Have you ever tried to hold a large inflated toy under water? It’s hard work. When we stuff our feelings, it is like trying to holding an inflatable under water. And yet, we often work even harder to keep our true feelings out of view. And by doing this, we build walls around our real selves and around any problems we may be struggling with.
We often think of walls as protective, but these walls can be destructive to the psychological and spiritual growth we are striving for. These self-constructed walls cause us to isolate ourselves from other people … and even from God. They often hide us from the truth about a problem that has a hold on us. The walls we build are called coping skills or defense mechanisms. Defenses can take many forms: rationalization, humor, blame, denial. Have you said something like “What I did isn’t so bad,” or “You don’t understand the pressure I’m under,” or “It isn’t so bad,” or “It’s in the past, let’s move on.” Sound familiar?
We’ve all used defenses like these to cover the truth. Understanding where and how our feelings play into our decision-making system is usually a mystery to most of us. God and Jesus expressed many emotions, ranging from joy to jealousy. So they must serve a purpose and should not be pushed down. Because we are afraid and uneducated about our emotions, we find many ways to hide from them.
When we hide behind defenses, we are attempting to hide the truth about ourselves and our situation from God … other people … and even from ourselves. We are also blinding ourselves from the truth of God’s Word. And yet, our only answer is in the truth … because the truth will set us free.
Today, stop and assess whether you have built any walls around yourself … walls that you hoped would defend you … walls that in reality are blocking your road to freedom. It is important to recognize those walls and begin to tear them down. But remember, you can’t tear them down all at once. Building them was a process, and so is tearing them down. It’s done by being honest with God, with yourself, and with others (but in a Godly way). It’s done by learning to trust the truth of the Bible more than your feelings. WITHIN REACH will help you understand and utilize your emotions wisely.
Dear Father God, I realize I’ve been trying to hide the truth by building walls around myself. I’ve rationalized. I’ve pointed the finger at others. I’ve denied. But the truth is that I need Your help. Help me to be honest with You, with others … and with myself. Help me to depend on the truth of Your Word more than on my feelings. Help me to tear down the walls. I pray this and all prayers through the One You sent to help me remove my defenses, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without protection.