Tonight is again a time for honesty. I choose to be honest with you because to hold up the veil of my own pride and goodness profits you nothing, and that my dears is not what this blog is about. This blog is in essence very close to the title of this blog post… it is a place in which I let down my walls, exposing all that lies prone underneath the veil of my dignity, and hold up my light. That light of Jesus that heals all wounds and cleanses all stains. My sin or weakness or trouble is no match for the light of his glory, and that is what I hold up to you today, with hands that have been cleansed from their unrighteousness. Now enough introduction; on to my story:
Today was a Monday and I happened to meet new people at my work. I will go ahead and tell you that I was not overly excited by this. Since we are being honest here, my first reaction when I meet MOST people is one of instantaneous fear. Part of me is very social, but part of me is not social at all. Fortunately for my attitude today, Jesus kept me. When I am scared of meeting new people I generally have 1 of 2 reactions. I am either overly friendly and bubbly to try and hide the fact that I am an innately shy and not let my fears get the best of me…OR I walk around with a very uninviting demeanor that says “don’t mess with me, don’t speak to me, don’t look at me. STAY AWAY.” That’s instinctual lady redeemed. As soon as I walked in and saw 2 new people in the office at work today, one of whom was shadowing, this demeanor began to creep in, and needless to say, it was the second and less pleasant of the two formerly mentioned options. “Please get away from me” I thought…kind of amusing now that I think about it. When I feel like this I always have difficulty and an aversion to going up and performing the obvious appropriate social greeting. I wound up being forced to do this later in the day because to my horror one of the new people shadowed me directly in a session with a difficult client. I recall glaring at my coworker when she was brought into the room. “Of course she would be shadowing me”, I thought. I was forced to go up and smile and make myself friendly. Bear in mind the verse in Proverbs that says “A man who has friends must himself be friendly” (Proverbs 18:24). The person of course turned out to be friendly in response. It would have been a lot more difficult for me had I not remained in step with my faithful Savior friend throughout the day. As I look back, I can almost hear him calling gently to me in those moments: “Little girl, little girl…let down your walls. Let down your walls and raise up your light.”
I have two practical points of advice to make from this story.
- People aren’t as scary as you feel in the moment; let down your walls. A lot of my reactions to meeting new people did not come naturally; they are conditioned responses. At a certain point in my childhood, I began to associate meeting new people with very negative experiences. I experienced the reality of an unkind world, and in a carefully plotted demonic attack the young girl who was very much bold and entirely confident began to experience the fear of man. Friends I’m not going to lie, there are some bad and scary people in this world…but first, the fear of man is not from God, and He will break that off you in time. Second, instinctual responses of anxiety and defensiveness are rarely based in the reality of the present moment. A proportionately large number of the people you spend your time trying to avoid and keep away from you when you could simply embrace the solution of walking up and saying “hi” are actually not that bad, and we need to hear the reality of that. Are there people that you should avoid like the plague? Absolutely. You also can’t expect everyone to love you when Christ clearly said that we would be hated often without cause for His name’s sake. However, you must not allow immediate and irrational responses to prevent you from taking the commonsense action of greeting someone and proving yourself friendly, because avoiding them like the plague without knowing them only hurts you, and you might find you are missing out. Jesus promises to be with you in these moments. Where does your confidence come from? It better not come from your own abilities, because those will always inevitably fail no matter how competent you are. Your confidence comes from the One who is the fortress for the weak and the weary…the hiding place for the shy and unsure. You don’t belong to yourself. So let your walls down. That very concept leads me to the second point:
- Raise up your light. If you let the reality that you don’t belong to yourself seep deep into your bones, you begin to see the reason for holding up your light. If Jesus saved you, He said “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). This light of Christ is the reason that you need not be ashamed or afraid in your daily interactions with others, or when new people come into your life. You were made to shine the light of Christ, and this quest is important whether the people you run into day to day are saved or lost…whether they are fellow candle bearers or do not yet know the light. There are a world of people who are hurting, and searching, and we hold healing, and answers. Don’t let your fear, or your pride, or anything else prevent you from doing what God has called you to do, for you are called: “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). It’s okay to be shy.., it’s okay to be nervous. It’s even okay to have instincts that make you look like you want to shank someone until you get to know them (I’m being humorous here). Again, you won’t be walking in your own strength or your own confidence. That’s why we can hold up our light, because the light of the world lives inside of us, and I promise you on the authority of His holy Word that if you simply ask Him to help you He will. He delights in giving us the power that we need to fulfill His commands. His heart is filled with joy that His children desire to obey His word. Do not hide from him in shyness and shame because you are not naturally inclined to what He has asked of you…He will never be put off by your inability, and He will honor your humility for asking.
I leave you with one last note of confidence. When you speak, it will not be with your authority, it will be with His. The God who calls us to let down our walls and raise up our light is the same God who has called you to speak with power in His name, and He bids you not to be afraid. Not of man, not of tomorrow, not of anything. Oh how powerfully the enemy will try and fight this as you begin to embrace new and fresh the call of Jesus on your life, but you needn’t be afraid. He promises that “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world”. Let his confidence fill you up: “Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.” (Titus 2:15). You who are called, pick your chin up. I bid you now as Christ has bidden me so clearly tonight. Let down your walls…and raise up your light. I love you all and I bless you and exhort you all by the power of Jesus name. May his power rest on you as you go throughout the rest of your week.
And now Father I ask as I always do that you might touch the hearts of your people around the world with the Word that you have spoken. For you promised that your Word when it is sent out will not return to you void, but it will accomplish every purpose for which you have sent it. May your people be equipped with your divine power to speak your Word with authority and hope. May it deliver grace to the weary and freedom to the bound as your people fulfill your call on their lives. I thankyou that you have called us out of darkness and into your light. Remind your people of who you are, and what that means for them. For you Oh Lord are the Redeemer of every weakness. Speak gently to your people tonight, In Jesus name. Amen.
With very great love,