Walls can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Walls are not just physical structures, but can be psychological and emotional fortresses erected with the intent to protect oneself and not let anyone in. These invisible walls usually are created piece by piece, slowly over time as we encounter and struggle to surrender the difficult circumstances we walk in.
This past fall, in the midst of the pandemic, I was surrounded by physical walls created of steel and barbed wire and red signs with formidable words written in a foreign language. I was forbidden to leave the house and was trapped inside with eight people. All I wanted to do was crawl over the barbed fence and run as fast as I could. I did not really know where I would go, I just wanted to escape. I felt trapped physically, but little did I know that I was also closing myself off spiritually by creating invisible walls formed by my fears, doubts, and worries.
During this time, I joined the Fall Connection Groups with the intent of finding and interacting with women who had or were currently serving on the field. This would be the second Connection Group I had been a part of and my first video chat group. My first experience was in spring of 2020 with a Facebook group. I joined this group soon after I moved overseas. This experience had a positive impact on my transition into the country. I felt understood, welcomed, and loved by women I had never met.
Fast forward to fall of 2020, I was very excited to join my first Video Chat Connection Group. I was really hoping for the opportunity to verbally and visually interact with women who were or who had been going through similar experiences. My group was composed of four amazing women who had or were currently serving in Asia. These women, with their wise words of encouragement and godly wisdom, helped me to discover the invisible walls that I was creating. Each of them had a different story, different struggles, and different hopes.
Their authenticity, compassion, and accountability helped me to begin to break down the invisible walls that were surrounding me and stunting my spiritual growth. Each of us not only were able to express our frustrations with current cultural or personal situations, but also encourage and support each other as we surrendered and brought our sorrows, disappointments, fears, and worries before the Lord.
Up to this point in time, I had been trying to handle everything on my own. I wanted to control, the uncontrollable i.e., the UNKNOWN. I had been experiencing physical and emotional distress and was living each day in fear and depression. God used these Connection Groups to help me begin to recognize my selfish pride and desire to do everything on my own was isolating me from the fellowship, encouragement, and support of fellow believers.
These women listened to my struggles and shared their own. They reminded me that I was not alone and challenged me to surrender my fears to the Lord and pursue a deeper relationship with Him. Proverbs 18:1 (ESV) reads, “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgement.”
Isolation creates invisible walls. I am learning that fellowship, relationships, and a firm belief in the freedom and power of the Lord’s presence, destroys those walls and brings unity and deepens faith. May God bless each of these women who have played an important role in my faith journey and may God open your eyes to the walls that you are creating. Remember, you are never alone, you are unconditionally loved by a powerful and sovereign God, and you are surrounded by a community of sisters that support and deeply care for you.
How has your experience with community—teammates, supporters, online or in-person friends—stretched you beyond your visible or invisible walls?