Christmas is my favorite season. It is a time to have our hearts (and tummies) filled to overflowing with love and all things good & beautiful. It is also a time to slow down from the busy, busy, busyness of the year – to let the wheels slowly come to a gentle halt, let the engines cool, and get a new commission for a new destination for the year to come. Exciting, beautiful, wonderful time of year. So I am taking time to unplug and fully immerse myself in this season, being fully present and clearing my soul for space for God to pour His plans for 2015. Meanwhile, I want to give another moment of glory to a few favorite posts and share them with you through the month of December. Have a very merry Christmas, and I’ll see you again in the new year!
Sensitive. I have always despised that word with all of my bruise-like-a-peach heart.
I hated that the little nuances of life, and the people it brought with it, had the ability to pierce my heart to its core while leaving others relatively unscathed. To be sensitive was vulnerable, painful, hard work. I was ashamed of my feelings, my sensitivity, and I saw nothing good in them.
As a child, I told myself that feeling too much was too much work – for myself, and for the people around me. I quickly learnt that it was easier and more comfortable for others when I was less emotional, less sensitive, less… me. I tried to emulate others who were blithe and carefree, but failed terribly. So I settled for building a solid shield around my mushy insides that would keep my overflowing heart from making others uncomfortable, and would protect my heart from feeling too much.
There have been days innumerable where I ended up in my room, crying and praying that God would forgive me for feeling too much. Having too many feelings was bad. I was under such a terrible weight of guilt for being too “soul-ish”.
But God has recently showed me that my soul is beautiful. It is not something to be ashamed of, to be pressed down or contained, or to be cured by growing in spirituality. My soul was created by God. It IS spiritual. It is beautiful.
It used to be that my heart would move and sway to almost anything – be it something I witnessed in others, or was experiencing for myself – love, dreams, beauty, the bad, the good, the small and the big stuff. I felt deeply for others, and dreamed deeply for myself.
But I was in a perpetual state of shame that my soul, the core of who I was, was sinful and displeasing to God and therefore had to be shut down. But in doing so, I have found that it is impossible to “feel less”. We either keep our hearts open, or shut it down entirely. A hardened heart will keep getting harder, unless it decides to start allowing life to breath upon it again.
I can choose to let my heart soar and my soul be free to be who I was created to be, even if that may mean some messy/painful/difficult days. Or I can choose to close my heart tightly and wear it like a locket around my neck – a pretty display to be sure, but heavy, inanimate, dead. Either way, there is no sitting on the fence.
But sometimes, we just need a little help to see the light. Alex has played a big part in helping me to see, and accept, the beauty of my soul.
Parts of my soul which I have always kept off-limits because of the shame that they are weak, ugly, and a burden to others, he gently and lovingly coaxes out into the open. And as I stand there trembling, deathly afraid that he will pull back in disdain and smash those vulnerable parts of my heart to pieces, he engulfs me with his arms. There, he just holds me and whispers “I love you” over and over again, until my heart flickers with the hope that maybe he really does.
Every time I allow a little more of my soul to escape, I find it wrapped in Alex’s unconditional love. And those moments of pain and fear lead to a deeper conviction that I am truly loved by him.
And if my earthly husband could love me thus, how much more my God who is perfect Love incarnate?
I am starting to accept the realization – not just a knowing, but a deep knowing – that God takes pleasure in my soul. He created my soul to:
- Love Him fully. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37
- Experience His goodness. Psalm 103
- Hope in Him fully. “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 43:5
- Thirst for Him deeply. “I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.” Psalm 143:6
- Trust Him Wholly. “For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.” Psalm 62:1
- Bless Him. “Bless the Lord, O my soul…” Psalm 103:1
I am tired of feeling numb. I miss the way my heart soars with every celebration and laughter with friends, with beauty, with dreams, with glimpses of eternity. My soul, when I dare peek into the cage where I’ve got it chained, is crying out for a breath of fresh air. For freedom.
For He came to set the captives free. And I was made for freedom
Are there parts of your soul that you’ve not embraced? What would happen if you did embrace those parts of who you are? How can you be a part of someone else’s journey to discovering the beauty of their soul?