An umbrella is big and curved and has a spiky thingy protruding out the top. It has a handle coming straight down from the top on the inside, then curving at the bottom at the place where your hand goes. It keeps off the rain. It also keeps off the hail, too, if you have a good umbrella!
I use an umbrella. I use it to keep off the rain and to keep me dry underneath.
In our spiritual lives we can use umbrellas, too. But in this case it is not good - it is bad.
God loves to be with us and talk to us and have a wonderful relationship with us. :D However, a lot of the time we can tend to put up umbrellas over ourselves so God can't get in. He's up above the umbrella and he tries to come down and talk but we're so completely covered by the umbrella that we can't hear him. There's even a menacing spike on top of the umbrella just to try and keep God away!
God sends the rain. He sends his living water and showers of blessings down on us... and what do we do? We put up our umbrellas so none of it will reach us. Now and then a 'hailstone' (that's God trying to get through to us) will pierce the top of the umbrella and break the cloth... or the strong wind will turn the umbrella inside out... but what is our response to that? We have the rip in the cloth repaired immediately or we start using a different umbrella that is stronger and will keep the wind and rain and hail off better.
Let's not put our umbrellas up. Keep them furled, swinging lazily on your arm. Or better still, leave the umbrella at home. Let's walk out in the rain and let God speak to us and have a relationship happening. Let's splash in the puddles and enjoy it. Why trudge through the rain with umbrellas up so God can't get through to us?
Don't put up an umbrella.