I was reading this week about David fighting Goliath. (In Pete Wilcox’s book Walking the Walk.) In 1 Samuel 17, David refused to wear the king’s armour, which was a massive and risky thing to do. He might offend the king, and leave himself vulnerable. But he knew he had to fight the giant his own way. As himself. Saul and the rest of the army had their own ideas about the best way to battle on, but David was different. He was going to get through as a shepherd boy, not a soldier. If he had marched up to Goliath with a sword and a spear for the usual kind of combat he knew Goliath would floor him in a sneeze. But instead he kept his distance, and remembered how God helped him to fight bears and lions. Goliath made for a big target, the downside of being a giant, and so with a prayer and a well-aimed smooth stone he brought the monolithic monster crashing down.
I love this moment from the film Hook. Peter Pan has grown up and blended into normal life. He has a family and a high pressure job. But along the way he has forgotten a few important things. And so he is called back to Neverland, and once there he meets The Lost Boys once more. Almost all of them doubt his identity, but just one (sometimes that’s all it takes)… just one thinks he sees a little more. Is Peter still in there somewhere? Inside the layers piled on by the world.
‘There you are Peter!’
I find myself constantly battling to be what I think others want me to be, the crucial phrase here being ‘what I think others want me to be’. It’s probably not the best way to live but it’s a battle all the same. It’s easy enough to say I should just be myself, but it’s not that straightforward. I think I fear upsetting people if I’m too much myself. Which is why I need reminders. Like this tale of David. He didn’t fear upsetting the king, he knew he had to be himself. It was the best way. It would help others. I have this birthday card from a few years ago that I keep on a shelf in my office. Another reminder – so I’ll leave you with it. Along with a quote from the Message Bible: ‘Because of the cross of Jesus, I have been… set free from the stifling atmosphere of pleasing others and fitting into the little patterns that they dictate.’ Galatians 6 v 14-15