March 30, 2021
Breaking Down That Wall
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. (Proverbs 27:17, NLT).
Friend to Friend
For years I didn’t have a strong community of close friendships. I was surrounded by people who cared about me, but I didn’t let them get too close. I built a wall that only God and I could see.
Some might have even seen that wall as strong. It made it appear as if I was highly independent. I learned to work hard and do things on my own.
Some might say that wall kept me safe. After all, as long as the wall existed no one could trample my heart.
Yet one day I sensed God asking me to break down that wall, for He saw the truth. That wall was isolating. It was exhausting to fly solo all the time in all my endeavors. It did keep me safe in some ways, but it also hemmed me in and robbed me of possibilities.
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.
This wise saying in Proverbs implies that when we open our heart to deeper relationships, we are stronger. Iron sharpening iron happens in close proximity. As one iron strikes another, there are sparks and friction, but also a refining that is masterful.
As we look throughout scripture, we find this theme of friendship over and over again. In the book of Exodus, Aaron and Hur holds up Moses’ arms when he’s weary. In the book of 1 Samuel, Jonathan befriends David, and brings him joy and comfort in one of the most perilous seasons of his life. In the book of Ruth, a daughter-in-law transcends from family to loyal friend as they share in loss and new beginnings.
But let’s be honest. Breaking down walls can feel risky and vulnerable. It means that you get close enough to see my strengths, but also my flaws – the whole me.
As I sensed God asking me to break down the fortress I had so carefully built, I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. My first step was to ask Him to help chisel away the belief systems that had built that wall, brick by brick. As those barriers started to crumble, He helped me:
- Exchange the belief that walls protect for the truth that they isolate
- Give myself permission to be me, which gave others permission to be themselves
- To move on if a person was unhealthy or abusive, even as I kept the door open for healthier relationships
What I discovered was as those walls came tumbling down, I was vulnerable, but I was also free to surround myself with a handful of strong women, some who were close for a season and others who I’m growing old with.
Do you sense God asking you to break down those walls when it comes to friendship?
Invite Him to help you take one step. That might lead to a face-to-face connection with a new friend or connecting with faith-filled women online. It may be a women's group at church or a Bible study that meets in a coffee shop. Perhaps He’ll lead you to open your home (like He did me) so that women have a safe place to laugh, talk, dig deep in the Word, and connect around your kitchen table.
Breaking down our walls isn’t about how the number of friends we have, whether a few or many, but how strong we become as those walls come tumbling down.
Father, I have built a wall around my heart when it comes to friendships and you understand the reason why, but you also know how it’s kept me hemmed in. I invite you in to chisel away at that wall around my heart. Thank you for friendship and community that you have for me, but also that I can be a friend to someone who longs for it too.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
One of the sweetest gifts we can give to a friend is authenticity. As we accept who we are, we are better able to accept others in all their flaws, quirks, and beauty. What is one way that you can be authentic with a friend this week, or invite a friend to be authentic with you?
More from the Girlfriends
One of the most discouraging joy stealers is the belief that community has to be perfect before we can take part.
In Suzanne’s book, JoyKeeper: 6 Truths That Change Everything You Thought You Knew About Joy, Suzie shares how to confront that joy stealer with truth; how to step into community even when it’s messy (the good kind); and how to take your seat (and pull one out for her too).
© 2021 by Suzanne Eller. All rights reserved.