I had to admit to myself one morning that the emotional side of relationship is sometimes hard for me.
I’ve known it for years.
It’s shown up in so many ways.
But I still like to think that I can be emotionally “in tune”.
I saw it when I started dating my now husband.
I’ve seen it in the tender and vulnerable moments of my marriage.
I see it in friendships and relationships everyday.
…I’m afraid of being open emotionally.
Because when you open yourself up to someone emotionally, they can hurt you in the most painful of ways. But to truly love and care for someone, you must open your heart.
I must open my heart to my husband if I ever expect him to win it.
I must open my heart to God if I ever expect Him to fill it.
I must open my heart to the lost if I ever expect to seek them.
I must open my heart to my friends if I ever expect deep community with them.
And my husband regularly reminds me, “Remember Love: thick skin and tender heart.”
In ministry and in life, I so quickly tend towards thin skin and a hard heart. And if I head into all my earthly relationships that way, what makes me think it will be any different when I approach God?
I’ve struggled so much feeling distant from God. But as I’ve explored my heart on deeper levels, I’ve realized that it’s not Him…it’s me.
I’m afraid of being hurt.
I’m afraid of God sending a trial my way.
I’m afraid of allowing my heart to be tender toward others and so my habit of hard-heartedness has affected my walk with God.
“If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.”
1 John 4:20
And sometimes it’s been as simple as that. My relationship with God has been held back by my refusal to love my brothers.
I don’t want to have a habit of hard-heartedness anymore. And I know the One who can make hard hearts soft.
So I’m praying for a habit soft heartedness…toward God and others. Because whatever my reasons and fears keeping me from living with a sheltered heart, I have a God who is greater. He is worth the risk, and although others might let me down and hurt my heart, He never will.
He will hold my heart.
He will heal my heart.
He will soften my heart.
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Love that saying, thick skin & tender heart. So good!