They say love is a risk, right? How big of a risk are you willing to take?
Some people are similar to a prickly cactus.
Your safety depends on your distance from them. Cacti trade their leaves for spikes. Why would they do such a thing? You may ask. Unlike many other plants, cacti are usually found in unpleasant conditions. In those harsh circumstances, their survival becomes their main priority. They use their spines to store water, to protect them from predators, to provide shade, which is necessary due to their long exposure to heat.
Just like a cactus, some people had been exposed to so much pain, hurt, abuse, and shame, and the ghosts of their past that haunt them. No matter how much they try to outrun their past, they’re only chasing their own shadows with their backs to the light. In order to survive, they build a wall around their heart, exhibit behaviors that they rely on to survive, but what they use to defend themselves can hurt those who love them. A cactus can’t tell the difference between a predator and an admirer. It has no way of assessing your intentions. A cactus-like person doesn’t know how to receive love or respond to it. They end up hurting those who love them.
Get Your Thorns Covered
Don’t get me wrong, we all have our thorns. We all have some rough patches; but the difference between the cactus and the rose is undeniable. The rose knows it needs thorns to defend itself from predators and petals for its admirers. No wonder cacti don’t make it on anyone’s coffee table on valentine’s day.
Just like the rose, Paul had a thorn, but he had enough grace to cover them. Notice, I did not say to hide them, but cover. To hide is to keep out of sight of others. It’s not about the object, but the intention is keeping the object from others. Cover, on the other hand means to place something over, to protect. So, when grace covers our thorns, the intention is not to hide it to provide a false sense of perfection, but it’s to protect us. Some people are not open enough to let God’s grace cover them and protect them from their past shame, regret, and failures that constantly taunt them.
Whether you are a rose or a cactus, God’s grace is enough. If you’re like the cactus, you can trust God enough to get your leaves back, trade them for your spikes. Once you give them to God, your shame, hurt, and pain will not be hidden or disappeared. They will always be a part of you, except they won’t be there to haunt you or hurt those around you. You’ll get the courage to embrace them and turn them into lessons and purpose.
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