As many of you may know from my previous post, I moved to home to the Detroit area in September. In my first week back, I was able to find a job, which has been a huge blessing, working as a maintenance worker for a non-profit in the city of Detroit. The organization is called LifeBUILDERS Detroit and they work to rebuild a community on the northeast side of the city through renovating homes, working to develop community with the residents, and by having after-school programs for kids and youth. It has been a great experience, but it has also been challenging since most of the work that I find myself doing is very new to me. While most of my work feels very unfamiliar, I have had the opportunity in the silence and monotony of the day to day to really begin to work on creating space for the LORD to speak to me and training my heart to listen.
On one day my coworker and I were given the task of removing the drywall from a basement so that we could treat the walls underneath that had been effected by mold. The first thing that happened, which is pretty comical, is that I took a sledgehammer to a wall that didn’t actually need to be taken out… I got so overzealous to use my sledgehammer that I smashed a hole in a wall that was fine… Once I had greater clarity of what I was actually supposed to be do, I lifted my weapon once more and started to assault the wall that was meant to come down. This time, however, the wall had no give. This was like no drywall I had ever dealt with before. I kept hitting the wall and some of the drywall began to give, but as it fell away I saw why it was so difficult to break off.
Behind the drywall, there was wood paneling that was screwed into the cement walls. As you can imagine this was not the happiest discovery, because it would mean a lot more time and effort to finish the task of taking the walls down to actually fix the problem. As I was looking at the wood paneling, the LORD began to show me how relatable this whole situation is to my life.
Let’s start with the initial hole, the one that didn’t need to be made. In my life there have been many moments where I have learned things about life and faith and before I take time to synthesize the wisdom received and apply it appropriately, I will make blanket statements that tend to be harmful and unnecessarily destructive… Don’t we all do this sometimes? We think that we know the truth for someone else’s life and we won’t let them leave the conversation without hearing us out; we turn life giving messages into self destructive teaching, trying to snuff out the very spark of the Creator that exists inside of us because we have misunderstood the truth. Wielding a sledgehammer requires clarity and responsibility. We need to be clear how to use the truth that each of us carry otherwise me might need to extra sheets of drywall to patch up the holes we make…
Once we do know how to properly use the tools that have been given to us, and we know which walls to tear down, we need to be clear that these walls don’t always just come down easily. Sometimes you will try and try and try to see breakthrough in your life and you might just be running into something more difficult. This doesn’t mean that we give up and abandon the task that we have, but it does mean that we might need to give ourselves grace for the process.
In my life, it would be easy to say that pornography was a wall I believed I was gonna just bust through easily with the good news of Jesus. Paul says that it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. So why has it been a laborious ordeal to be free? I think so often we see the issues that exist on the surface and we believe that they can be simply dealt with, when often times, they are just the top layer. Loneliness, anxiety, stress, pain, fear, the list of things that lead to the issues we all face could go on and on. We all need to learn to search for the deeper truths that lead us to true and lasting freedom. This is not always a fast or simple process, in fact it might take our whole lives, but it is so worth it.
So may we have the wisdom to know how to walk in the truth knowing which walls we have in our lives that need to be broken down, and may we find grace for ourselves throughout the process!