Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Day in the Heart

Have you ever thought about all you put your heart through on any given day? I thought about this on a recent day that was shaping up to be just one of those long days.

It started at five in the morning when I put my heart on the line. I did something I don't normally do and let my heart want something. Painfully so. And I took the hard step of swallowing my pride, swallowing my quiet side, and shooting a correspondence asking for help in getting it. Not knowing if the person I asked would say yes, would say no, would understand what this meant to be, would be able even to help. But I let myself want something, and want it out loud, and in doing so, I had to put my heart on the line and go after it.

A couple of hours later, I put my heart in my hands and tackled some car repair work. Now, you might not think this has anything at all to do with my heart, but you'd be wrong. For me, something like this is daring to be a strong woman. It's daring to try. It's taking a risk. My heart is fully engaged when my hands are, no matter what I'm doing (if I'm doing it right). Yes, I was working on something mechanical but in the couple hours that this work took, I was also thinking about what it means to be strong. What it means to be capable. What it means to be both willing and able. This was no light work.

And then, of course, I put my heart in my network. I hate to use such a word, but there's not really a better one. I spent some time reflecting on the people who have come beside me to make me possible. To make my life possible. To make my growth possible. Working on my car, I was up at my uncle's house. He's a mechanic in the National Guard and volunteered his time to help me make sure we were doing this right. Sometimes, it's really weird to me that I'm the kind of person that other people help. There's probably a story behind that. But after a morning like that morning, I was thinking about all of those people who have helped me in one way or another. And connecting my heart to my network. You might say, to my community.

Only moments later, I was stuck in the midst of weekly grocery shopping. Not a heart exercise? Think again. It's a constant battle for me between the money I don't have and the refrigerator I'd like to fill. I budget extensively, but the grocery for me always becomes the tension between the budget and the belly. Between getting what I can afford and knowing there are the smallest of ways to go above and beyond and love my family. Yes, this item is on my list. No, this one is not, but it might be worth the smile anyway. And oh, yeah, that thing broke yesterday and I hadn't worked it in but we can't really wait. The grocery is a place where I work on releasing my heart from my own legalism and allow for grace and graciousness. It tends to work out.

A little bit of downtime during which the last song on K-Love was playing on repeat in my head, and then it was off to a birthday party! My beloved nephew turned 3 this week, and we celebrated family-style. If you have family, any family at all, you know what a heart experience this can be. Loving people. Enveloping stories. Developing stories. Sharing space and time and making memories. Trying, as best you can, to get out of all that heart stuff and head stuff and life stuff so you can just love people, which is an exercise of the heart. Choosing to be present to the moment.

The party ran later than it usually does for me, so after a long day of socializing and investment of the heart, I was finally home to relax for a little. And you know? I found that I was thankful for the day but also empty. Exhausted. Needing....something, but what? And you know? The answer was food for the heart. I needed some worship. Some music. Some quiet space. (Yes, quiet space can include music.) It became about recharging and reconnecting. I woke up almost laughing about the gymnastics I would put my heart through on that given day, and this is a true story. This is a real day that I recently lived, with all the "little" stuff weeded out. Little stuff like baking a gift for my secret sister at church - another exercise of love, and therefore, the heart. Little stuff like my morning devotional time - an early engagement of the heart. Little stuff like taking the new puppy for a walk. And a run. And another walk. (She's part-Husky, ok? I guess I'm an exerciser now!) All the little stuff I have to be present to in any given day. 

And I ended that day not thinking about what I'd put my heart through, but feeling it. Feeling the ache of a heart trying to adjust. Feeling the stinging emptiness of a hunger to be filled back up. 

As it should be, of course. We are only filled up to be poured out to be filled once again. I firmly believe that. I just, for some reason, have never really thought about it until a day like this one. And then I was keenly aware.

This isn't just my life. This is yours, too. It's why God made our hearts so strong, even when on a day like today, they feel so fragile. It's a tender strength. It's beautiful.

Have you thought about what your heart goes through on any given day? Have you thought about what you put it through?

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