Running Towards The Lord

Defense mechanisms. 
   How we deal with life. 
   How we push past pain. 
   Everyone has them.

They build up like walls. They go up unnoticed, slowly growing higher and higher, and thicker and thicker. Before we realize it, the top isn't even visible. 

In my case, I honestly didn't realize how thick and tall my walls were until the beginning of this summer. Who knew that getting into an uncomfortable situation full of unknowns could dig up so many different sides of you. God knew. 

After a couple of weeks in Thailand, it was made evident how I deal with things uncomfortable and out of my control in life. I just push it out. Push out emotions. Push people away when they would try to deeply get to know me. Pushing out things from home I was going through. Push it out and build a bigger wall around  myself in order to look like I have everything all put together. Making the walls so big that it is impossible to feel or experience life, love, or joy from the people around me. More importantly, I would never be able to fully experience these things from The Lord either.

By no means did this just happen at the start of this trip. These walls have been building up for years. They were just made evident at this point in my life.

Questions started flying at my mind all the time.
    How do you expect to even begin to empathize for the women?
    How can you love on anyone fully, from an overflow of love from The Lord, if you won't even receive it yourself? 
    Is it even possible for you to have the joy of The Lord as your strength here?

With questions like these flying around, I immediately started praying: 
   – to be able to fully experience joy and love from The Lord
   – that the walls around me would be broken down
   – against apathy 
   – for my heart to be broken for what breaks His

All of these were pretty scary things to be praying for in my opinion. They broke my safety zone, my security, of always being put together, always being concerned solely with my own interests, goals, and agenda. 

Thankfully, The Lord has been working in me all summer long, even when I can't see it. 

During the week we spent in the mountains at the hill tribe, I experienced joy found in The Lord and felt the overwhelming presence of His love for me. Jesus broke those walls downs and is now helping me walk through the rubble.

I continued to pray that The Lord would truly break my heart for what breaks His. I prayed it over and over before going into the bars each night. I wanted to see the men and women how The Lord sees them, and I knew it wouldn't be possible if I didn't understand what God's heart feels for them. 

Last Thursday it started to hit me. As I was having quiet time with The Lord in preparation for the night ahead, Jesus literally broke my heart for the men in the bars. Not quite what or how I was expecting it, but Jesus works in mysterious ways! 

Jesus reminded me of myself, and how I truly am not that different than the men who go out into the bars. The Lord reminded me of broken friends from home, broken men, broken family members, and how I myself am so broken too. We're all broken, and more often than not, we all run to something to try and deal with the pain. We run, and we run fast and hard. 

I run towards apathy, pushing everything and everyone (including The Lord) out.
The men in the Red Light District run toward women and sex. 
The bar owners and pimps run towards money. 
The ladyboys run to a new identity. 

Honestly, it doesn't matter what we are all running too. The matter of fact is that we turn our backs to The Lord and run fast and hard toward something besides Him. The Lord's heart breaks when we run to those things instead of Him.

I'm not saying its easy, to turn away from the counterfeits of this world and run back to embrace The Lord. 

However, I am saying: it is so worth it. 

"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." 
– Romans 12:2

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