Conviction hits hard when I’m showering. I’m not sure if Jesus just takes the time when I’m obviously less distracted by media and my thoughts–the brain is a bit slower prior to being accosted by caffeine in the early morning. Regardless, it’s during this time of bearing all before the Lord that He decides to talk to me about how ridiculous I can be. I was showering before work one morning, talking to Jesus about how great He is and how I’m not so great when I noticed a spider clinging to the ceiling on the other side of the shower curtain. “Ugh, I hate spiders,” I thought.

The next five minutes, I showered with my eyes open, staring at the eight-legged freak that I knew was staring back at me through his way too many eyes. Shampoo trickled down my forehead into my left eye, and it stung, but I refused to relent in watching the evil little beast. It turned out that this was wise too, because not much later, all eight of it’s legs bolted, in my direction. Immediately, I was completely pissed that it was doing this, but that anger morphed to fear as the monster proceeded to the space right above my head.

My fear grew as the spider not only ran to the place right above me, but began a speedy decent from the ceiling, dangling from an invisible line of web attached to the drywall. It was obviously going to eat me! I yanked back the shower curtain and all of my dripping wet 135 pounds bolted to the door, fumbled to turn the lock with my soapy, wet hand, then proceeded to run down the hall and into to my bedroom. I was an indoor streaker, but imagine myself as a blur of flesh more than anything else.

Once in my room, I tugged a plain white shirt over the wet head and shoulders and pulled on a pair of basketball shorts. I was officially ready to go kill a spider (for some reason, they’re more intimidating when I’m not clothed…). I stomped out of my room, down the hallway, and into the bathroom. Water still sprayed from the shower head and just above the stream, floated a spider, waiting for its prey.

I grabbed what felt like a quarter of a roll of toilet paper in my wet hand and carefully approached the foul creature. I lifted my arm and slowly brought my had closer and closer to one of the most frightening creatures to ever live. As soon as I had my thumb on one side and my fingers on the other, all of which guarded by a thick shield of toilet paper, my hand snapped shut and I squeezed until I felt the pop of the monster’s life ending in my hand.

I’m not going to lie,

the spider was more intimidating

when I was in my birthday suit than after I had donned some simple clothing.

I don’t know why, perhaps it was just more awkward (this whole post is awkward, Jake).

Nakedness and strength don’t go together well, at all. Strength comes in armor and fortification. Strength is found in covering.

Nehemiah 8:10 says, “Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength”

The Hebrew word for strength in this verse is ma’owz. It doesn’t refer to physical or mental strength but translates to refuge, place of safety, or protection. The joy of the Lord isn’t a muscle to be worked, but rather is a place to which we retreat. God’s Joy for us is a place of refuge when something scary encroaches on our being. That strength isn’t behind muscle or brick, but is found in an incredible emotion. God tells us that in difficult times, when conviction might be all around us, and we’re being attacked from all sides, we can withdraw to a place where we can smile with Him. That will get us through anything.

Two articles of clothing didn’t make me safe from that stupid spider. They did absolutely nothing, but somehow, I felt more courage to go and kill the fiend that had the stupidity to interrupt me in the middle of my shower. God’s joy will do the same for you, if you allow for it to be your enveloping strength.

This post is part of the Blog Carnival hosted by Bridget Chumbely. Check out the other amazing writer’s submissions!