We hugged after church and I saw the touch of wet in her eye. More, I saw the longing. Longing to be heard, to be understood, to be held in friendship where hearts touch deeper places. We two have traveled similar paths through life of brokenness, adoption, special needs. She’s smart, pretty, effervescent, articulate, and generous, always greeting with wide smile. Most would never know her behind-the-scenes stress. And sometimes, she just needs to spill her heart to someone who cares enough to listen well. And in the listening, the empathizing, the offering of wise counsel when asked, the weary are refreshed, the running-on-empty are filled. We are filled full because this is how God designed us. He designed us for real relationship.
So why do we settle for less? Why do we settle for superficial news briefs of our lives—the hearing and telling of all—we—are—DOING—and never dig deeper into heart matters—what matters to the heart? Which of these apply?
Bottom line? We’re afraid.
And what might we be afraid of? Here’s a starter list:
All the above shut down the heart fast. When we try to dive deep into heart matters and we encounter any of the above, we clam up tight and stop letting in. We stay inside our shells and won’t let anyone or anything pry us open. And when we remain closed to others, we can’t remain completely open to God. Because God heals through relationship—real heart relationship.
I know the hurt of opening, hoping to find real heart relationship and experiencing everything we’re all afraid of. I’ve been burned by the whole list of “don’ts”, many times. But what’s the alternative?
If I close my heart, I die. It’s that simple.
I either remain open and diligently, prayerfully search for people who can listen and love as Christ, or I shut down and die, bit-by-bit. Because a heart cannot survive and thrive without the relational blood of Christ pumping through—Christ-bearers who will offer Christ-love and Christ-truth in Christ-guided ways over time. And as life-sustaining blood flows both ways in our bodies, so it does in the soul, carrying the good to nourish and cleansing the waste away. As we learn of Christ how to listen and love, we are filled full of His life and we can offer His life to others—the nourishing and the cleansing. And as we learn how to listen and love as Christ, our preconceived and false notions of Christ drop and we begin to see Christ as He is, not as we’ve been wrongly taught through word or deed.
Shall we learn together how to give and receive as Christ?
The cross of Christ goes both ways—horizontal and vertical. We live and have our being because of God and—we need each other in real relationship. Real Christ-like relationship that fills. Real Christ-like relationship fills because when we bring Christ as He really is into our relationships, our heart-longing is filled.
She came over last night and we talked on the terrace surrounded by flowers. We both shared from the heart and listened. There were some tears dropped and tissues offered. We’re both praying for each other’s heart-concerns. And we hugged again, at the end of the day, both feeling lighter, sharing the burden of life with Christ, both being full-filled.