deserved the love of at least one friend.
Some of the worst beatings I’ve ever suffered came as a result of me standing up for someone else. In 4th grade I stood up for my little friend Robin Stinnett and was nearly killed by the trailer park bully for my troubles. That same year (because my protectiveness tends to jump ahead and replace good sense) when I stood up for Leigh French against Linda Lawrence and wound up under the merry-go-round spitting out dirt Leigh had to help me walk to class. Demaris Lawhorn beat the daylights out of me for standing up to her terrorizing of every girl in 7th grade. The principal was so afraid her blows to my head were lethal that he turned as white as the cafeteria walls. I lived to fight another day.
I just hope God continues to temper my protectiveness and help me to discern when to speak up and when to pipe down. As long as He is my verbal gatekeeper, prayerfully I will protect well.