When you were a kid, did you build towers with the big cardboard blocks? Maybe you built the highest tower possible, or maybe you were the kid that ran around knocking down everyone else’s towers. When I was a kid, I liked to build walls around myself. Enclose myself in so that the walls were all around me.
And I’ve done the same thing with my life.
Maybe, like me, you’ve built walls around your life.
You convince yourself that they keep your heart safe. You convince yourself that the higher your walls, the safer you are. You convince yourself that the thicker your walls, the less people can see of the real you, and that’s a good thing. Because if they were really to see your sin, your hurt, your brokenness, your pain – they wouldn’t want to know you. They’d run in the other direction.
I used to think that my walls were my security, my protection from the world, from the hurt. That if I had higher, thicker walls, no one could see the real me: the ugly, torn, and worn girl who does not see herself as beautiful; the girl who struggles with feelings of worth and inadequacy; the girl with the life-shortening illness; the girl who is alone; the hurt, broken, sinner in desperate need of a Savior.
When we build up our walls, we end up pretending.
Pretending to be someone we’re not.
Pretending that those words didn’t hurt; that being rejected…again…wasn’t painful. Pretending that it’s all okay on the outside but falling hopelessly apart on the inside. Pretending that we don’t struggle with things, too. Pretending that our past isn’t as checkered as the flag at the end of the race. Pretending that we don’t have secrets we’d rather keep hidden.
Take a few minutes and listen to this song, from Tenth Avenue North, Healing begins:
So let ‘em fall down,
There’s freedom waiting in the sound,
When you let your walls fall to the ground.
We’re here now.
This is where the healing begins,
This is where the healing starts.
When you come to where you’re broken within,
The light meets the dark.
So you’re telling me that if I let my walls down, let down my guard, let people see the real me, the messed up, broken me – that it will bring freedom? Oh, more than that, dear friend. It will bring healing. Healing from the heartache, the guilt, and the pain. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed your sins from you (Psalm 103:12). All of your scars, all of your sins – they are forgotten to Him.
The walls you and I hide behind aren’t doing us any favors.
They aren’t helping us or anyone else. In fact, when people see the real you – the struggles, the brokenness, the weakness, the imperfection – they see the grace of our Savior. They see a God whose power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). They see that they are not alone in their struggles. They are reminded that He is faithful. And letting your walls down reminds you that you are not alone. Letting your walls down means that people can see the real you, but it also means they can pray for you, help you, and love you better. Letting your walls down does bring healing, though it may take time. Letting people see your flaws isn’t easy, telling people about the mistakes you made as a teenager is hard – the mistakes you made yesterday even harder.
Maybe your walls, like mine, are so high and so thick that it seems impossible to start tearing them down. Truth is, we can’t tear them down ourselves. And it doesn’t always happen with a wrecking ball.
With God’s grace, maybe my walls, and yours, will be one brick lower today.
Kristen Entwistle is a graduate student pursuing her PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology at Michigan State University. After graduating with her PhD, Kristen hopes to teach biochemistry at a small liberal arts college. A member of Red Cedar Evangelical Free Church, she helps to lead worship on Sunday mornings and leads a women’s Bible study on Saturday mornings. She was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when she was three months old, and has seen God work through the ups and downs of life and through her disease. Kristen enjoys reading, swimming, running, crocheting, and writing in her spare time.
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