If you’re anything like me, I love a good “heartstring-tugging” story. It’s a good one if it taps into my emotions and maybe makes me cry a little. Why?
Because it’s how life goes. I can relate. I can engage. I can empathise.
When I write, I get more feedback on posts that stir emotion – the relatable ones. And maybe, sometimes, we all need a good cry. Maybe, sometimes, we all need an empathiser, someone who gets it. Because then, from our small little space, we have found community in the heart of another.
Often in life, we hit rumble strips – sometimes daily. Times in the day or week where a plan had to be tweaked; something wasn’t checked off the to-do list; a moment that we lost our composure and let a spiteful word escape to our spouse or lost our temper with our kids.
Then there are days, weeks or even months where we collide with something, someone or even ourselves and our lives stop. The dust accumulates, the dishes stack higher in the sink, dinner is late or takeaways are ordered and we have to scratch through the mountain of unfolded washing to find clean underwear.
You know in my house, if there is chaos on the outside, it’s a reflection of the chaos of my heart and mind.
You didn’t want to see my house last week!
It’s a long story and not one to share but know that I crashed last week. And I had to climb out of the mess and assess the damage. As I sat surveying the carnage in my head, I had to sift through the thoughts and emotions and figure out what needed to be salvaged and what needed to go to the scrapyard.
I collided with my pride. My anger. My hurt. My lack of forgiveness. And, worst of all, my faults.
It had come to a head. I had no choice to keep ignoring the problem, hoping it would go away. It was weakening parts of me and caused me to crash. I had to deal with the root, rather, the heart of the problem.
I was the embittered one. I was the one who had chosen to sit in the rot of a resentful heart. I was the one who chose a self-righteous position. And I crashed. This is not easy to write because I want to justify myself. But I also know that it won’t help to cover the truth. I may as well be the one to say it.
While dealing with myself last week, I found myself hearing other things. Things I didn’t want to hear. Things I’ve been afraid of hearing. Things that I was scared were true.
As an adult, I have become a cynic – a glass half-empty kind of person. I see the bad and not the good. It’s too cold, too hard, too much, too everything. I’ve earned the label “Drama Queen” and once that is what you’re called in the recesses of someone’s mind, it’s a hard label to lose.
I also obsess about things. Things turn over and over and over in my mind. And sometimes, they just do not go away. Unfortunately for me, I also wear my heart on my sleeve. And I talk. A lot! I also have strong opinions. A horrible, nasty, judgy personality. None of these combine well to make a pleasant person.
I have come to realise others are at my mercy. What they have come to know is someone who is a drain, a pain and an exhausting person to be around. They have to listen to me blab, in a condescending way, about the choices of others. They hear the same thing, all the time because I don’t stop talking, sharing what is on my heart and mind. They see someone who is stubborn, self-righteous and pessimistic and someone who doesn’t stop jabbering about it and herself.
Sometimes we cover up our faults, toss them in the corner or put them in a box and sit on it, determined they won’t escape to a place where we can dwell on them.
Sometimes it takes more than just self-realisation to discover your faults. Sometimes it takes someone pointing them out to you. In my case, I had that happen to me a couple of times last week. And it was sobering. Hurtful, yes. But they were not trying to hurt me but rather to hone me. To shape me. And to refine me.
When we look at at ourselves through the eyes of others, we gain insight. Maybe we thought we were terrible in some ways and our fears are put to rest. Maybe we had an inflated idea of how amazing we thought we were. Or, like me, maybe we have been hiding the truths from ourselves, hoping we don’t have to deal with them.
I was reminded of the verse,
“Wounds from a friend can be trusted,
but an enemy multiplies kisses.”
I had to take a good, long look at myself to realise that I didn’t like who I had become. And who I had been for a long time. It was hard. There was a part of me that wanted to retreat. Hide away. Because if people found me tiring and exhausting to be around, then I could “protect” myself by staying away. I could wallow in self-pity. I could smother my feelings with tea and social media.
Or, I could do the only thing I could do.
I am not sure how. I know that there has to be vulnerability. Apologies need to be made. I need to say those difficult words – “I’m sorry.” And then I need to bite my tongue. Keep quiet about my judgements, my obsessive fears and my negative thoughts. I need to take captive every unhelpful thought that tries to take root. And I need to act in a less selfish way. Above all, I need to lean into God, drawing my strength to transform from Him.
We all know what a refining process does. It removes the impurities to create a pure form of something. And that’s what trials, positive and negative criticism and the like do. They shape us; mould us; refine us. If I chose to put a wall, try to defend myself and justify my actions, it would be like pushing a button and turning off the machines. The impurities would still be sitting dormant and unchecked in my heart. Not admitting fault, becoming defensive, refusing to see the truth would halt the refining process and would “stop” God working with my heart to make me more Christlike. Instead, manning-up, taking it on the chin and seeking change will continue to refine my imperfect heart. Choosing to weed out the impurities means to be more godly and less self-seeking.
So here is my story. It’s filled with good but it’s also filled with tears, emotion and hardships. It’s relatable. It’s good. It’s tough. But I know I am not alone. I know you can cry with me. Because we all have a story to share.
Photo Credit: PixabayTags: anger, change, crash, emotion, faults, fire, forgiveness, friends, godly, hardships, new, old, refine