Did you ever build a fort when you were a child? Did you have that special place created just for you? A place where you sought refuge? Growing up, I remember the excitement in being able to express my creativeness through the art of fort building. A secluded fortress, nestled in the tree line of a neighborhood park, or even a mere sheet thrown over a table in a back bedroom, offered me a place of solitude and acceptance. It was a place I could go without the fear of being made fun of, judged or condemned. A place where I didn’t have to worry about being good enough, or not having what it took to be a part of something bigger than the nothing that I had made myself out to be.
I found solace in solitude. I had convinced myself that my fortress, albeit lonely, would protect me from pain, attack, and danger. I would always be welcomed and accepted there. But in the end, I had merely constructed my own seclusion.
Looking back, I realize I had a huge void in my life. As a young child [and in many ways, it continued to impact me as an adult], I was seeking shelter, satisfaction, and solace from a world that only knew how to bring me pain, disappointment, and heartache. Building walls around me offered little more than a facade of a fortress, nothing close to what my heart yearned for.
“How lovely is Your dwelling place, Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young—a place near Your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; they are ever praising you. Blessed are those whose strength is in You, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion. Hear my prayer, Lord God Almighty; listen to me, God of Jacob. Look on our shield, O God; look with favor on Your anointed one. Better is one day in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless. Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in You.” –Psalm 84 [NIV]
Christ Jesus is my Shelter, my ultimate Fortress. I have complete acceptance in Jesus. In Him, I have nothing to fear and I will always be good enough. In Him is a life of abundance, joy and love. He has filled me to overflowing with a peace that surpasses all understanding, reaching to the very depths of my soul.
Christ has replenished all that was lost during those years of isolation and loneliness. He has brought me out of seclusion, into His sanctuary. He has surrounded me in His love and filled me to overflowing, affording me other “fort-mates” with whom I can share life with. I’ve left the solitary confinement of my yesterday to enter into His lovely, and loving, dwelling place, today.
Christ Jesus, thank You for tearing down the secluded forts of my yesteryear and giving me the ultimate Fortress that I have in You. How lovely is Your dwelling place, O GOD! Blessed is the one who trusts in You. In Your holy name I pray, Amen.
Points to Ponder:
Are you still building secluded forts? What is holding you back from tearing down the fortress walls of seclusion?
In what ways have you felt that GOD was calling you out of your solitary confinement into His dwelling place? How did you respond?
Deanna Clardy – 7-25-2012