Breaking Down That Wallby Cynthia Jennings on October 13, 2021
I was reflecting on how years ago, although I had a strong community of close friendships and was surrounded by women who cared about me, I didn’t really let them get too close. I built a wall that only God and I could see.
I was more than willingly to be there and present for others, yet I wasn’t as willing to allow others to do the same for me, even when they offered. Some might have seen that wall as strong. It made it appear as if I was highly independent and I learned to work things out on my own.
Some might even say that wall kept me safe. After all, as long as the wall existed no one could trample my heart. Or so I thought.
I remember one day I had the urge to break down that wall. At the time I didn’t realize it was God prompting me to do so, for He saw the truth. That wall was isolating. It was exhausting to fly solo in some of my endeavors. It did keep me safe in some ways, but it also hemmed me in and robbed me of possibilities.
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another (Proverbs 27:17 NIV).
This wise and profound saying in Proverbs implies that when we open our hearts to deeper relationships, we are stronger. Iron sharpening iron happens in close proximity. As one iron strikes another there are sparks and friction, but also a refining that’s masterful.
As we look throughout scripture, we find this theme of friendship over and over again. Aaron and Hur holds up Moses’ arms when he’s weary (Exodus 17:12). Jonathan befriends David, and brings him joy and comfort in one of the most perilous seasons of his life(1 Samuel 18:1-5). In the book of Ruth 1:6-18 a daughter-in-law transcends from family to loyal friend as they share in loss and new beginnings.
I must be honest. Breaking down walls can feel risky and vulnerable. It means that you get close enough to see my strengths, but also my flaws – the whole me.
As I sensed God asking me to break down the fortress I had so carefully built, I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. My first step was to ask Him to help chisel away the belief systems that had built that wall. As those barriers started to crumble, He helped me:
- Exchange the belief that walls protect; the truth, walls can isolate
- Give myself permission to be me, which gave others permission to be themselves
- Become wise in each step of breaking down the barriers
- Learn to accept and allow others to be present for me
What I discovered was as those walls came tumbling down, I was vulnerable. But I was also free to surround myself with a handful of strong women, some who were close for a season and others who I’m growing old with.
It wasn’t easy allowing God to show me how to break down those walls. But I praise God for each brick that has been cast down.
As God was showing me how to break down those walls, this is one of the prayers I prayed.
Father, in the name of Jesus, I have built a wall around my heart when it comes to friendships and you understand the reason why. But you also know how it’s kept me hemmed in. I invite you in and need you to chisel away that wall around my heart. Thank you in advance for friendships and community that you have for me, but also that I can be a friend to someone who longs for it too.
PEARLStoPONDER: Breaking down our walls isn’t about the number of friends we have, but the strength and wisdom we gain as those walls come tumbling down.
Proverbs 27:17--Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.
John 15:13--Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends
1 Thessalonians 5:11--Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.