Ezekiel 36:26 - I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
I’ve been hurt...betrayed...heartbroken. I’ve lost people I love dearly. I’ve taught myself that pain is not my friend. I don’t want to feel it nor do I need to. I don’t have to. I can protect my heart. I've learned that I just need some bricks to put around it. I’ll just brick around my heart.
I watched my grandfather battle cancer when I was in middle school. I loved him so much and it tore me apart to watch him suffer...to watch my family suffer. I started experiencing anxiety attacks, though we didn’t know that’s what it was at the time. Pain was not my friend, I was learning, and pain was to be avoided. We lost grandpa that year and it ripped my heart from my chest. It was a horrendous, intense pain and I was ill equipped to deal with it. I felt my only option was to go double-time on building that brick wall.
Middle School is a nasty time in most people’s lives anyway and I'd already laid that foundation around my heart. Every sling, every arrow just built the wall higher and thicker. Mean girls? BRICK. Nasty friendships? BRICK. Lies, gossip, back stabbing? BRICK, BRICK, BRICK. It was terrible and I kept adding those bricks because I refused to let anyone hurt me.
I quietly moved onto High School and made a lot of good memories, but I was secretly on a pretty self destructive path. Life changes so much during those years and the wall I'd built started taking on colossal proportions. Betrayal. BRICK. Loss. BRICK. Hurt feelings. BRICK. I was well on my way to a solid life in masonry, but I started to notice that my tears were nowhere to be found.
I met Brad in college and he’s really never known me to be an emotional person. Looking back, I can't even pinpoint when I lost my tears. Year by year, they’ve come less and less. I guess by now, I’ve become a master brick layer and precious little penetrates these walls. Don't get me wrong, every once in awhile I’ll find a weakness in the barricade through silly things like commercials and YouTube videos, but it seems that in those moments where it really counts, those walls are sturdy and keep my eyes water-tight.
Lately, however, I’ve discovered a nagging problem. My heart has gotten really heavy and it's become impossible to carry. It’s exhausting, honestly. Sometimes I want...no...need to cry and I've got absolutely nothing. I've come to the terrifying revelation that a God-sized jackhammer is in order. As Chip and Joanna like to say, "IT'S DEMO DAY" and God and I are going to have to get to work destroying this wall.
I realize it's necessary and I'll really love my new heart's open concept, but it's strangely bittersweet to consider saying goodbye to this wall that I’ve so carefully, masterfully crafted. Ultimately, of course, my strong, sturdy wall had a fatal flaw from the beginning. I built no drains, gutters, doors or windows. I only left the tiniest of openings for a few people to actually get inside and hide out with me and I never wanted to let them outside. If you worked your way out, well, have fun storming the castle because it would take a miracle for you to ever get back in. I chose the occupants of my heart-shaped prison very carefully to ensure pain did not come my way. If anyone hurt me inside my walls, everyone became an immediate threat. Would they leave me? Would they hurt me? Should I go ahead and push them out first? Hurt them before they could hurt me?
I recognize that it’s well past time to renovate. I mean, these bricks are so last season and I’m in need of an update in the worst way. It is time to tear down walls...time to see what’s inside because I don’t think I even remember what I've left there. I know I was carefree, adventurous and fun. Grandpa described me as “The life of the party” and I'm finally ready to rediscover that girl. At this point I’d be happy to just want to go to the party. Remind me who I am, Lord.
So if you see me any time soon and I look like I've spent some quality time in an intense construction zone, don’t worry about me. Be encouraged that God is doing some mighty things in me. Things usually look pretty messy and ugly before they look better.