w a l l s .

DSC_4321

If you ever doubt that God speaks when we seek Him, doubt no more. And I’m totally saying that for my own sake just as much (if not more) as I am for anybody else who may need to be reminded of that. Because I say that, and I experience it firsthand like I’m about to share, and I still doubt Him, all the time. Go figure.

I remember sitting at the Western Wall in Jerusalem last summer, praying alongside my teammates and the Jewish people. I remember what I prayed, too: 1) for God to please show me how big He is, and 2) how and why am I even here right now? First of all, I was in complete awe of that fact, and then I was humbled, realizing the freedom that I have in Christ, and the access that I have to Him at all times because His Spirit lives in me, no longer in a temple, behind a wall. I watched the Jewish people around me praying so fervently at the Wall and I was amazed. These people have a reverence for God and a dedication to Him that is unlike anything I’ve ever seen, and it is something I deeply admire about them. But I remember thinking so often how they are missing out on the truth that God has already forgiven them, and that He offers a life of freedom through the blood of His Son, right now, independent of anything they do to try and earn it. I remember it didn’t take long for God to respond to my pleas to know how big He is, and to know what He wanted with me being there… I think at one point I was just staring at the Wall and looking at the people in front of me, listening to them praying and hearing them weeping. I thought of how these are His people, how He is the God of this city, the God of this nation, the God of this world, the God of this universe, and then He said (not audibly, but… audibly. You know?) “I am the God of all of this and all of these people, and yet I still desire to be YOUR God.” My only response was to join everyone else who was crying. This verified to me what He told me while in Haifa, Israel, during our first week: that He wanted (and still wants) to transform my relationship with Him and make it more personal. He showed me that I had unknowingly turned it into something that was about how I appeared to other people and essentially lost sight of it just being about me walking with Him, and Him leading me (for more details about that, check out my post titled “Refine(ME)nt”). He wanted to become more to me than I have ever known Him to be before. In essence, He wanted (and still wants) to tear down the walls that I have put up between Him and I, including expectations that I put on myself of how my life should look from the outside, and making that a priority instead of my personal walk with Him, alone. He wanted (and still wants) to tear down the walls that I have put up between Him and I because I’m afraid to fully listen to Him; I’m afraid that He will ask something of me that I won’t want to be obedient about, and that’s hard.

In a nutshell, I define a “wall” in my life as anything that in some way drives a wedge between God and I; anything that somehow makes it difficult for me to hear or want to hear His voice; anything that becomes more important to me than His council. I put up walls  subconsciously. And yet, once I realize what I’ve done, I am reluctant to tear them down myself, and almost more reluctant to let God tear them down for me. I really can’t do it for myself, I know this. I can so easily put up these walls on my own, between myself and God, and myself and other people, no problem. But only He can demolish the false protection I attempt to guard myself with, thinking it’s actually a safe place to be.  About the same time (several weeks ago) that I became aware of these barriers in my life is when God started bringing back to my mind these memories from last summer. And they have been specific memories of extremely pivotal moments that I experienced, such as the one I just described. God began to bring back these memories, asking me if I remember all that He showed me last summer, and telling me that He still desires to fulfill these plans in my heart and life, if I would just let Him.

At a Bible study a few weeks ago, I came across Ephesians 2:14, which says “For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation”. Paul is referring to the fact that Christ, through His death and resurrection, has demolished the “wall” that set apart God’s chosen people from the Gentiles. He died for one and all, and regardless of any and all characteristics that make people diverse, we all have one thing in common and that is that we are human, which means we all sin, which means we all need Jesus. I get that, and it’s wonderful. And what else is wonderful is this awesome parallel that I see in my own life. God Himself is my peace, and therefore I have no reason to be afraid, no reason to want to hide in my little shell of complacency. And He can and does break down these walls of separation that I, often unknowingly, put up around my heart.

So, why the walls? Heck if I know. That’s what frustrates me. I don’t know why I feel like I should be timid or somehow guarded; as if my heart belongs entirely to me; as if there isn’t a God infinitely greater than me, infinitely more powerful, all-knowing, who gently holds my heart in His own hands, who desires to be my everything and to fulfill His plans in and through me, if I let Him. Actually, I do have a very valid theory about this. And it’s pretty obvious: Fear. Just fear in general. Let’s be real, God terrifies me. In the most admirable and beautiful and lovely way, He is pretty intimidating. And, in light of that, I can be certain that inviting Him to be part of every aspect of my life means I can expect to experience some heart-wrenching convictions. It means I get to learn His heart, what He wants to accomplish and how He wants to accomplish it, and what my role is in that process – all really exciting, but also really scary things. Letting God have full access to my heart means there will be no toleration for self-constructed walls that I put up to block out other people, experiences, and convictions simply because I’m afraid of the potential pain and difficulty that could arise, even though I KNOW God would use it for good and for growth. But why now? Why am I suddenly so acutely aware of these walls? Because I have this feeling that God has something to say right now, at this time in my life, that is probably going to scare the crap out of me once I hear it. Pardon, once I listen. And I’ll admit I haven’t been ready to hear it yet. I haven’t been listening very well lately. I’ve been talking a lot, definitely. Trust me, I have a lot to take up with God these days, but when it comes to letting Him have His turn talking, sometimes I have selective hearing. He is persistent though. And I think slowly I’m starting to feel like I can’t hold onto these fears any longer. He brings me to a place where I start to feel like I’m really missing out because I let fear hold me back from surrendering entirely and finally choosing to listen. Today I was thinking about how challenging some situations in life can be, but then I realized that I really wouldn’t want it any other way. If I felt capable all the time, I wouldn’t be inclined to lean on Him for strength. So on that note, I’m still afraid. But I’m trying to step out in faith and not let fear hold me back, but instead let it propel me further, into a deeper understanding of His love.

On another note, this is a great song:

Called Me Higher, by All Sons & Daughters

I could just sit
I could just sit and wait for all Your goodness
Hope to feel Your presence
And I could just stay
I could just stay right where I am and hope to feel You
Hope to feel something again

And I could hold on
I could hold on to who I am and never let You
Change me from the inside
And I could be safe
I could be safe here in Your arms and never leave home
Never let these walls down

But You have called me higher
You have called me deeper
And I’ll go where You will lead me Lord
You have called me higher
You have called me deeper
And I’ll go where You lead me Lord
Where You lead me
Where You lead me Lord

And I will be Yours, oh
I will be Yours for all my life
So let Your mercy light the path before me
Cause You have called me higher
You have called me deeper
And I’ll go where You will lead me Lord

Advertisements

One thought on “w a l l s .

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s