If Your Heart is Callused.
I was casually scrolling through Instagram. Liking pictures mindlessly and then I saw it. An image that shook me, literally. I felt like I was spinning and I felt like I was going to throw up. I can’t quite describe the feeling, but it was one of the worst ones I’ve ever felt in my life. I immediately knew I needed fresh air. I needed a walk. I grabbed my pup and took her for a walk. As soon as I was alone, I started hyperventilating. Every breath was a struggle, and my chest was on fire while tears just flowed uncontrollably from my eyes. I couldn’t understand my thoughts because they were firing off so fast. It was at that moment everything I had placed hope in for weeks was crushed. This crushing was brutal. I’ve never experienced that before. I honestly didn’t know what to do. I felt low and dark. I realized I had a panic attack. I called my brother, and I just poured it out, everything up until that point. It made me feel an ounce better, but my nausea didn’t leave. I went to bed sick and woke up feeling the same way. I got to work the next day and couldn’t eat. I just remember going through the motions. My face felt neutral. One of my students asked me if I was okay and I ran to the bathroom and tears just began to pour. I tried to control myself, but I didn’t have any power. I was working so very hard to not acknowledge my pain or what was happening. I wanted to keep it tightly hidden inside me. I didn’t want to feel it. Didn’t want to see it. I'm not afraid to admit that I am sensitive and that my heart is soft. But this was a hurt I had not ever experienced before, and it shocked my gentle heart causing it to harden. Calluses are interesting. In the world of weightlifting, they symbolize hard work and dedication. I'm actually proud of mine. Calluses develop on wounds. They often appear tough. Hard and rough. Experts recommend that you soak your hands for 20-30 minutes to soften your skin, then you slowly remove the calluses using a gentle grater. But if they’re pulled on too much or irritated, they’ll rip. They’ll bleed. The heart can develop callouses. Hurt after hurt, disappointment after disappointment. If someone experiences too much pain, then their heart is going to protect itself and grow cold and numb. It is effortless to withdraw, to block out everyone who cares and retreat into yourself. Pain can cause you or I to sprint away from joy and light. We don't want to feel our pain or acknowledge that we are hurt. Our pride is bruised, and the last thing we want to do is let someone know they actually caused us pain. Because we're super invincible and it didn't matter anyway, so how can there be hurt? But the hurt is there, and it causes a callus over the heart. If you're not careful, your heart can become impenetrable. Unfortunately, my heart developed calluses. My calluses caused me to treat my family, friends, student, coworkers, and more importantly myself in an entirely unloving manner. I don’t want my heart to callus. I don’t want to be cold. I don’t want to be untrusting. So I began the removal process. I acknowledged my feelings. Removing calluses from the heart is not as easy as soaking your hands and gently scrubbing your skin. Now, as I move through this process of confessing and sharing and acknowledging my pain, the calluses rip and hurt and bleed, but it’s a relief. The beginning is never easy, and it can take your breath, but freedom and release follow. I'm reminded that my heart is alive and beating. I have too much to give and too much to share to be held back by a dead heart. And this is where the enemy wants me to stay. Callused. Not feeling. Numb. Stuck in my thoughts. But I refuse to be defined by one situation or any situation for that matter. With my beating, alive heart, I want to love all people recklessly. I want to BE love ( shout out to Bob Goff). Life is far too short and precious to not feel. Jesus felt the ultimate hurt and made the ultimate sacrifice, and I will follow that example with ALL that I can. All My Love,