So I revisited these “HEART” posts from my Xanga in 2008, and decided to repost the 3-part series… I wrote this in Feb. 2008, but I swear I could’ve written them last week.
“Take the Shackles off my HEART so I can dance!!!” I know, the song isn’t worded like that, and I took the shackles of my FEET a long time ago (Praise the LORD!), but it was brought to my attention (thanks to my Teacher, Comforter, Leader, Counselor and Guide, the Holy Spirit) that I have shackles on my heart!!! Yes, last week, the Lord really shook me up with His Word, and I haven’t been able to blog about it yet, because it truly sent me reeling. Now, though I will do my best to share with you, and I pray it will speak to you also. I know I am not alone on this one…
“One natural result of constant contact with negative influence is a hard heart. In reality, our hardness of heart is nothing more than a fortress we’ve constructed around a frightened heart. We build layer upon layer of protection to prevent being hurt. Tragically, the same fortress that won’t allow the hurt in- also won’t let the love out. Our fortress of self-protection becomes our prison.” – Beth Moore
What is the constant negative influence in your life? Hard times? Rejection? Downright nastiness from someone? Reality of life? My Counselor took me all the way back to 3rd grade, to when I was alienated by my little group of friends, kicked out of the group so to speak and how terrible I felt about it. I thought about times my expectations weren’t met by those I loved in my teen years and feelings of rejection by those I loved most. And most recently, in the past seven (now nine) years of ministry, how I have seen firsthand how even Christians, can be so incredibly hurtful at times. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am loved by my husband, my kids, family and am blessed with friends! This is not a “woe is me” blog. I am SO incredibly blessed. Yet, I realized, I have built a wall of protection around my heart so that I can say, “YOU CAN’T HURT ME, SO DON’T EVEN TRY! Yup, and on top of that, I’m not gonna even let you get close enough to hurt me… so there! I will block it out, I will not think about what you have done or not done, I will focus on other things…” But the truth of the matter is, it DOES hurt when you are rejected, mocked, insulted, misunderstood, mistreated, ignored, betrayed…
God didn’t ask us not to feel, but He does ask us to let Him be our Fortress! He will walk with us through the pain. His presence may be the only thing going for us at times, but He is enough!
“I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psa. 91:2
“You are my rock and my fortress; You lead and guide me because of Your name.” Psalm 31:3
“He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. He is the Spirit of truth…He remains with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you.” John 14:16-18
“My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Ex. 33:14
I will leave you with an excerpt of my prayer from my journal that day. To me this is a risk, and a real “step out of the boat” because my relationship with God is so intimate and personal, but I feel led to do this and maybe it will encourage you.
“Jesus Christ, You are my Fortress, my Shelter, my Protection. God, soften my hard heart, strip away the protective barriers of my heart so I can feel. Yes, I will feel the hurt, the betrayal, the pain, but I will also be able to love like never before. Help me God, go take the risk to let down my defenses, deal with my fears and resentment in Your presence and glory! I don’t want to be imprisoned any longer. Let me walk this troubled road in Your presence, by Your grace and not in my own fear-coated false strength. God, thank You for showing this to me. Please forgive me for the wall of pride I have built in order to protect myself from pain! Help me to love like never before, take risks, expose the real (sinner, full of faults) me. Help me not to live in paranoia of how something may come back to bite me… it may, but I can run to You and rest in You when it does. I love You! You are amazing!”