Toddlers love to stack…everything. Blocks. Cups. Books. Breakables. 🙂
You name it, they stack it.
As fun as the challenge of building is, the best part is in the knocking over, of course. I love to hear the squeals of delight and the belly laughs that come from my child as a result of simply knocking over a tower of carefully constructed blocks. Even as my toddlers have grown into older kids, the idea of stacking is still pretty popular. At camp they discovered the terrifying art of “crate stacking” where they climb on top of a tower of plastic milk crates to see how high they can make it before they crash.
Towers that don’t involve safety harnesses in order to have fun can be built while playing Jenga, the classic game of stacking where just removing one wrong block causes the whole thing to tumble. In our family, everyone groans and laughs and tickles the person who crashed it and then we start again building a new tower and trying to beat our previous record.
Jenga is a fun family night game, but in real life, we each build our own Jenga towers that we guard closely whether we realize it or not.
Reconstruction can carry a high price tag both emotionally and spiritually.
We all have ideas of what we believe about God (or what we don’t believe about Him). We have ideas about what we think of church and people and sin and Heaven and Hell. Most of us have a description of how we should treat people, what we should do with our money, and how we should spend our free time. The list goes on forever and includes a thousand decisions we make and how we see the world. All of our ideas are painstakingly positioned like a Jenga block that we meticulously arrange in an ever-increasing tower that displays our worldview while building a foundation for life.
The catch is that, just like the games mentioned above, every man-made tower crashes at some point. There are moments that catch us by surprise and suddenly, what we thought to be the “correct” viewpoint doesn’t add up. For example, the act of communion. Very early on in our dating relationship, my now-husband and I staunchly argued about whether or not we should raise our communion glass upwards while taking the Lord’s Supper. Ridiculous Argument!
But we argued vehemently.
One party felt it was cavalier and gave off an air of casualty that was disgraceful. One party felt it was honorable and reverent. (Both perspectives, by the way, were quite valid and appropriate) Yet we went back and forth for hours…..
Our Jenga towers were being challenged. We were forced to pull out the Jenga block marked “communion etiquette”, inspect it, seek out the truth about it, and decide if we could put it back or if we had to throw it out.
As we move through life, our towers are continually shifting and being rebuilt because we are learning more about the truth that can actually sustain the weighty tower of our lives.
Having my husband attend seminary has challenged my Jenga tower quite a bit. We have both spent six years together pulling out Jenga blocks and rebuilding our towers.
Studying truth has a way of doing that.
A few years ago, there came a point for me personally when there were too many blocks that had to be taken out and examined. Nothing was adding up anymore. My marriage was in shambles. I loathed the church. I wanted nothing to do with God. I despised seemingly everyone.
My foundation was bad and I had a choice to make. Either cling to what remained of my quaking tower, attempting to steady it with my own shaking hands, or allow it to fall in complete destruction.
I tried desperately to keep my prized tower from falling, but eventually I succumbed to the reality that what I had built was not going to hold up my life. I had to tear down that I might rebuild. I let my tower of beliefs and ideals and viewpoints crash to the ground and my heart shuddered at the pain, but what I discovered as I slowly picked through the ashes for what was valuable truth, that rebuilding was a chance at rebirth and a new life. It was a chance for a new foundation that would last the rest of my life as well as leave a legacy for my children and those around me.
Most of my old building blocks were faulty and, when held up to the light of real, biblical truth, were rotten to the core and worthless.
I had to replace the lies of my former tower with solid truth that would outlast my days.
How did I rebuild? I trusted the Bible as the ultimate source of truth, but I also looked for people in my life whose lives seemed to genuinely reflect that ultimate truth in day-to-day living. Just as Paul said in his letter to the Corinthian church, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ.” I could trust these friends to be a reflection of the One true God.
I believed that God was forced to love me (but secretly despised me)
Truth – God’s love is completely beyond description will never fail,
not because He must, but because it’s the deepest desire of His heart.
(See Romans 8:31-39 and 1 John 4:8)
I believed that God was perpetually mad at me for never being enough.
Truth – It was never about me being enough, because I never could be.
It was always about His grace and truth in my life.
(See I Corinthians 15:10)
I believed that my marriage would always be cold and meaningless.
Truth – Marriage was instituted by the Author of life and any heart given over to God
allows Him to rewrite life and marriage from despair to abundant hope.
(See Ezekial 36:26)
I believed that I had to have everything perfectly in order to be effective.
Truth – Christ died for us while we were still sinners,
offering His perfection when we were still utterly lost in our wretchedness.
(See Romans 5:8)
I believed that God’s grace only went so far.
Truth – When we are made new through the blood of Jesus,
we literally stand completely surrounded by grace.
There’s nowhere we can run to escape the grace of the Father.
(See Romans 5:1-2 and John 10:28-29)
I believed that peace was only something to pretend, like painting on a mask.
Truth – Real peace looks nothing like a mask
because it cannot be contrived by human effort.
It’s not a happy face; it’s a heart that knows in Whom their faith rests.
(See John 14:27)
My false beliefs built a shaky world of performance, shadows, and fear, but when I encountered the reality of who the God of the Bible truly was, I realized I had to let my Jenga tower crash. Most of it was old junk anyways.
Tumbling our towers takes courage, but building on a firm foundation is worth it.
What blocks do you need to pull from your tower?