Sometimes the world can make you feel small. It can be a crowded place with so many voices. Loud. Insistent that you have to show something for who you are and what you have to offer. What you hold in your heart — faith, hope, and love — can feel inadequate.
As you see what others are offering, you may be tempted to put your hopes and dreams back in your pocket and close the door of your heart to the possibility of who you really are.
Don’t listen to those voices. Step closer to the one Voice who knows you, who created you with all you are. He knows what you’ve been through. Let His complete understanding and love wash over you.
Listen to the One who saw you the very moment you were born. When you broke into this world, helpless, eyes shut, fingers balled up in trembling fists, lungs blaring with hungry cries, God saw you and loved you completely.
You are exactly the way God dreamed of you when He made you lovingly. You are still that same beloved. When He looks straight into the deep places within you, God sees the real you.
Jesus whispers, Lean into me. He says, Yes, beloved.
Yes, I still love you.
Yes, your idea is still good — very good.
Yes, I will help you.
Yes, I know it feels hard.
But just look into My gaze.
Feel my hand in yours.
Yes, we can do it together.
For me, saying yes means picking up my pen to journal because it is tempting to just stay quiet and ignore my heart and what’s really going inside, to stop hiding my heart and allow the words from my heart to flow. Have you noticed that if you start writing, your words will lead you somewhere you didn’t expect them to go?
Even though my heart always came alive whenever I wrote in my journal as a little girl, I stopped journaling after college. I wrote papers as a college student and for work as a high-tech professional. But I forgot about words, the ones in my heart. I didn’t think it was important to talk about what was happening and how I felt. What would be the point? I told myself.
So now when my heart feels stuck, I can fall into that old pattern of hiding my heart. I do something that seems insignificant: I stop writing. I stop journaling. I tell myself whatever hard things I’m going through isn’t that important, because if I just push through, I’ll be fine. But emotional honesty and intimacy are important to God. He cares about how we feel. He cares about our losses, hopes, and dreams.
Every time I hide my heart, that light in me that once sparkled as I poured my heart out to God as a little girl begins to dim, because God doesn’t speak through a disconnected heart. I lose the ability to feel honestly and express my soul to God. By losing touch with the moments that brings me loneliness and pain, I also extinguish the ones that spark joy, passion, and hope.
Whenever we hide, shame like walls of stone separate us from the childlike spirit and curiosity God uniquely created in you and me. It is in the intimate spaces of your story that God becomes real in your heart.
Journaling – putting words to paper – is a live conversation where you allow Jesus to step into your inner world. Journaling is prayer that says, “Yes, Lord. This is where I am. I’m letting you in.”
When Jesus says, “Come to me, you who are weary and heavy-burden, and I will give you rest,” (Matthew 11:28 NASB), journaling is a powerful way to intimately experience rest and to come to Him.
“Dear Jesus, I’ve been quiet about this . . . ” I often start my journaling with this prompt when my heart feels stuck, and it frees my heart. I know it will help you begin too! Try it. Let it flow!
In my journey to heal from a season of anxiety, I began prioritizing my well-being by creating small pockets of rest and practicing soul care. It was like speaking a foreign language at first. But journaling returned to being my safe place, slowing me down as my words flow into a living prayer as I confide in Jesus, as friend to friend.
I love finding scientific studies to encourage my soul care. Research shows the power of writing your personal story lowers anxiety, leads to behavioral changes, and improves happiness. Just ten to fifteen minutes of expressive writing makes a difference! And it doesn’t have to be daily. Even writing just once every two to three months works!
So, don’t hide your heart. Hear Jesus tenderly whisper, Lean into Me. Say yes. You are loved, and open your heart.
Do you like to journal? What practice helps you open your heart to God instead of hiding it?
Is God calling you to say yes to something?
For more encouragement to lean into God’s love, read Bonnie’s bestselling 40-days of rest book Whispers of Rest and Sign Up Here for Bonnie’s FREE soul care newsletter and download 24 Rest Ideas today!
Bonnie Gray is the author of Sweet Like Jasmine, Whispers of Rest, wife, and mom to two boys. An inspirational speaker featured by Relevant Magazine and Christianity Today, she’s guided thousands to detox stress and experience God’s love through soul care, encouragement, and prayer. She loves refreshing your soul at...