We are into February (already!), probably reassessing the resolutions we made a month ago, and headed towards Valentine’s Day. So, I am taking this opportunity to check in on my heart health.
I want to admit up front (while fighting back some old shame) that for the first three to four decades of adulthood I did not believe that my heart was worth protecting, let alone pursuing.
I was living under a misconception formed during my childhood that I was here (created) to be sacrificed for the agenda of others, and responsible for...well, for everything and everyone around me.
So, it is a relatively new thought (in the last 8 years) for me to talk about valuing, protecting, pursuing my heart. Initially that meant learning to say no to the lie and turn towards the truth of who God said I am: valued, worthy to be loved and protected, having a divine destiny, called His Beloved. That translated into spending several years where my mantra was:
My healing is in my ‘no.’
When what was being asked of me or put upon me resembled that old image of me being sacrificed and held responsible, I had to resist the ingrained brain response to fall in line with that misconception. God was planting His image of me into my heart even as the Gardener of my soul lovingly pulled out all the weeds by the roots.
I had to disown the false identity to make room for my true identity, and then allow it to take root in me – all impossible feats, in my opinion and experience, without the transforming power of God at work. Willpower will fail re: creating true lasting change.
This process I am describing – moving from old to new, false to true - brings to mind my graphic illustration of the broader process of transformation: The Transformation Arrow. I firmly believe as Christ-followers we should all be somewhere on that arrow, moving from old/false self, to new/true self at every point of our journey.
When we move from the left over to the right (from old response to new response) re: some particular false-self habit or pattern, we are then ready to cooperate with God on a new ray of light He will bring into our awareness – something else that is holding us back from living freely as who God created us to be. And that will put us squarely back to the first step on the left again: Connecting with God re: the change He is inviting us into. And so the journey of transformation goes...and continues as long as we are willing.
The cataclysmic event that shot me onto the Arrow this round was the month I spent living in the possibility that I had advanced cancer running around in my chest. The level of powerlessness I felt while waiting for the verdict stripped me of my can-do T3’ness, my positive attitude...my hope in a future.
And as an Enneagram Type 3, my imbued purpose and gift is to bring divine HOPE into my spheres of influence. Wow, talk about irony! But God...He is always working at multiple levels in unseen, incomprehensible ways!
I believe my very scary low drained me of my self-reliance and caused me to question my self-protection like no other single event in my journey had.
Then, somewhere during the excruciating waiting, I posed this coaching question to myself:
How would I live differently if I knew my race was shortened?
What came up for me, over and over, was the awakening of: I can’t spend my days stepping away from opportunities, playing defense, shrinking back in safe silence!
And so, in the days following, I watched myself move through “Connect w/ God” to “Surrender” ...and landed on “The Point of No Return”!
What I heard in my spirit was “Your healing will now be in your ‘yes’, Beloved! Your true identity is now grounded in you. You don’t need that wall of self-protection. I am your Protector.”
I am so energized by the opportunities I am now stepping into instead of away from, playing offense instead of defense, bringing my unique voice and perspective to situations instead of shrinking back in silence. Ahh...Now that’s living!
The opportunities that come into our lives on a daily basis are never-ending – from our interactions with clerks and baggers at the grocery store, to offering empathetic support to those who are in one of those excruciating times of awaiting an answer, a recovery, a second chance.
Each of us has something unique to offer, something I describe as ‘the thing you can’t not do.’ It’s what naturally flows from your veins, your superpower! No one can bring exactly what you can to this hurting world, or to your next-door neighbor.
My desire is to keep offering what I can’t not do – encourage, bring hope – wherever He takes me, with whomever He crosses my path. It’s (still) where I find Life.
And I’m cheering you on to do likewise...
Take inventory of your no’s and yeses. Where might be a ‘no’ that you could turn into a ‘yes’? You only need to offer what is already in your hand, what comes easy for you.
I can attest to: There is true Life to be found when we are living out our God-given identity.
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Blessed to play a part ~