Sometimes my heart decides it’s a good day to pack up and take a hike. My days are so full of good things, but somehow this past year I have slowly found myself moving away from my former agreeable self.

This one particular night, I took my seat on the couch with a cup of coffee in hand and husband across the room. It had been a long few days of not being on the same page. Twenty years of love and doing the hard work of selfless living had gotten the best of us that week. But don’t all relationships go there eventually? Those precious to us are worth the fight.

I did my best to explain the condition of my brutal heart and why I felt like things had changed in me, but it all came out sounding spoiled and needy and lacking hope. I could feel God calling me into question and refining the places I had wondered.

He always has my number.

Have you tried to explain your stress or hurts to someone, and instead of the struggles coming into focus . . . they got messier?

Those stubborn streaks rise within us, and soon the gal who was once walking around graciously, giving her time and energy away, was now running for the hills.

I said some pretty ridiculous sounding statements that night like, “I am upset because there are things I want and need but don’t feel like I have a voice to say it.” I am rarely in high maintenance form. I’m usually a pretty simple, roll with life kind of gal, married to a guy who is as loving, helpful, and intentional as you can find.

Bless his heart.

In his discouraged, yet patient voice he offered, “Like what kinds of things are we talking about?”

I jumped in, “Like guacamole at Chipotle. I really wanted some last week but felt like I couldn’t order it. I mean that’s not what this is about, but it’s been a series of little decisions that I have wanted to make for myself, and I’m just weary of always yielding.”


Maybe it was the turning 40, or just becoming more self-aware that made voicing things I’ve kept to myself in the past sound like a great idea. At this point, I’m offering up all of the silent “heaven help me” petitions I can get out.

Where did my voice go? Why can’t I buy a dress instead of borrow one or leave my closet looking like robbers had ransacked it if I wanted too? It was more self-inflicted frustration than any one else’s doing.

By the time we got to the end of our words, the Spirit began to settle my heart and the word selfishness surfaced again. It always does when we don’t feel up to yielding doesn’t it?

What in the world was going on? My heart hike took me from compliant to complicated. It all hit the ceiling, and I learned in those hard moments of speaking honest and sometimes hurtful words that God doesn’t always bring about immediate change. The journey to making peace with a change of heart can be a steep climb, but from what I know of Jesus, He climbs beside us and carries us when our legs give out.

I am learning at a snail’s pace what yielding looks like and who it is for.

It’s rarely for me, and always for my God. Honestly, it is in the yielding that we find God doing His A+ work.

In the midst of refinement, we can say yes to staying the course. Thank heavens we are never abandoned in our selfishness or self-pity. Jesus helps us deal with inner wars about guacamole and our sometimes needing to put ourselves in front of the line just to feel especially cared for.

Here’s to a year full of walking in change and getting to know ourselves better while yielding to the Spirit and those dearest to us.

Related: Adorn your home or office with this charming printed canvas block that says: “Regardless of what else you put on, wear love.”

  • Jennifer McCormick Wilson

    I love this. I really needed these words right this moment.

    • https://www.nighthowells.wordpress.com Jenny Howell

      Jenn… Thankful I’m not the only one. Your honesty is beautiful. Praying for you today Momma in all you have swirling around. Love, Jen

  • Sarah Naffziger

    Such good, honest truth shared, Jen. Glad to know I am not alone in this struggle. Thank you for helping me to stay the course when my heart is wanting to take a hike too! And thank you for reminding me to embrace the Selfless One when I am needing to get over my selfishness!

    • https://www.nighthowells.wordpress.com Jenny Howell

      Sarah! Thank you for sharing…You know you are never alone in any struggle my friend (especially with all my crazy close by). Appreciate all the ways you help this girl and others stay the course. Eyes up even when we feel conflicted and life gets complicated! Love, Jen

  • https://www.nighthowells.wordpress.com Jenny Howell

    Thank you Sissy. We have a rich story full of all the the ways God has faithfully marched us through lots of change together. Glad I have you. Love you much!

  • https://www.nighthowells.wordpress.com Jenny Howell

    Sissy, Thank you for encouraging me along the way. God has been faithfully present in all our change and I’m spoiled to have such a caring Sister. All 40 years of me loves you much!

  • A

    Thank you for this -it so describes how I feel right now as the Lord is asking me to yield to such deep change that He is working in me. It down right scary, but He is ever the tender sculptor, smoothing all the worn places that are just screaming selfishly in in persevering. Thank you for speaking words that speak to this struggle, that none of us are alone. Praying that He soothes and uplifts all our weary and fighting places today :)

    • https://www.nighthowells.wordpress.com Jenny Howell

      I find myself there often and it can be a rough holding pattern right? Thankfully Jesus awaits our choice to yield and welcomes us even when we don’t love the surrender! He is faithful in our selfish places isn’t he? Blessings over you and your change! Hang in there…hope is always near.

  • Anna Smit

    Jenny, thank you for being so honest and vulnerable. I found myself in a similar but different situation yesterday. I was holding onto anger in a self-righteous way and God brought me to Mathew 6 and the passage about murder and anger…and as I prepared to write about David and hope for my blog, He took me a place I didn’t want to go: showed me how David’s Hope grew in the breaking. I was broken by grief for Hope to be gifted me…and this past year, I’ve been on a journey of having my pride broken…not an easy journey….I’m a slow learner, but there is such freedom and beautiful grace in the letting go and seeking forgiveness.

  • https://www.nighthowells.wordpress.com Jenny Howell

    I get you Shaundra. It’s all about some balance isn’t it?! Take care of others…always, make sure your own soul is cared for… Us Mommas are not so great at that! I’m all in for some quac!

  • http://www.jjsboyland.blogspot.com/ Jessica Dassow

    Sometimes Jen, I could swear we’re related. Thanks for helping me feel “normal”….a work in progress for sure.

    • https://www.nighthowells.wordpress.com Jenny Howell

      Jess, there’s nothing sweeter than looking back and recognizing the process and progress! Thanks for keeping it real and seasoned with grace always.
      Love, Jen

  • Marissa

    Thank you for sharing. I really needed to hear this. God bless!

    • https://www.nighthowells.wordpress.com Jenny Howell

      Marissa, thank you. I’m grateful we can choose hope! Glad I’m not alone in the journey.

  • Catherine

    This is such encouragement, Jen! My heart has been on quite a few long hikes especially during this season of adopting- our Father has gently nudged me back time and again. Thank you for sharing!! What great word pictures you gave! Much love!

    • https://www.nighthowells.wordpress.com Jenny Howell

      Thank you for reading along Catherine! Oh the heart hikes we put so much effort into. You know I get the adoption trail… It is long and steep and can cause all the discouraging feelings right? The Lord is such the perfect trail master. Love your honesty. Love, Jen