“The world pressures me to make things happen. Now. But when things don’t go as planned,I often try to regain control – by shutting down my heart.”
Bonnie Gray, from her new book, Whispers of Rest
“But when things don’t go as planned, I often try to regain control – by shutting down my heart.”
I think I inwardly wince as I reread those words. Especially the last five ones. It’s Day Seven, entitled Beloved, in the 40 Day devotional book, Whispers of Rest.
I write in my journal, “Do I do this?” and then draw an arrow pointing to the quote I’ve just written down. I don’t really have to think hard about it. I know the answer.
Yes I do.
It’s not the discovery that I do this that bothers me. I know it but can I accept the truth of it? I would prefer to stay in denial. If I accept the truth of it, I need to open my eyes to where I shut down in my life. Where I am trying to do or strive, that it costs me my heart.
We do = we count. At least that’s what it feels like. If we aren’t doing something, what’s wrong with us? The world tells us we are lazy. We are stupid. We don’t matter. I need to contribute to be a part of acceptable society. To do so, I shut down my heart, so I can get my To Do list done. The cost is a cold hard heart.
If I don’t feel, I can’t get hurt. At least that’s what I tell myself. If I don’t allow my heart to get involved I believe the lie that I can control the situation or the people. Maybe more importantly I am telling myself that if I shut down my heart and emotions, I can control myself. Escape unscathed.
But that’s not the point, is it?
Further on in Day Seven, Bonnie writes; “Jesus didn’t shut down his heart. He opened his heart to love and brokenness, so that he could one day make your heart his home. Your story is his story.”
What would it look like to open my heart to love and brokenness instead of shutting it down? I write in my journal.
Jesus lovingly turns to us in our brokenness and mess. He meets us right there. He invites us to a life of healing, hope and wholeness in Him. What if we turned to those around us, in our own circles, in love? Instead of turning away from their brokenness, their mess, we turned to it? What if we turned away from productivity that the world clamours for and instead turned to people? To ourselves?
- Maybe we would be more open to getting our hands dirty in the messiness of life because we don’t have a To Do list to check off.
- Maybe we would be more willing to stop and really listen to someone instead of thinking of what we need to do next or look at our watches, thinking that time is slipping away.
- Maybe we would comfort more rather than scold.
- Maybe we would be a better spouse and parent because we are engaged in the moment.
- Maybe we would shed the chains of what we think is control and instead experience the freedom of actually living life. Experiencing both the ups and downs instead of trying to control them.
- Maybe we would let ourselves off the hook.
- Maybe we would turn our hearts back on. Maybe we would accept the love that is offered to us by the One who never turned away from us even in our mess.
Life might actually look radically different.
It’s so much easier to shut down. No doubt about it. But we miss out on the abundant life if we do. We may have our list all checked off but in the end what does that do for us? Nothing. It’s lifeless and cold.
We don’t have to prove anything. We don’t need to produce any worldly thing. We just need to be loved. Beloved. See that? Be Loved = Beloved. Louie Giglio points out that little word play in his book, I am Not but I know I Am. You just have to be loved to be the beloved.
“Before Jesus performed a single miracle, he was already beloved.” Bonnie writes. God loved His Son. He loves us too. Because I am beloved, I can open my heart instead of shutting it down. I can share the love that God gave me.
I have had the pleasure of being on the launch team for Bonnie Gray’s new book, Whispers of Rest. It’s a 40 day devotional that invites you to rest in God.
I have really enjoyed the invitation to rest and go deeper with God in those periods of stillness that this book offers to each reader. It releases today. You can find it here at http://www.whispersofrest.com