Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Walls That Won't Come Down

Last year I wrote a series of posts that focused on the concept of the #NarrowRoad that Jesus call us to travel. Along the way there were a number of posts that focused on twists and turns, bad directions, roadblocks and other challenges that separate us from God and from the people around us. But all of those things are overcomeable obstacles that may throw us off course and delay us, but should not stop us. With perseverance and commitment we can continue the journey. Relationships that are damaged can be repaired. We just have to keep our eyes on the destination. Unless...we run into a wall. Walls are game changers.

Imagine being an invading army back in the day and running into the Great Wall of China. BAM! End of the road. Imagine being Joshua and company and starring down the walls of Jericho (before the trumpets and the crashing) and thinking, "Well this is a waste of time." Walls are much more than obstacles. They are...WALLS! If The Donald is elected he wants to build a wall to keep all of the Mexicans out of this country. If he is elected Canada may have to build a wall to keep all of us out of theirs. Walls separate us. Walls divide us. And not just the physical ones...

Most of us encounter walls in our personal lives as well. We yield to walls of fear, of heartache, of social convention and of anger and mistrust. We let old relationships put up walls between us and the new people in our lives. We build entire fortresses based on what others say should be true in our lives. These walls often keep us from living fulfilled lives, and they often hurt other people as well. But what can we do about them- after all, they are freakin' walls! The best option of course is to tear them down. But whether physical or emotional, that is never easy and occasionally impossible. Tearing down walls is often a God thing, not an "us" thing. I always thought our other choices were to go over the wall, go around the all or go under the wall (like the old Bear Hunt song from my camp days)- all of which are long trips that may still let the wall win. Walls are never easy to overcome.

And then one day a few weeks back I was listening to music while traveling up to do work at my Mom's villa and heard lyrics from the great philosopher/theologian James Buffett. I had heard the song a dozen times before, but this time something new hit me. And it hit me hard. Check out these words from the song Coast of Carolina:

Most every day goes by
According to design
I live this dream but still it seems
I have you on my mind

From the bottom of my heart
Off the coast of Carolina
After one or two false starts
I believe we found our stride

And the walls that won't come down
We can decorate or climb
Or find some way to get around
'Cause I'm still on your side
From the bottom of my heart

If we can't tear down the walls, and we can't go over or around- we can decorate! Walls are not always bad. Boundaries are often helpful. They can make us feel safe and protected. But in order for those things to be true, we have to use the walls to our benefit- not let them control us. If we put up walls of fear, then let the fear keep us from doing foolish things, not the things that need to be done. If there is a wall of anger in our lives, use the anger to motivate ourselves to be a bigger and better person that the one who created the wall within us. And should society seek to tell us that we are too "soft" or that we love too much or love the wrong person, decorate that wall! Use hearts and flowers and love songs and the words of Jesus himself to cover such walls in ways that make them reminders of what love can be, not obstacles that frustrate us. Sometimes loving people- REALLY loving them- means breaking some rules and doing unconventional things. That's how we control the walls. Imagine how differently invading armies would have felt if the Great Wall had been covered in peace symbols and flowers with a sign directing new arrivals to Visitors Center. Walls can be difficult. But they can also be what we make of 

Something amazing happens in our hearts when we feel a wall come down. But short of that, we have to keep moving. We have to find our stride. We have to be the people God calls us to be. And if that calls for a little decorating that no one else understands, then count me in!

Because of Jesus,


  1. Anonymous5/27/2016

    This is exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you so much for your wit and wisdom!

    1. And thank you for reading! So glad you enjoyed the post.


Thanks for reading,and thanks for your comment!