Are there walls which you have built in your life that you’ve been walking and living behind, believing or doubting that they should ever be torn down, or somehow collapse?

If you have built a wall, and now want the bricks to fall, then you are going to have to start walking in a direction, for however long, and perhaps even shout at the situation, blow a loud trumpet, or whatever it takes in order to see the walls come tumbling down. It took a lot of faith and walking around the walls of Jericho in order for Israel to bring down the walls of their enemy.

It is a very cruel world we now live in — dog-eat-dog, survival of the fittest. And so sometimes we seem to feel safer if we build walls and live behind them. Sometimes we do this in our relationships, because of our fears, our doubts, and perhaps anger or shame. We fear being hurt, again and again. We doubt that we will ever be able to re-establish our self-worth, or a love relationship. Sometimes we are ashamed of our failures and mistakes.

The problem with building a wall — and hiding behind it — is that you begin to feel comfortable where you are and are unwilling to deal with whatever it takes to escape from behind the wall. However, the only way of escape is to begin working at the foundation of the problem, so that the bricks can begin to fall — at least a few at a time.

Some walls are built so that they just seem to blend in somehow, and so that people will just pass by and never make an effort to know anything about us. Whatever kind of wall we build, one thing is for sure: the walls might offer whatever protection we think we need, but they also keep us from experiencing real life.

You may have built your wall very high. Why? Because you are possibly tired of believing and only ending up still feeling hurt and alone. You’re tired of opening up and trying to mend your heart. So you keep reinforcing the wall. You make yourself emotionally and physically unavailable, even when you like someone and what they seem to be doing to include you in their life.

This is the way you may feel that you can protect your heart — a way to keep from getting hurt. You may try to make it look like you want a relationship, but you only want it to be temporary, because you’ve honestly stopped trying. You’re afraid of taking chances. And so you may have even added another row of bricks to your wall, brick by brick.

“Abundant life,” an expression I’ve heard used more than once in a pastor’s message to a congregation, can only come from being fully known for who you are, and then fully loved. We cannot experience love from God or from others if we are unwilling to let ourselves be known. And if someone tries to show us love and caring, and we reject them, because we are afraid that if they really know us, and our background, they wouldn’t love us, or even accept us, then we are only surviving behind the wall.

Maybe the walls you think you’ve built are protecting you from heartbreak and disappointment. Maybe they make you feel guarded, but they don’t make you feel alive. People don’t understand why you’ve built your wall, and built it so high. And most people, when they see a wall, it tends to drive them away.

Father God knows our wounds, our pains. He longs to be near us. He is not able to do so unless we are willing to stop trusting in our walls to protect us and start trusting in what and whomever He is willing to bring into our lives.

I want to encourage you, if you’ve been living behind a wall, to think about what you’re missing. It’s preventing you from seeing the beauty in life, the things that actually matter. Consider inviting someone or a group to begin walking around your wall. Listen to the music of real life. And if you allow the bricks to fall, you will be able to see so much more, feel so much more, and especially experience so much more love.

My inspiration for writing this column has to do with two brick walls, which have fallen in my family’s life this year. We are currently walking in a direction that will hopefully cause the third wall to fall. With God all things are possible.

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