All of our Beautiful Hearts

Our hearts are beautiful. At least, that’s what I believed. I saw how the world is intoxicated with apathy, and I wanted more. They turn off the rainy days, the long nights, the emotional strains, the tears that are sparked by sorrow, love, hate, compassion, anxiety.

But they are wrong. The world is marred, and covering up the raw, messy feelings isn’t going to help with healing. Can we just sit, breathe, remember, mourn, hurt? Can we tear open our hearts so that in transparency we expose reality? Because accepting the feelings of heartbreak, disappointment, and hate is better than living in denial. This is what I believed. Until it was my heart that was ripped open. And it was not beautiful at all.

We were sitting across from each other. The words leaked from her mouth:  “I’m disappointed in you.” I sat there and tried to breath. But the implications seeped into my heart and burned so painfully I couldn’t handle it anymore.

I took a walk. There was anger, there. Shooting through my fingers, hot. I wrestled against the unforgiveness that threatened to overtake me. I wanted to find grace, mercy, love—wanted this blazing ache to be soothed in peace. But I couldn’t find it in me. My heart was all dirty unforgiveness. So I asked God to make me His undeserving vessel so His love and grace would pour into me and seep through me, that in my shambles, His heart would reach out to the one who had hurt mine so much.

When I went back, she apologized. She said she could tell she’d hurt me and she hated to see me in pain. It’s just that she had been disappointed in my actions and wished I had acted differently. I winced. Fighting the pain, I forced back the torment of feelings and whirlwind of thoughts that swept over me. I couldn’t let it out or it would bust my heart open. Yet I couldn’t keep it inside.

Out slipped all the words I’d been holding in. And raw, deep, ugly emotions swept out, unbound. Tears stung down my cheeks as I described how deeply it hurt to be told someone was disappointed in me, because the truth is, I tell myself that every day.

I suffer from people-pleasing and perfectionistic tendencies. As I consistently fail to meet my standards, I berate myself for my mistakes—I struggle with showing myself grace every day. And to hear someone else telling me the same exact thing—that I’m not good enough, that there’s no grace—I just couldn’t handle it. It hurt too much. I sat there and sobbed, my body trembling from the force. She sat there and listened. When the tears slowed, she gave me a hug, and apologized again.

The pain had been overwhelming. But there was freedom and vulnerability there in the mangled fragments of my heart. There was beauty, too. The kind of beauty that defines the rough stage between broken and restored. Though I’m damaged and flawed, God has placed His perfect Spirit in me to shine through my mistakes.

So please. I know it hurts. So terribly so. But let your heart get pierced. Be real, be broken. Because it’s at that place where glory abounds. It’s through accepting the condition of our hearts that God’s grace is poured out.

 

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