Is it wrong to build walls around yourself?

by Fiona Teh // June 19, 2018, 5:16 pm

Is it wrong to build walls

“Sometimes people put up walls, not to keep others out, but to see who cares enough to break them down.” (Mahoko Yoshimoto)

At the heart of that sentiment is perhaps this question: Will anyone care enough to do what it takes to know me?

The walls that Yoshimoto refers to are “test walls” we set up just to see if someone would care as much as we’d like them to. It’s a false wall built out of insecurity.

Without proper boundaries and rules for our decision-making, we live on shaky ground. Establishing boundaries – our protection walls – is a necessary process in our lives because we exist in a culture that shifts ever so often. Our emotions go up and down, so we need to stand on solid ground.

Will anyone care enough to do what it takes to know me?

Who am I and what am I worth?

These are some of the questions that come up as we define our boundaries, because our boundaries reflect what we think about ourselves.

What will I not allow in my life? What will I walk away from? If we rightly understand our value as a person, we can set up strong boundaries with confidence and self-respect.

From beyond our usage of the term today, boundary walls have been a symbol for protection and security for a long time, from the ancient Romans to the Chinese.

A nation or city is distinguished by its boundaries. Its walls show you that it’s not just any unwalled village.

A city with walls around it is guarded, worth protecting and governed. And in knowing your own boundaries, you learn to respect other people’s boundaries too.

You have great worth.

So think of yourself as a city: You’re worth defending, you’re valuable and your boundaries are valid.

Do you really believe it? It may not come easy, especially for those who have been neglected or abused. It’s a confusing process to have to fuse what you may know in your head (that you have great worth) with what you feel in your being.

But persevere.

Even if we have gone through devastating attacks on our self-worth, whether in childhood or adulthood, which have damaged our self-esteem – we can rebuild.

We might struggle with worthlessness but we can rebuild. Even if our self-worth has gone down together with the boundary walls that were supposed to protect us – we can rebuild.

The most important wall we need to rebuild is our “spiritual wall” – our relationship with God.

When we place our faith in God – that He exists and rewards those who seek Him – then He becomes our strong wall of security. 

The moment we acknowledge God in our lives, our self-worth and security can be tethered to what God says and no longer to the culture or circumstances of our lives.

God becomes our wall of protection and all who run to Him is safe.

“Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” (Psalm 62:2)

A long time ago in the time of King Artaxerxes of Persia, a man named Nehemiah wanted to rebuild his city’s wall in Jerusalem. It was destroyed and in ruins.

A city without a wall was no longer a city, so he rallied people and resources to rebuild the wall.

“… when we rebuild our relationship with God, we need to be fully engaged – all in.”

The repairers of the wall carried materials and did their work with one hand, and held a weapon in the other to defend themselves in the face of an invasion.

“They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, ‘Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.’ But I prayed, ‘Now strengthen my hands.’” (Nehemiah 6:9)

Likewise, when we rebuild our relationship with God, we need to be fully engaged – all in. Know that God loves you, know what He says about you and be prepared that tests will come.

Pray like Nehemiah did when the work of rebuilding your life upon God’s truths feels too overwhelming. Be immovable like Nehemiah was when you are being threatened – whether by fear of failure or by memories of the past.

Hope in God like Nehemiah did when he asked that God would strengthen him.

Can we build it? Yes we can!

About the author

Fiona Teh

Fiona is low-key hilarious, a dog person, and she loves a good chat with strangers – particularly at Yakun. She also believes that everyone should know that they are absolutely worthy of love.