“If you never want your heart to be broken, if you never want to feel pain, then put your heart in a box and never give it away, not even to a animal.” – C.S. Lewis
I was in a class this weekend & the speaker told a story of him & his dog. He was 8 and that dog was his very best friend. He poured himself into that dog. One day he came home from school and the dog was gone. It had been put to sleep. His family got a new dog, and while he loved that dog, he held it at a bit of distance. Years later the dog ran away. His family eventually got a third dog. He decided he didn’t want to have anything to do with it. He was done with dogs.
As humans we enter relationships and share with people bits and pieces of ourselves. We get to know one another and lay a little piece of our hearts out on the table, cautiously waiting to see how it will be treated. It never fails that at some point the other person involved will step on what we’ve entrusted to them. In our hurt we’ll decide that enough of our heart has been revealed to that person and we’ll refuse to hand over any more pieces. This is how we live, the speaker explained. Then he looked around the room and asked “What’s your dog story? When did you start only sharing pieces of your heart?”
To be an effective anything (mother, wife, Christian, friend, daughter, enter your title here) we must be willing to hand over our whole hearts. We do so knowing that it will be stepped on. And it will hurt. And that’s okay, it won’t kill us. We’ll keep going forward, and each time our heart will be open.
The reason I’m sitting here at almost midnight typing away is because I didn’t realize I needed to start handing out my whole heart until this man looked at me and asked me what my dog story was. I’ll be the first to admit that I am not the most open person. I have intimate relationships with people I love. I have an amazing group of close friends, and a tight knit family, and a husband who is my very best friend and has such a love for me that sometimes it baffles me. I am very blessed, and with these people I share everything. I cry with them and verbally vomit on them time and time again. And maybe b/c I have that I never realized how high of expectations I have with others (those not in the group above). I think I require that I can trust people prior to becoming intimate with them. I think if someone or even something steps on me I pull back and decide to not share any further pieces of my heart. I hold back. I am not effective. Not in the relationship, not in relaying the love of Christ.
I probably have many dog stories. But the biggest would be the day I gave birth to my daughters. They had my whole heart. And after I managed to gather all of the pieces back together I think I began only throwing out little bits when I entered new situations. I was not fully attached to the baby I miscarried at 14 weeks in my 2nd pregnancy. I didn’t give my whole heart. I have entered experiences and situations with a cautious heart, not an expectant heart and it saddens me to think on what I’ve missed out on. What Jason and I face now I’ve vowed time and time again to give it my all. And not until that man looked at me in the room over the weekend did I realize that I wouldn’t. I would give pieces, and it might look like enough, but it’s not. Christ requires more. From now on, I require more. I will enter what faces me with all that I have, and I will hand over my full heart, knowing it will break, and knowing I will survive.
This is how I am beginning. I came home and journaled the following:
1. What’s my dog story?
2. What are instances when I’ve given only pieces of my heart?
3. Is my relationship with God suffering b/c I’m holding parts of my heart back?
4. Where am I afraid to give my whole heart? Situations or circumstances?
5. What tangible things can I do to not hold back my heart?
6. What steps can I take to encourage this new goal? Verses? Accountability?
Over the next few days I’ll be working through these questions. If you have a dog story, I’d encourage you to do the same.