Tonight I was scrolling through images of myself on Facebook from years ago. Looking back at myself I instantly saw the fear, the questions, and the doubt when I looked into my eyes. I remember doubting everyone when they complimented me. I didn’t actually think they meant what they said. Truth is I thought everyone was just giving me lip service. I thought people looked at me and pitied me. I thought their words towards me were that of judgements, and pity.
Truth is I saw through that lens because thats how I viewed myself. I judged myself for not being “strong enough”, not “having it all together”, for still hurting from previous breakups, for still working through issues that others had successfully worked through. I thought they pitied me when they looked at me and saw my shortcomings.
My twenties were nothing short of an identity crisis. Trying to build myself into something I thought those around me wanted and needed. Instead of sitting down and asking myself what do I want? I built something that was never intended to be built. I constructed a temple within me that worshipped the wrong things. Temporary things. I fell victim to believing the lies that I wasn’t good enough, that I wasn’t put together enough. As a result I built walls around me and within my heart keeping everyone at arms reach. Even those I claimed I loved with all my heart where never truly allowed in my heart no matter how gently or loving they came. The door was slammed in their face over and over again. When gently reminded that my heart was unable to receive let alone be a safe place for anothers heart I felt as though they were judging me.
My core fear is failure. To be reminded that I was not perfect was pretty much the dagger that I avoided at all costs. I wouldn’t let their words penetrate my heart even though I desperately needed to hear truth and be able to receive it. I was never really able to accept peoples love or affection because I never thought I was enough. My heart went from being thrown at people, to becoming a cold dark dungeon that I didn’t even allow myself access into for fear of what could be in there.
Someone once gave me a picture of how they saw my heart. What they felt like needed to happen in order for me to truly love myself and for me to allow someone space within my heart to love me. I remember thinking what? This is crazy! How could someone be that open and available for someone to just walk right in and make a home in my heart? Well almost 8 years later I am now seeing exactly what they were talking about. And let me tell you it has not been an easy journey but its been so worth it!!!!!
Choosing to be honest with yourself regarding the condition of your heart can be heartbreaking. Why? Because we all want love, however if we are unable to accept love we begin wondering if we will ever truly love or be loved. Over the past eight years I have found myself in some of the most heartbreaking experiences of my entire life. Too many loses for my sweet heart to contain till it got to a point when I realized I can’t do this anymore. I cannot protect my heart from pain. Because it will come, no matter how tall the walls are, no matter how many locks are on the doors of my heart. Pain will come, and it will hurt. There is no avoiding it.
So if there is no avoiding it, then how do I live a life that isn’t shaped by hurt?
Thus began the journey of saying YES. Saying yes to my heart. It started with me daring to say yes to allowing those around me to love me, to care for me, to speak into me. To admit that I NEEDED other people. This began around five years ago when my mom was diagnosed for the second time with stage 4 melanoma. I had lied to myself for years thinking I didn’t need people. Little did I know I would only be able to accomplish the healing in my heart because of the people coming around me and lifting me up when I had no energy to go on. I mean this literally and figuratively.
Choosing to say yes to go on the journey of self discovery with your heart is seriously one of the most incredible journeys you will ever go.
To be honest with you it hasn’t been as hard as I thought, but it hasn’t been easy. I think seeing the ‘results’ has outweighed the sting of letting stuff go of things that I held so close that were comfortable and familiar that I thought provided protection. Finally experiencing the freedom that comes with letting go and beginning to see what someone spoke over about the condition of my heart and where it would be when I was ready to love is SO encouraging. But damn, I sure wish I hadn’t of taken 8+ years. (Now let me be clear, I’m not saying my heart is perfect. haha.) However seeing it come to a place where my heart is able to breathe is incredible. Its almost like coming to a clearing in the woods if you will after being stuck in a forest you thought you would never get out of.
To be in a place where I can finally be honest with myself about the condition of my heart is one of the most freeing things I have ever experienced. To be able to ask myself every day ‘how are you doing heart?’ is no longer someone I fear or worry about. It is a joy to get to know myself better, to learn how to love myself better. Because I can only love those around me to the extent I love myself. Before I would have never asked my heart how it felt because I was to busy telling it how to feel. “You’re okay”, “That didn’t actually hurt, He was just a jerk forget about him”, “You’re better than that just shake it off”. In theory those can be great statements. But if you’re saying that and not addressing any of the hurt or pain that was associated with those statements you’re going to find yourself very hollow and unaware of how you actually feel because you were so busy trying to convince yourself you were fine when really your heart is bleeding to death barely able to function.
The journey of the heart is a long one. One we will be working out until the day we die. However today and everyday forward we have the opportunity to invest in ourselves and our hearts. Sure going and getting a pedicure, or a drink is nice and good for ya but whats going to last is your heart. Allowing yourself to give love freely simply because you’re able to is INCREDIBLE. No longer fearing pain or hurt that may come is even more amazing.
I no longer fear hurt. I know its going to happen. The question has never been will I get hurt. You absolutely will. The question is what are you going to do with that hurt? Are you going to build a wall? A defense mechanism to attempt to keep out anyone and anything that could hurt you?
Or will you allow yourself and look at that person and say I know you’re hurting and thats why you’re projecting this on me I choose to not allow it to shape my identity and give it to the Lord. Will you allow yourself to say hey, you know that hurt me. I know thats not the truth about me and speak truth over yourself. Then you extend grace to the other person, and to your heart to deal with the hurt. Without rushing yourself to get over it, and allowing the healing process to take its course. Sometimes it takes a split second, sometimes it takes years.
The journey of the heart is precious and so, so worth it! Every tear, every laugh, every surrender, every yes, every no. They all add up into something really beautiful. Tonight I encourage you to sit down and ask your heart. How are you feeling tonight?
To be continued…..
(going to be addressing how to practically how to ask your heart how you feel when you can barely feel)