“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word,
a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring,
all of which have the potential
to turn a life around.”
Recently I admitted having thin skin.
On one hand I am Steel Magnolia, resilient and strong and confident. But the tiniest of daggers can pierce skin’s shield and impale my heart. Pieces shatter, blood flows, wounds seep. In that moment I take my eyes off Christ and I forget who I am.
No…I forget Whose I am.
Our hearts are fragile, aren’t they? God gave us new hearts, hearts of flesh to replace the stony hearts we had before we met Him; a place His spirit could reside, so Christ could live in and through us.
I searched the word “heart” on Biblegateway and it returned 805 verses (NASB). This leaves little doubt to the heart’s importance based on Scripture’s pure repetition alone. Many were familiar references to the hardening of the heart and to its evil inclination, but also your heart:
- is an indicator of what you value. (Matthew 6:21)
- can be jealous and selfish (James 3:14)
- reflects what you think and believe (Matthew 12:34)
- empowers us to do the will of God (Ephesians 6:6)
- holds memory and affection (Luke 2:19)
- grieves (Romans 9:2)
- must be guarded (Luke 21:34)
- may be encouraged (Colossians 2:2)
- rejoices (John 16:22)
- is known by God (Acts 15:8)
- is cleansed by faith (Acts 15:9)
- can be broken by the actions or words of others (Acts 21:31)
(and this is just a sampling of the more exhaustive list I’m pondering…!)
But how can we know if we don’t read His word? And how can we hear ~ truly hear ~ if we’re reading out of compulsion or obligation?
With the turn of a new year, many of us claimed a word (or received them as a God-gift) as a banner for these 366 days in 2012. As much as I’m anticipating adventure, though…a question dogged me leading up to the new year–
What if on 12/31/12, I had spent the 365 days leading up to it reading Scripture daily, devotionally…passionately…relationally…?
Less than two months into daily reading, I’m better at the “daily” part of that question than the descriptors that come after; regardless, here’s the remarkable discovery:
What once would have splintered my heart is now seen through Spirit eyes.
Though I might still feel the impact of pointy daggers, their sting is softened by considering how God might be using each circumstance to
- renew my mind and transform my heart (Romans 12:2)
- consider others more highly than I do myself. (Philippians 2:3)
If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. ~ Romans 12:18
There have been several instances recently where I’ve been hurt by the words or actions of others. My earnest desire has been to restore relationship, to seek peace above my need to be right, to love when I didn’t even like, to honor the Lord with my actions. I’ve recognized changes God wanted to accomplish in my life by shedding light on hard truths delivered by the mouths of others; I’ve also had compassion where I could have easily harbored bitterness, understanding that sometimes harsh words are a result of the other party speaking from a wounded position–
Evidences of renewed mind and transformed heart!
This pursuit to know God more intimately ~ devotionally, passionately, relationally ~ is driving me to know him more intimately! Does this make sense? As I see myself changing and responding differently, my faith is growing, joy is rising, hope is strengthened..even for this child who doubts!
Thinking back on Buscaglia’s quote at the beginning of this post, I can see where it’s not just about reacting differently to the things that break my heart; it’s seeking out those who are hurting and then ministering Small Graces:
a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear,
an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring…
Once again, God’s mysterious ways confound me!
A broken heart, though painful, isn’t bad.
In fact, He desires contrition, a broken spirit. Maybe it is only in our brokenness and desperation that we’re willing and able to surrender in order to be renewed and changed.
Has your heart been wounded and broken by others? Are you yet able to see how God is using this (ultimately) for your good and His glory? Tell me your stories, lovies–I want to celebrate your renewal and transformation; let us pray for you to have wisdom and spiritual insight to see ALL God has for YOU if you aren’t yet beyond the pain.
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