Thursday, August 4, 2011

Some Bridges Need Burning

Recently on a blog, in the comments, we were talking about burning bridges and it came to me.  

Some bridges need burning.  Down to the pillars. Chopped from the banks. 

Bridges can do two things - allow access across and back.  That's it.  Two way traffic.  Or a one way invasion. 

Relationship bridges are like that.  Some need to be kept up, even if they get little traffic because who is across the river of distance, time, healing is worth keeping access to.

Some are old, forgotten even, and the places they used to go may not be there anymore.  They are not really even in our minds.

Some are current and alive with traffic and we use them daily.

Among these are the bridges that are seemingly innocent but are used for invasions and attacks and those are the ones that need to be closely looked at.  Sometimes, regardless of who is on the other side, the attacks that come are not worth keeping up the bridge!

If someone is sneaking across your bridge, smiling like a friend, and then attacking you this is not a good use of the bridge.  Bridges give access to our lives and sometimes we need a toll bridge, sometimes we need a four-lane super highway and other times we need a rickety swinging bridge with missing planks and sometimes no matter what kind of bridge it is we need to burn it down.

You bet, you heard me right, burn it to the ground. Stop access. Stop contact. Make a personal boundary that is not easy to cross.  When you are healing and choosing not to cross the bridge why should you allow them to cross to you if they are not supporting that healing? 

There should be no automatic passes on our bridges.  Everyone should have a good reason for being there.  One that is safe and healthy for us. Sure, some may challenge us or give us a reason to think but they should not be attacking us or using their access to our lives to cause us harm.

Some examples?  I am a person who cares deeply for others and sometimes that leaves me with very open access in parts of my life.  Such as time.  Emotional energy.  And when someone comes across, dumps their garbage and then leaves it is a violation.  It hurts.  They don't clean up. They don't work on coming to be a part of my life.  They are there to bitch, whine, dump and leave.  Sorry, you may get my prayers and my love but no more access.  And I'm not even really sorry about it either!

Another example?  Family!  They troop across the bridges with suitcases, motor homes and buckets of stuff to bring you.  Is it your stuff?  Or is it old garbage that belongs no where but the trash bin?  If it feels like, sounds like or acts like guilt and blame, invalidation and control burn that bridge!

Some bridges are one ways, and should only be crossed going towards the healing, building the faith, towards life and going backwards shouldn't be an option.  Keep going. Don't let anyone call you back to a dark place because they don't want you to move forward!  It may sound like this, 'I liked you better when'.

It can be easy to decide when to burn a bridge, it can be natural as moving on in life. Not going back down an old road, or taking that path again.  It can be hard too, what if I'm wrong and what if I want to go back or what if ____________... 

When I look back upon my burned bridges and I don't miss what is on the other side and I don't miss the stuff that came across then I feel pretty confident that it was right to do!

I love watching movies where they blow up bridges because it reminds me that I can do that too!  In my life, right now even,  an interruption stopped me from finishing this blog.  A bridge I had kept open for a few friends has now gotten a closed sign and a chain.  I may be stacking kindling there tomorrow!  Why?  Because what came across with them, their need and drama was and is not healthy for me. There is nothing over there I need!  So it is closed, and may be burned finally!  Maybe I held on too long.

What is across the bridges in your life?  Who comes across the bridges in your life?  Is there some burning that needs to be done? You have to think about it, pray about it and consider what it means but if you come to the conclusion that this is right for you then light'er up!  There is a freedom in burning a bridge who needs burning, there is a peace in watching it fall into the waters and be washed away.


  1. Very deep and thought-provoking. This post makes me think about the bridges in my own life. What do I allow across those bridges? Is it constructive? Is it necessary? Is it kind and loving? This is deep.

  2. Thank you for coming by Sharon, and blessings to you!

  3. Absolutely the most perfect analogy I've ever read. Seriously! Well done my friend! So often as Christians, we think we HAVE to keep the access bridge in place because we won't be Christ like by burning them down. That is so not true. Sometimes to be like Christ, we have to stop the contact. Loving one person for Christ does not mean you allow abuse to continue to come in and harm you or your other loved ones.

    Please feel free to stop by: Trailing After God

  4. Mel - thank you so much for stopping by and commenting! I agree with you, we think that to be Christians we have to keep access open, healthy or not, and that is so wrong. Sometimes the greatest grace comes in them having no one to face but themselves because they cannot blame, dump or use us anymore.

  5. Sometimes when the person(s) on the other side of the bridge bring feelings of hate...leaving them behind is the best way to love them and me. So many people think if you don't maintain a relationship with someone you don't love them, but that is not true...that is a condition and love doesn't really have those. There are those I can love from a distance, and some that I can only love from a distance. Sometimes holding the good parts of a relationship entails getting rid of the relationship and loving that person(s) for the good memories, whatever there are...and if there are none, it is hard to believe that there are those of us who feel like we have to keep that bridge open...of course, we were taught that there are some bridges you cannot burn...but that is a fallacy made into truth as long as we believe it...

    Great analogy...great blog. Thank you :)

  6. Wendi - thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your comment! So very well said, I especially like that the fallacy is made into truth as long as we believe it.

  7. I think about Jesus and how he actually lived his life. He said "let the dead bury their own dead" and I think he was refering to burning the bridges. He said don't let anyone hinder you from following him. In my life, "people" demanded that I worship them, and that I did what they said. I was never taught to follow Christ.. I was taught that if I followed "people" God would be pleased and that I would actually be following Christ... and that was not at all true; but as a kid, I never knew that, so as an adult, I still didn't know that.

    When I started to really read the bible, I was very very confused. It didn't say much of what I had been TAUGHT it said... I realized that I was expected to worship a lot of people! I had a lot of bridges to burn and when I started the clean up, but wow, my life is so much better now. I don't worship "people" anymore no matter what title they have. I have some really cool bridges and some really awesome vistas where the bridge I burned used to wreck the view!
    Great post Shanyn

  8. Darlene! I'm so glad you were able to make the comments work! Thank you for your comment, and I agree. Jesus was telling us that, and I'm loving the views too where the bridges used to be.

  9. "Among these are the bridges that are seemingly innocent but are used for invasions and attacks and those are the ones that need to be closely looked at."

    YES. I love this comparison. Bang-on.

  10. Chibi, thank you for coming by. Great to see you here. :-)

  11. I don't know how I missed this post. Love your burning bridges. Some relationships are not healthy and no matter how much we may want the other person to grow and heal with us, if they don't want it, or don't want us to grow, they are better off left behind, especially the abusers.

  12. Patricia - I'm so glad you found it. Sorry you missed it! You are so right...thanks for being here.

  13. wow.. i love this post.. how did I miss this Shanyn. It is so very beautiful and really fitting for what my tumblr message just said.. I think I need to think more before I act on little things I see on the net. .What might be good advice for "builing a bridge for peace." may not be good for another.. I think some people in my life are beyond walking across bridges to make peace .. they fired painful words at me for even thinking I could be a I watched my bridge fall down and my efforts for peace as well.

  14. Joy - so glad you found it, better maybe the second time around when you needed it most? I believe some bridges need to be burned, some need to be abandoned and others need to be maintained but we are the best ones to know if we want what is on the other side to come over to us!