My parents always told me I wore my heart on my sleeve. And I’ve often been tenderly teased by my friends for being too sensitive. Both are true descriptions of the way God has made me.
I do wear my heart on my sleeve and I am super sensitive.
I feel deeply for those I love. I ache over situations I can’t fix. I long to bring restoration and joy back into the lives of those broken. Can you relate?
And yet, I’m not the Savior. I’m not the Redeemer. I’m not the Restorer.
I know who is. Jesus, My Lord.
So why do I forget to run to Him and lay my weary burdens at the cross?
Instead, I start cleaning. And folding clothes. And running the vacuum. And barking orders at the kids to clean up their rooms, when only a few days ago I walked into the same disaster and it didn’t bother me one iota. I gripe at my husband for working too many hours. I moan about the unfairness of all that is on my plate. I hone in on imperfections in myself and strive to fix ’em up real quick. I pull a sharp-tongued lecture out of my back pocket, shocking the kids with a reprimand they never saw coming.
Yes, when I can’t figure out how to deal with my hurting heart, I fall into “fix-everything-else” mode. Sure, there’s the perk of a clean house, but is it worth it if I’ve made a mess of every relationship in the process?
When we bury our emotions deep into our hearts, all those stuffed-down feelings become fodder for short-fused ugliness.
I used to think that if I just let my emotions out, I’d feel better. Yes, talking is good. I’m a huge advocate of counseling, especially when the pain is personal, debilitating, or traumatic in any way. As a life coach working with women from all over the world, I’ve seen the incredible power of processing through obstacles out loud to find clarity and solutions. Throughout Scripture we see God urging us to speak our concerns and confess sins to one another and to Him. Isn’t that what the Psalmist does in the longest book in the Bible?
Psalm 141:1-2 NLT
O Lord, I am calling to you. Please hurry!
Listen when I cry to you for help!
Accept my prayer as incense offered to you,
and my upraised hands as an evening offering.
But talking to a counselor and opening up to God is different than talking to just anyone, anywhere. For a heart-sleeve-wearer, it’s taken me years to figure that out. If someone asked how I was doing, I’d really answer — regardless of the depth of the relationship and the circumstance. Yes, that’s a problem!
When I first started blogging, I’d share every bit of the story in order to help process through the pain. But back then, if you can you remember the days before Facebook and Twitter, my posts somewhat private. No one knew me or the people in my life, so it was a safe outlet. But now, if I’d write about what’s going on behind the screen in my life now, I’m sure I’d betray the hearts of those I deeply love.
Often the things that make me sad are not my story to tell.
I’ve had to learn to process my pain in a new way that is more private than my nature! Oh mercy, it has been a journey for this heart-sleeve girl. But private also invites quiet. And quietness before God makes room for Him to speak truth to my soul as I watch Him work in a way that I never noticed before.
God sees our hearts. He knows our pain. And He is more than able to carry it in a way that brings about beauty.
So for us heart-sleeve-wearing-girls, there is an alternative to walking around, bleeding all over everyone. We can retreat into the Redeemer’s arms and lay our worries and concerns before Him.
[clickToTweet tweet=”God longs for us to depend more and more on Him rather than see us fix everyone’s problems.” quote=”God longs for us to depend more and more on Him rather than see us fix everyone’s problems.”]
He’s eager for us to take that sensitive soul He made so fearfully and wonderfully, and use it as we become women of prayer, inviting Him to do His work beautifully in His timing.
*A version of this post was originally published
at TheBetterMom.com and ElisaPulliam.com.