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Dams and Dikes

We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear. (Martin Luther King, Jr)

A dam retains water - a dike holds it back so floods of water won't invade spaces where they don't belong. A dike is an embankment of sorts, but the 'site' selected for a dike is equally as important as the actual material that goes into the building of the embankment. I think we all have some 'embankments' in our lives that are constructed of whatever material we have at hand - emotional 'sandbags' of sorts that are filled with all kinds of garbage that just 'fills the space' and creates barriers that help us avoid things that we fear the most. 

Love is made perfect in us when we are not ashamed as we stand before Him on the day He judges. For we know that our life in this world is His life lived in us. There is no fear in love. Perfect love puts fear out of our hearts. People have fear when they are afraid of being punished. The man who is afraid does not have perfect love. We love Him because He loved us first.(I John 4:17-19)

The real purpose of any dike it create a barrier - to ensure something we don't want doesn't cross over into something we want to protect. You may have thought of a dike as just a stack of sandbags filled with materials sufficient enough to hold back invading waters, but for a dike to be successful in holding back the waters, there first must be a trench created! A trench sufficient to hold several layers of these sandbags, so there is a "key-hold" for the bags. I wonder how many trenches we have laid when emotionally hurt? Trenches that become easily filled with all manner of 'sand-bagged' emotional matter.

The trench actually 'holds fast' the layers and layers of sandbags that get added. As the pressures of the waters push against those bags, they don't move because there is a deep enough trench of filled sandbags to act as a foundation or footing for those piled upon them. One infraction rarely causes a trench to be dug, though. It takes threat upon threat and soon we begin to dig that trench. Once it is big enough, we start to 'sand-bag' those emotional hurts, stacking them into that trench, forming the 'foundation' upon which other hurts and grudges can be packed away.

Before long, we have an 'emotional dike' created that keeps us from having to deal with all the stuff on the other side of that 'emotional dike'. The barrier created keeps unwanted stuff out, but it doesn't keep it from being there! It just makes it harder for us to be affected by it. The problem with dikes is that when the 'waters' that exerted all that pressure external to the dike recede, we are left with a wall that has been 'soaked' with some pretty foul stuff. Floods of emotional garbage remain up against that 'wall', stuff that does nothing more than clutter up our lives and attracts some pretty unwelcome 'emotional vermin'! Just sayin!


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