I used to be terrified of my heart. My head and I were great friends. I could research and learn and file facts away and lean on them when I didn’t know what to do or think or say. But my heart… my heart was deep water that I was scared to dive into.
The question “what do you think” was one I welcomed. I could tell you what I thought about a million things. But “what do you feel?” that was a completely different story. I didn’t know what I felt, and even if I figured out what I felt I didn’t understand why I felt what I was feeling, much less what do to with those feelings.
So, I avoided my heart at all costs, substituting facts and data for feelings and passion. I’d spend hours researching what the Bible had to say about a topic, and never even think to ask God how the truth of what I was learning applied to my heart and life. It was just easier that way. Easier… but harder too.
Feelings are scary things. Especially when you’ve spent years stuffing your emotions in a closet and bolting the door shut.
A friend of mine who is a trauma therapy counselor told me once that you can’t isolate which emotions you shut down. If you shut down fear then you also shut down surprise. If you shut down sadness then you also shut down joy. In an effort to protect ourselves from the pain of emotion we rob ourselves of the joy of emotion. For years it was a trade I was willing to make. I’d rather feel nothing than feel anger, or fear, or despair. So that’s just what I did. Avoided my heart like the plague. Because my heart was terrifying.
I’m still a girl that leans towards the logical. I still love diving deep and finding out what a word means in the original Greek or Hebrew. But I’m learning that God wants us to have unity between our heads and our hearts, not division. There doesn’t have to a war between the two with clear winners of every battle. (Unless our hearts are leading us to sin, then go with your head. Trust me on that one!)
Years ago I started asking God to help me understand the disconnect between my heart and my head. I still don’t know that I understand why I lived so many years disconnected from my heart, but I do know that it’s not the best way to live. If I’m created in God’s image then doesn’t it stand to reason that my heart and my emotions are part of His plan for me? Maybe I should quit running from my heart and emotions and start learning to understand them, and listen to God through them.
I still don’t have my heart figured out. I honestly don’t know that I ever will. But I’m not terrified of my heart anymore. When I feel something (whether it’s good, bad, or ugly) I’m learning to bring those feelings to God, and sit with Him in the emotions and ask Him to show me why I’m feeling the way I feel and what I should do with those feelings. It’s amazing to me how a simply whispered prayer of “God I’m feeling really ________ right now, what’s going on with my heart?” can change your perspective on everything. Because He’s the only one that truly understands our hearts. And He can be trusted to reveal truth to us. If we’ll be brave enough to let Him.
If you’re struggling to connect with your heart, maybe this will help get you started!