[R]ecently I saw a handful of stunning photographs from this article about a variety of people who have made their own levees to protect themselves from the overflow of the Mississippi river. It is crazy to see how their makeshift walls have allowed them to protect their households from the onslaught of water. But it also strikes me as incredibly lonely.
I’m a visual learner, and staring at these pictures reminded me that often times we need to build walls like this in our lives to protect ourselves. It may be a person who has let us down continually or betrayed our confidence. I’d bet we all know the feeling of being burned by another person. Sometimes this type of defense keeps us alive and going.
But it is easy to keep the walls up long after we need them. As an introvert, I struggle with vulnerability and letting others in. Yet true and biblical community demands it of me. I’m reminded of the great community imagery of Ecclesiastes:
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” 4:9-12
While there are certainly times to put walls up in emergencies, don’t live with them. I invite you to have a vulnerable conversation with someone this week that has proved worthy of your trust and see what happens when you allow yourself to experience true community.