I’ve heard it said that if we don’t face our past pain, we can’t move forward. Sometimes the rubble of the past needs to be cleared, before our lives can be rebuilt. And while rebuilding, we need other people to support and “guard” us. Here’s what I just learned about this process from Nehemiah 4…
Recently I read the book of Nehemiah, buried in the Old Testament. The Israelites had been taken captive in a foreign land, and just received permission from the captor king to return home to Jerusalem. They returned home to a destroyed city, in desperate need of being rebuilt, and they got right to it.
How many times have we looked at our own lives and realized things had gotten out of control —
- perhaps we neglected spiritual maintenance due to apathy…
- perhaps we’ve been in a dating relationship that wasn’t healthy…
- perhaps our lives are falling apart due an addiction.
And we decide we want to rebuild.
The Israelites started rebuilding, only to become completely and totally EXHAUSTED.
They were constantly being threatened by the nearby cities, who said they’d attack and destroy them all. I think we’ve all felt threatened by the enemy of our soul. For me, it’s been through thoughts like these:
- “If you break up with that guy, you’ll never be loved again!”
- “See how you messed up again? You’ll never be able to beat your eating disorder!”
- “See that other girl over there? She loves God so much better than you. How can God ever be pleased with you?”
But here’s the really interesting part, in Nehemiah 4: Part of the reason the Israelites were so exhausted, was NOT just because of the threats. It was because
there was so much rubble to clear, that they couldn’t build.
Because of all the rubble, the Israelites were losing strength.
I’ve heard it said many times that:
“if people don’t face their past pain, they can’t move forward.”
It makes me think about how much needs to be cleared in human lives — including mine — before new things can be built or rebuilt.
And a lot of those things are what we believe about ourselves and about God…that just aren’t true.
Nehemiah 4 says the Israelites worked, clearing away the rubble, in such a way that everyone had a sword on him, ready for attack at all times. And while they were building, half worked and half guarded.
I was thinking how necessary that is, before lives are rebuilt.
While rebuilding, we need other people to help guard and look out for us, because we’re in a vulnerable place.
The rubble is still being cleared, the protection of truth and maturity has not yet been built, and we don’t yet have the identity, safety, security, and strength that comes with a fully built “wall,” that comes with maturity.
A fully built wall?
- I’m NOT talking about walls in our hearts that keep people and God out, while disguising themselves as protection. Those are also bits of rubble that needs to be cleared.
- I AM talking about maturity — about the clear knowledge of what is true and what is a lie, and being able to raise the shield of faith against doubts that come our way.
This week I started Beth Moore’s “Breaking Free” book study with a few girlfriends. I am ridiculously excited to begin to break free from the fears and insecurities in my heart. And I feel like Nehemiah has given me some perspective on this journey:
There is rubble that will need to be cleared in my heart before what is good and true can be built.
I’m thankful to do this study with a group of girls, so that we can support each other, and fight with and for each other along the way. We need people who can stand with us to help fight off the enemy as we are rebuilding.