So I started this post on Sunday morning and now it is Tuesday. Pretty typical for me really. Don’t have time to finish one thing before moving on to another. So I’m now editing to make sure it makes sense. Hope I get it finished today or I’ll be editing all over again.
On Sunday morning I was reading about the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4). You know the story. She’s the one who met Jesus and he told her all about her life, the fact that she’d had several husbands and the man she was living with now wasn’t married to her. Well it got me thinking about how God knows us so deeply and intimately. He knows every hair on our heads. He knows us inside and out, the good and the bad, the stuff everyone else knows and the stuff no one else knows. There is nothing in our lives or in our hearts that is hidden from him. He knows us better than we know ourselves and somehow he still loves us.
Sometimes we struggle to even love ourselves. I don’t know if this is worse for women or if it’s a personality thing or what? But I know that when I’m chatting with friends we’re always picking ourselves up on what we don’t like whether it’s the shape of our bodies, our weight, our bad habits or the things we feel we’re not good enough at. Maybe it’s cultural too. We Scots don’t like to seem ‘big-headed’, we’re not good at ‘blowing our own trumpet’, we really need to work on positive affirmations but we often do the opposite and put ourselves down.
I think we look at that stuff we don’t like or the things we think others will disapprove of or judge us on and we build walls to stop people from seeing that stuff. We want to protect ourselves from their judgement, from their arrows. The walls are thicker in some places than others, maybe where we’ve been wounded before. In a few places there are small gaps where we allow our safe friends through. The problem with building walls is that they not only protect us from attack they also keep out the good stuff. They make it hard for people to love us. They make it hard for us to feel love. Recently I’ve struggled to feel loved by others. I’ve been numb to it. Even when my kids hug me I just haven’t been feeling their love. I’m starting to realise that my protective walls are causing a problem. I’m gonna need to dismantle them, at least in part (I’m still aware of the need to guard my heart – I guess I have to work out what that balance looks like). It’s scary. Dismantling walls leaves you open to attack. But it also allows people to love you. It leaves you open to judgement and rejection but it also allows your friends and family to get close.
At church on Sunday the speaker was talking about family – church family and biological family. She said a couple of interesting things that I want to share. First she said that judgement comes from those who are on the outside looking in. If you’re announcing that church (or someone in your family) SHOULD be this or that you’re not including yourself in that family. If we’re in this together we won’t judge. I was picturing those on the outside of my walls being judgemental – I don’t even know if that’s fair – many of them I haven’t allowed the chance to be judgemental or otherwise. She also said people feel seen and known when nothing is hidden and there is no shame. She said everyone should have at least a few friends that know their deepest secrets. To let people in like that walls have to come down but it’s a risk. On the other hand isn’t being seen and known what we really desire?
It’s tough to trust other people with my heart like that. It’s already feeling beaten up enough. I’m not sure how much more injury it can take. But being seen and known brings real freedom too. Maybe it’s time to take down the walls? Slowly. Just one stone at a time. I don’t know. Maybe?