When Vulnerability is Scary

heartwall-copy

There’s a lot of reasons why we build physical walls:

• They’re built for protection, as a way of keeping outsiders out of the things we value.
• They’re built for separation, distinguishing one area from another.
• They’re built as a means of retaining, as a way to hold something back.

When I was younger, we had this massive retaining wall in our backyard that probably seemed a lot bigger to me at the time than it actually was. My siblings and I would spend our summer afternoons digging our fingers into the cobblestone bricks, hoping that maybe our muscles could pull us to the top. Ultimately, my dad would have to come outside and lift us up to the summit of the wall. I remember that life always looked a lot different from the top of the wall. I could see every nook and cranny of my house and could catch a glimpse into my neighbor’s yard through the gaps in the fence.

I think I’ve been building walls in my life for quite some time. They don’t look like physical brick-and-mortar walls, but they’re walls that put a little distance between me and the people I care about. Maybe they served a good purpose at one point, but somewhere along the way I think I started building them out of fear.


I think I’ve been building walls in my life for quite some time…Maybe they served a good purpose at one point, but somewhere along the way I think I started building them out of fear.


Fear of people getting too close.
Fear of being rejected.
Fear of being seen and known deeply.

It’s funny, but I think I built walls with things that look really good like self-righteousness, put-togetherness, and lots of “everything is going great” replies when I can’t muster the willingness to explain how I’m actually doing. No matter what we build walls with, at the end of the day it still pushes people away. It doesn’t let them get close. It lets them get close enough to maybe peek their head over the top and check up on us, but we can still keep them an arms-length away. Sometimes it’s a lot easier to build a wall than to let people in. Vulnerability really does breed intimacy if we will take those scary steps to invite people into our messiness. To let them see us for what we are. And it may just start to break down those walls, the ones that we have so carefully constructed over the years.


Vulnerability really does breed intimacy if we will take those scary steps to invite people into our messiness.


Maybe it starts with not being okay, and being okay with not being okay. These are the places that we allow Jesus to work in our weakness and give His people an opportunity to point us to Him. If you’re anything like me, you’d rather put up a façade that life is really great and perfect rather than try to explain all the hard things. I think maybe that’s a lie that sounds really pretty on the outside, but actually continues to isolate us.

We’re messy.
We don’t have it all together.

Jesus willfully stepped down into the muck and the mire and destroyed the walls that separated us from Him. It’s time that we put down our defenses, let our hair down and allow other people see our broken pieces. I think we might just find freedom there.


It’s time that we put down our defenses, let our hair down and allow other people see our broken pieces. I think we might just find freedom there.