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So the walls turned out to be somewhat bigger than a simple garden wall. I always pictured it as a fortress, which is accurate, but the scale of said fortress…It was pictured hundreds of times too small. I wonder how many people who have such barriers would contemplate for a time if they are pyscho or sociopaths…that is my new measuring scale. Have you legitimately wondered if you are a partial psychopath? No? Then your walls are not so bad. But I also know that is not really true since people are different and their walls vary too.

I had my little crawl just beyond my wall. It was dark, bush and forest bending and violently dancing in gusty, battering winds. Tossed around while in sight of the door. In the assaulting wind, the dark clouds obscuring the true size of my walls have been shifted. That initial experience seemed overwhelming at the time, but I see now that it was barely even mild, a small scratch on the surface of tons of steel. The fortress towers above everything in my life, casting everything into shadow, the looming presence and weight of such a foreboding and powerful protection/prison suppresses everything. I am chained to my prison. I cannot venture far, I cannot explore outside, and I am trapped. Where does God fit then?

My fortress seems to have pole (f1 reference) in my life. I am controlled by my prison and not God. That is blatantly apparent when I come to any cross roads:

Do I go speak to the homeless person, drowning in his sorrow and squished by the pressures of a dark world that simply doesn’t care? OR. Do I ignore it? I cannot feel his pain, I am unable to connect, to bear his burden with him, and I do not even wish to help after a few seconds. Shut down, look away, justify response, forget. My fortress looms above, its narrowed eyes watching my every move, tensed to tighten my chains in an instant. The fortress controls me, and it is formidable.

In cell God spoke through a message from another cell member. Essentially He said, ”Stop. Building. Walls.” Now I wasn’t especially pleased by God’s input. And yes, I realise that sounds ridiculous. God spoke, and I raged against Him, seething, fuming behind a mask that so effortlessly slipped into place. ”I am not building walls! I am suffocating within them! I am bashing my fists against jagged rocks, crushing the bone, scraping my flesh against my chains” Come out from your fortress. ”How? I don’t have a clue. I don’t want to be in the prison. You tell me to leave? THEN SHOW ME HOW!” I believe that tirade was invisible to everyone else. Blank mask. Move hair out of my eyes. Stare into distance. Repeat. Nobody has a clue what storms are whipping through your mind behind the mask. Maybe they can see you flip the switch, ask if you are okay, but they cannot help. They don’t know what is going on. They assume sadness. Maybe guess at distress. But they cannot know your thoughts. The inevitable questions after cell: ”Are you okay?” and the inevitable response ”I am Andrew…”

I have no solution for this yet. My eyes have been opened to the magnitude of the problem. But I also know the magnitude of my God. Stop building walls. I realised later that I had actually started again. I was withdrawing deeper than before. Not consciously, but it was revealed to me during prayer, or maybe stumbled across is a more accurate description. I was praying and came to the point where I should ask for God to open me up to connect with the people around me, replace my heart of stone, help me build real relationships with my friends and people in general, help me connect deeply…Part of me wants these things. And then another hollow, stubborn, eerie voice echoes ”No. I don’t want to.” When I heard that inside me I stopped for a second.

There is continual conflict within. To say something to God is simple, incredibly easy. To mean it fully, completely, deeply, meaningfully, through every single grain of the depths of who we are is very different. It is not easy to break through our issues, or at least not through the real ones. Our shallow, partially believed, partially meant words and actions are just lies. Avoiding the real issue as we attempt to hide from God. Attempt.

God knows when we mean something, and He knows when we go through the motions. I don’t know if any of this is relevant to other people in any way. I don’t know if you can take anything from this, if anything was stirred. My situation is far from over and it is most certainly not just a quick fix. It might take years, I don’t know. What I do know is that my God’s love for His children is relentless. He will never give up on me. He will fight for me, cling to me. He will provide the strength I need to scale my walls, and leave my fortress behind. It may take time. But if I fight for my faith and my relationship with Jesus, if I keep my eyes locked on His, if I submit completely, totally, thoroughly, everything that I am…I know that He will set me free.



Maybe this seems a little negative or demotivating, but it is real. I trust that God will guide me through this and I am glad He is addressing the problem now. I have been a Christian for just over a year so I am still new in my walk with Jesus. I am excited about the depth He is showing me and that we are going to start working through serious, real problems. I know that the experience will bring me much closer to God than I could ever imagine.

One Response to “Part 4: Prison”

  • Albert Kruger

    I realise my comment comes 7 months after you’ve published this, but I can really relate to the following line:

    “…if I keep my eyes locked on His, if I submit completely, totally, thoroughly, everything that I am…”

    It really describes where I am in my relationship with God at the moment, where He is pulling me closer and asking me to focus on Him firstly and completely; not placing anything else before Him in my life. As I go along I realise more and more that only God can satisfy me and though I’m often reluctant to surrender myself to Him, I wouldn’t trade intimacy with Him for anything.