Monday, February 11, 2008

Chiseling Away


For the past several weeks, God's been doing a funny thing to me.

It started with a surprising incident - during a time of worship that I wasn't leading. He makes all things good was the line in the song that stuck out for me, brought me to my knees and filled my eyes with tears.

A bunch of things began to change with me in January. Subtle things... things I'm not even sure I can articulate. After reading Soul Cravings, and going through a similar topics in my small group, the shift started. It began with a sense of awareness in how hard I was. On myself, on others. How hard my heart had grown toward people. I guess I thought that after a breakthrough last summer, everything else with my heart would follow suit. But like the parent who doesn't just save his child from drowning and leave them by the side of the pool, God is giving me CPR. It's slow, and I find myself breathing in and breathing out with a deliberateness that wasn't there before.

Then two weeks ago, in a time of prayer, I had this feeling God needed to show me something. So I sat in silence, and an image came to me. An image of a brick wall.

And this brick wall was built around my heart.

"Oh, geez. Here we go again," I said to myself. It's not like I haven't been here before. So why now, I wondered. Why this image at this moment? And there was Jesus standing in front of the wall, with a chisel and a hammer working away. I remember smiling to myself at the irony because I knew exactly why Jesus was standing there working away at it.

But those reasons were no longer important to me in that moment. Because I remember that Jesus wouldn't be on the outside of the wall... he would be on the other side with my heart.

I continued to smile to myself, picturing him banging away with that hammer. Then I slowly came to a realization that I don't trust people. When I meet someone new, I'm immediately on the defensive, wondering what their ulterior motive is for talking to me. With each interaction I lay a brick down, trowel out the mortar and repeat, until the wall is solid, thick... and between me and them. Stack a brick, trowel. Stack, trowel. The wall is already there, it just needs more bricks.

All my life I've been wondering what in the heck happened to me in my childhood to cause this ridiculous behavior. It's not been fun to deal with all these years, and what's weird is that some people get that wall down right away (Lindsey, Emory, Shannon, Suzie - God love ya), and then there are others who worked tirelessly to chip away at it until I gave in (you know who you are). And try as I might I cannot figure out what the difference is... why one person I trust inherently and another I keep at arm's length. I wonder if it may be a personality type, a woman's intuition thing, or maybe even a Holy Spirit thing. I really wish I knew, because I feel like if I could find the root of it then I could solve the problem. Instead I find myself flabbergasted at my own behavior and hope that there is someone out there willing to ignore the wall and keep on trying.

But this image of Jesus chipping away keeps coming back to me, and I know I have to take responsibility for my own crappy actions. I'm not hurting anyone, but I am keeping myself from some of the greatest joys we are given in life - intimacy and fellowship with my fellow human beings.

Last month I meet several new people, people that are already on their way to influencing me. I think that may be why this image of him chiseling away is with me now. God knows about this little mistrust issue of mine, and this may be his way of telling me that this wall needs to come down, so I can let these new people change me.

And there is nothing that scares me more.

5 comments:

Barbara said...

Stephanie,
This was such a poignant post – I could relate to parts of it really well. I keep a wall up too but I think mine is fear vs. lack of trust. Maybe they are similar. I love what you said about hoping that people would keep trying and not give up even when they encounter that wall. I’ve had a few people in my life do that and it blew my mind that they would consider me worth their time and effort. I hope you keep writing about what God is doing in your life as he chisels away – I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Kansas Bob said...

I think that walls can sometimes represent control.. walls control who you let in and how much of yourself you let out. I am not sure about you but sometimes this behavior is born in our childhood when we are not heard.. by that I mean that our wishes are dismissed and our requests are disregarded. It causes us to keep to ourselves because trusting becomes a loss of control and ultimately a rejection of our heart desires.

Thanks for listening Stephanie.. I may be way off.. don't read too much into this.

Blessings, Bob

Kansas Bob said...

PS: Ditto what Barbara said! This is a great post.

ptg said...

You are blessed to have such an openness to God that you may hear him often. Half the job, for myself, is simply to make myself available to Him. Nothing worth knowing is really hidden.

stephanie said...

Barbara - I can't wait to see what happens next, too.

KB - I think you might have something there. I'm not sure. It's something I may need to think on for a while.

ptg - I'm working on that whole "hearing God" thing. The older I get,m the harder it seems for some reason.