The Walls We Adults Have Built

Jesus Says We Need to be like Little ChildrenJesus said His followers need to be like little children (Matt. 18:3; 19:14).

Here is the problem:  By the time we have reached adulthood, that child-like trust, transparency, and sense of awe so vital to our spiritual growth and relationships with one another has been replaced with walls.

Walls That Block Out Unwanted Feelings:

How quickly we learn that life doesn’t always go our way, that it sometimes includes suffering.  Bad things do happen to good people.  And, it doesn’t feel good.   We try to block out the negative reactions these events can cause, repressing our feelings.  Why?  Perhaps we have learned along the way that big boys don’t cry, that we shouldn’t be a wimp.  We may have gotten pegged as not having enough faith.  If we don’t feel, then we won’t react.  If we don’t react, we won’t have to be uncomfortable around others.  We’ve learned to mask our feelings so well that sometimes we aren’t even honest with ourselves about how we feel about both the good and bad of life.

Result:  We lose that child-like awe and wonder.

Walls That Keep a Distance Between Us and Other People:

Too often, as children, we are hurt by the very people who we most look to for care, understanding, attention, and love … parents, family, teachers, best friends.  Perhaps we were neglected, abused, rejected, or betrayed.  We feel like we’ve been let down.  Relational hurts, especially those experienced early in life, can cause us to say, “Never again.”  We try to prevent the same thing from reoccurring.

Result:  We no longer have that child-like trust.

Walls That Hide Who We Really Are:

We didn’t make the grade, get the part, or win the competition.  We felt the shame of disappointing our parents or teachers.  We were put down one too many times.  Soon we don’t even like ourselves.  We begin to play the part, saying and doing what we feel people expect of us.  We don’t want others to see our weaknesses or failures so we begin to make excuses or blame someone or something else.

Result:  We no longer have that child-like transparency.

Walls That Keep Us From Growing Spiritually:

If you are a teacher of an adult Bible class, you soon realize that these same walls also keep truth and growth opportunities from getting in.  Consequently, part of our task as teachers of adults is breaking walls down.

The Breaking Walls Down Training Session for Teachers of Adult Bible Classes gives nine different tools you can use to chisel away at those walls.

Breaking down the walls in your life will probably take you out of your comfort zone.  You may not feel safe.  So, start in your relationship with the Lord.  Find your security in Him.  Get a sense of how much He truly is there for you, working on your behalf.  Pull on the power and resources He extends to you. Then, if others let you down or if life gets hard, you can be okay because your source of significance is in Him.  You are loved with an unending love.

9 Replies to “The Walls We Adults Have Built”

  1. Asked to teach adult class. Can attest to what you wrote. Having hard time getting through to handful whose walls are high and deep but seeing some breakthroughs. Have to keep loving them.

    • Thanks for commenting, Chester. Breaking down walls is a process. As they feel more and more safe with you and others in your class, you should see more and more breakthroughs. And, keep praying. God, through His Spirit, can chisel away in their hearts in ways you can’t begin to touch.

  2. I’m really glad you touched on this subject and I’m gonna buy the 9 steps to breaking down the walls. It’s funny because, the Lord really dealt with me with this tearing down the walls. I call it removing the mask. I was reading this yet seeing still there are some walls that can still be there. Like my life is an open book I don’t mine sharing the real me. I don’t want to be fake yet I think I can be more expressive on how things affect me because your right as a young man. Watching my mentor I learned that he’s not superman. Yet at some times I have seen him use faith as the wall to block out emotions that can take you on a roller coaster. I’m trying to finish but at the moment I notice emotional walls that has just been chopped down and I want to cry but it want come out.

    • Thank you for your openness, Gabriel. I am glad God has been working in your life in these ways. Yes, removing masks is a very similar concept. I look at using masks to cover or disguise who we are. Putting up walls could take that a little further in providing more of a barrier to block people or life experiences from getting in. It also keeps us from getting out. Both masks and walls are protective measures and that is what we must deal with.

      Faith in God is essential to breaking down those walls. Faith in God helps us go through the process of dealing with the emotions and circumstances in our lives. Faith is not something we use to deny reality. Faith acknowledges the issues but also that we have a Source to help us cope and deal. Look at the example of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. He felt the anguish of His circumstances. He admitted, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” He leveled with God saying, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.” But He also concluded, “Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (See Matt. 26:37-39.) By faith we look to a Sovereign God, being honest yet trusting that He knows what is best and He will help us bear whatever we must go through, even any accompanying emotions.

  3. Hi there. I am newly married and is finding out that I have thick walls protecting me and have tried to break them but finding it hard to do.

    • Hello, Linki. We need God’s power to break down the strongholds in our lives that are part of our protective walls. — “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:4-5) — Let me suggest the following: 1) Ask God to help you identify the arguments and lies you are telling yourself that form your defense for building walls in your life. 2) Once you identify the arguments and lies you tell yourself, replace them with truth as found in God’s Word. Every time you put up that wall, tell yourself that truth and ask God for His power to be obedient to His Word. This is something you may need to repeat over and over but as you continue to lean on God’s power, the walls will come down.

  4. Well you see I’m a young adult (early 20’s). Sometimes its other people who try to put the ungodly ignorant walls up. Sometimes with or with out stereotypes. Lots of walls need to be broken down with or without stereotypes. We need to pray as hard as we can’t to be strong enough to break that evil, sickening and horrible spirit.

    • Yes, sometimes it is other people who put up the walls. As you wrote, we do need to pray for them. — “And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5:15) The word “sick” in that verse could refer to anyone who needs to be made whole (healed), anyone in a wearied, agitated state of mind, emotion, or body. Also important in this verse is that we who pray for them to have the right heart attitude. It’s the prayer of the righteous person that’s powerful and effective. But, indeed, we aren’t strong enough in ourselves to break through. We pray to the One who is powerful enough.