There’s no one inciting event, but I became a heavily guarded person. Somewhere along life’s way I created a tough outer shell so no one could hurt me, or at least it would seem they hadn’t hurt me. I’ve never had a bit of trouble cutting people out of my life and never looking back, and the people who do get to stick around don’t usually get the best, deepest part of me because I build walls. I don’t want anyone coming too close, fearing that it could result in pain.
Recently, a relationship ended in a shocking and painful way. I seriously had emotional whiplash. I took a chance on someone, letting my guard down, trusting them to take care of my heart and live up to the words they were speaking. Instead, I received lies and manipulation. But this wasn’t the first time. I can recount many times in my life where I have been let down and disappointed, expectations out the window. It makes you wonder how you can trust or love again. You wonder how many times your spirit can take the beating. My answer has always been shutting down and shutting people out. I rationalize with myself that I am OK alone, and I don’t need anyone else. But a few things have happened in this tough season. For one, I recognized quickly that my heart was about to harden, and walls were going straight up. In the past, I have made the conscious decision to maintain my walls and add to them if needed. But, for the first time, I genuinely didn’t want that to happen. I didn’t want to be stuck in cynicism, fear, and anger. Because, let’s face it, that’s what walls are made of. Secondly, I learned compassion in a different form. I’ve always had compassion for the forgotten and under-served, but to have compassion for someone who wronged me? Those are usually the people I have some choice words for as I pull out the scissors to cut ties. In this last instance, I am dealing with an unbeliever, someone that doesn’t know Christ. You almost can’t help but have compassion for someone who is so lost, who doesn’t know grace and forgiveness…and what a good time to step out of the flesh and show them what grace and forgiveness looks like. Lastly, amazing friends and a sister rallied around me and reminded me of why we need each other. Rather than shutting down and acting like all was right in the world, I became vulnerable, and I let myself grieve this loss. It would have been mighty tough to walk this alone.
Zechariah 2:5 says this: “And I myself will be a wall of fire around it, declares the Lord, and I will be its glory within.” God is our wall of fire, our protector. We don’t need our self-preserving walls. Each time I want to get angry and let my mind run wild with evil thoughts, I stop myself and remember that God’s ways are better than my own. The flesh wants to be angry, assume the worst, and wallow in despair. The Truth tells me there is freedom in love, compassion, and forgiveness. The brokenness of this world will bite you many times, and sometimes YOU will be the one doing the biting. But we can walk in the light of forgiveness and redemption that Jesus provides for us ALL.