I chose a brick wall. I still remember how it looked, its’ color, its’ size. It sticks with me to this day.
A brick wall. Walls can be good things, surrounding us, keeping us sheltered from the elements. They give us our privacy. But at times walls can be bad. They’re used as barriers that we form to keep us from getting hurt, from showing who we really are, from having to put ourselves out there and getting embarrassed.
Walls, though, are not that difficult to break down. All we need are the right tools. But a brick wall? I think those are harder than any wall that’s formed with 2x4s and drywall. They’re solid. They’re thick. They’re strong. They’re sturdy.
To me, a brick wall resembles a barrier that has been up for a long time, becoming stronger as time goes on. For me, my wall comes up when my heart doesn’t want to get too close to a situation. In the books I’ve been reading I’ve come across the word, “victim.” That’s what I don’t want to be. That’s the reason my wall pops up. I have dealt with “victims” my whole life; people who play the victim whether they really are one or not. People who wallow in it and want people to feel bad for them whether they realize they are doing this or not. I don’t want to be like that. I don’t want people to feel bad for me. I don’t want people to think that I’m reaching out because I want to be a victim. That’s what I’ve been fighting all this time.
I read in Lysa Terkeurst’s book, Made to Crave, a quote she borrowed from Ruth Graham: “Either we can be victimized and become victims, or we can be victimized and rise above it.” To rise above is what I always strive for. I don’t want to wallow in my victimizations, and therefore I don’t. But do I go too far? When questions are asked in Bible studies there are some I don’t respond to. I think, “If I answer this I’ll look like a victim. I don’t want to come across that way, so I’ll just keep quiet.” It’s at those times when I see my brick wall pop up in front of me. And it doesn’t just pop up. It grows. It moves from side to side as I try to see around it. My wall is strong. It keeps me on my side.
I even have a hard time writing this type of post because I feel that I shouldn’t be writing so many “weakness” posts. That thought keeps me from typing, even though it’s what God has put on my heart. I fight it. I don’t want to be seen as a victim.
I’m also reading Renee Swope’s “A Confident Heart,” and taking the online Bible study that goes along with it. That’s really where this post stemmed from. It didn’t mention being a victim, but as I read the chapter that’s what kept coming to my mind. What Renee talked about was how we tend to hide behind the “I’m fine” quote when someone asks us how we’re doing. Our response, whether it’s true or not, is, “I’m fine.” It’s our barrier. A barrier that keeps us from telling someone how we really are doing; it keeps us from letting someone in.
In this chapter Renee writes, “It can be hard to let people know how we’re really doing. We don’t want to be high maintenance, right?” She then goes on to say, “It’s embarrassing for people to see our flaws and failures, so we work hard to look like we’re doing fine from a distance.”
But, wait a minute! To me, if I tell people how I’m really doing, I’m just acting like another victim, one who isn’t “rising above it.” I’m not embarrassed, I just don’t want people to roll their eyes and think, “Oh, she’s like that.”
Oh, but Renee doesn’t stop there. She goes on to say, “Pretending [that we’re fine] leads to hiding and isolation. What we need is someone who will pursue us and accept us even though we’re flawed.” And do you think she stops there? Of course not. She starts her next paragraph with, “Eventually, though, we find ourselves in the shadows of doubt, convinced that we aren’t worth knowing or pursuing.”
Wow. Those last little “tidbits” sound more like wallowing in victimization than just talking it out with someone else, letting someone else in on how you’re really doing. Victimization of my own making. Is that what I’m doing? By putting up my brick wall, the wall I created for myself in a twenty minute activity in fifth grade, I’m becoming a victim, the one thing I keep fighting against.
So now what do I do? Well, now I need to reevaluate what I read in these two books. I have victimized my own self, and therefore to rise above it I need to let someone else in. I need to focus first of all on God. He is the one who will accept me, flaw and all, without question. Then, with His help, I can begin to let someone else in. This will be a long, hard process for me, but I know it’s possible with His help.
Have you found yourself in a similar place? Putting up barriers because you don’t want someone to find out how you’re really doing, thinking that they will just roll their eyes at you because you’re too needy? Too weak? Find your own answers in your walk. Seek out Christian books that can guide you along the way, and be sure to always seek Him. He’ll guide you.
Lord God, I just thank You for leading me to a truth I was missing all this time. I know I won’t change overnight, and that this will be a long process for me. Give me strength to put into action what You have taught me, and guide me along the way. Lord God, I love You, and without You I am nothing.