Have you ever walked barefoot, whether it be on the sand at a beach or in the grass with the sun shining on your shoulders? There’s something about it. It’s freeing. I’ve been needing to feel that lately. Instead, my heart has been feeling barricaded, locked up and completely less than. And when our heart is in a place of feeling rejected, it’s not just an emotion we feel. It’s a message that is sent to the core of who we are, which causes us to believe lies about ourselves, others, and who God is. Oh how I wish we could share this conversation over coffee and realize we are all in this together. Until that day, I hope it blesses you.
I met some of God’s greatest when I was in South Africa. Those friendships have only flourished since we have returned. In a short amount of time, we have been able to see each other for all we are and support one another through life’s ups and downs. I was with some of these people last night and one of them asked me a question I couldn’t seem to answer- “If you could bring back one thing you learned in South Africa, to every day life in Cincinnati, what would it be?” I couldn’t answer. But it wasn’t for a lack of not knowing what to say but knowing I wouldn’t be able to keep it together if I did. My heart was in a place of feeling less than and when those holes are in our hearts, the voices of condemnation, shame and rejection come at you like Peyton Manning’s spiral.
When I went home, I couldn’t stop thinking about that question (Thanks, Jason). I journaled a few thoughts and decided to wake up to a new day with fresh thoughts and an open heart. And, here we are.
Remember the part about my heart feeling locked up? Let me tell you why. God made my heart to fiercely and uncontrollably love people. I literally cannot help it. And it’s not the type of love that our culture “loves.” Which is the butterfly, flirty, easy feelings. No, the love I love is sacrificial. It says, “I have seen the ugly parts of you and I still love you. I’m staying.” It’s ferocious, not emotive. And boy, do I love hard. I have never felt like I needed to apologize for that, until recently. When we feel our every being is called into question, we feel set aside. But what Jason helped me realize with his question is how beautiful and sacred it is when a girl chooses to realize that being set aside is actually God’s calling for her to be set apart.
When I was in South Africa, it was easy to fiercely love on His people. After all, that’s what we were sent there to do. No one questioned it. In fact, if you weren’t abundantly and unconditionally loving on His people, what would be the point? There was a moment in South Africa when my heart was so aligned with Jesus that I could hear Him encourage me to continue to give the best of me. After all, we don’t get to be here long… James 4:14.
So, Jason… if I haven’t answered your question already, here it is:
I want to continue to give every person I meet the best of who I am. What comes with that? Loving how He would- holding nothing back, even if that puts my heart where it is now; rejected, isolated, disappointed. I want to love more than anything and if pain comes with that, I want to accept that as an invitation for God to move and replace my faltering strength with His. When the day comes when I leave here to go Home and my fire is all out, I want to know I held nothing back… that I did not talk myself out of who God called me to be. He is too loving to disregard the heart He gave me.
At the end of the day friends, God created you to be the exact brand of beautiful that you are. I encourage you to choose to love fiercely today and every day after that. And the best part, you don’t have to become anything, especially something that you aren’t. Your heart was made to be with Him. Don’t let the world take from you what He has put in you. Dare to ask Him to take what He has placed in you, and let it overflow, even if that means struggles will come, because they will. The reality of who He created us to be, sometimes doesn’t feel good. But He didn’t say it would feel good… He said it would work for His good.
If your heart is in a place where mine currently is, be brave. Bring it to life and allow people to grace you with His love and truth of who you are . Trust that God doesn’t bring us to these places of deep waters so that we drown- He brings us here because our enemies cannot swim. The enemy is alive and the attacks are real. But God doesn’t bless who we pretend to be. So please, be YOU. Love hard, knowing you could possibly get nothing in return but know that He sees you, loves you harder and that, my friends, is worth it all.
With Grace and Love,