Walls. Meant to protect us from the elements, give structure to our home, give us privacy, keep us warm in the cold and dry in the rain. In our homes we decorate them with paint, pictures, and what the Mrs put on our dining room wall, antique plates. They divide our home into rooms all with a different purpose. Some walls are large enough to protect a city or even a nation. Some walls just protect us from neighboring eyes.
Yesterday, I took a few minutes to run over to a spot in McKinney where there are walls built of stone aligned with framed, stoned-in designs up against a small inlet. In this case, it's a retaining wall to keep the dirt behind the wall from being washed away into the water. It's a beautiful spot and used frequently for weddings and portraits. On the other side of the wall are new homes, shops, and restaurants. This wall is built strong to keep the water out and the land protected. It was built stone-upon-stone hemmed in with concrete to hold them in place.
In so many ways, our hearts have walls too. We have walls around our relationships to protect them, walls around our hurts to keep others from seeing them, walls around our true feelings to keep others from knowing them. Not all heart walls are bad, mind you. The Bible encourages us to guard our hearts and minds; to keep out the bad thoughts and not allow others to influence us toward destructive choices.
Over time, however, life has a way of driving us to build more walls in our hearts. Maybe it was a broken relationship, a lost love, hurtful words, loss of a job, or loss financially. It could be a thousand different things but, stone-upon-stone, we build that wall so no one can see inside. Often we even want to keep God out. Like Adam and eve, we hide from Him the pain, the shame, the sin, and the guilt when, in reality, He already knows everything in our hearts and can see right through that wall of stone we put in place; all the way to the core of our hearts.
It's scary to pull those stones back and let people see inside. We've been hurt and want to protect ourselves from being hurt again. We decorate that wall with paint, or an image of something we want others to see, in order to cover up those stones. But, instead of protecting our hearts, ironically, we end up isolating ourselves from others to the point that the loneliness of shallow relationships begins to eat away at us.
I know because I have built many heart walls throughout my life brought about by past rejections, losses, bad choices, and insecurities. Stone by stone, God has been lovingly helping me to remove them over the years which has allowed me to build authentic relationships and grow deeper in my commitment to others. But trust me, I have a LONG way to go, and the Master Builder of my heart is always at work to help me take out the stones that keep me from others and Him.
All of us have heart walls of some kind to work through or we wouldn't be human. It's nothing to feel ashamed of. After all, look at the world around us. I dare to say that, what lies behind those heart walls of ours, though, is much better than that cold wall of stone that we put pictures on to cover it our heart wall. The risk of being hurt again, trusting again, connecting again with someone who may see behind that picture and may not like what they see is a wall in and of itself to overcome.
Today I want to encourage you to take a chance, along with me, to pull away just one stone to your heart, even if just for a brief moment, and try connecting with another person, and with God, in a deeper way. It may only be a pebble, but that's a start. One of the best ways of loosening these stones of our heart wall is by forgiving others, forgiving ourselves, and finding God's forgiveness through the redemptive work of the cross.
I guarantee it may be hard to let others look behind that wall or to forgive that someone who brought the pain to our doorstep, but the reward could be so much greater. And when we let God in behind that wall, He will come in and bring great joy, peace, forgiveness, and healing of the very things that caused us to build that wall in the first place. He is ready & willing to if we can take down that wall, or just one stone, and invite Him to come in behind the wall. I know you'll be glad you did!
Love always friends!
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