Perfect love casts out fear. -1 John 4:19
“Keep holding out your heart,” You say to me. As if this suggestion will suddenly solve all the pain I’ve worked so hard to ease.
To hang my heart suspended, open, revealed and flesh tender offers it up for continuous misalignment? Not what I have wanted. We have come so far for me to retreat and hide away the core of me, though what You are calling me to is not easy.
To tell the truth, it’s excruciating. To give of my love when it is not returned in the way I desire, to gently encourage another, see them through their own difficulties, when my heart breaks every day because I’ve asked from the start how could it ever end without a battered heart? But I bleed, again and again, for the sake of Your perfect love casting out the fear to flee.
Yet how long, O Lord, will You call me to this constant exposure, this continual brokenness as I bare my soul for the sake of another?
You still hover, motionless, in pause. I still wait, pensive, willing Your move.
How the wait hurts. When there is nothing I can do, simply sit with heart throbbing, worn from its unraveling. The old me has been razed to the ground, leveled, pitched into an abyss. I am not who I was when I said yes to this life, however reluctantly, unaware of the fight and burns that lay ahead.
But I have been as brave as I’ve dared, searching my scorched spaces and staying in the discomfort, digging in to the secrets of my heart and bringing my fears to the table, the timid self that has not been allowed a voice. You’ve coaxed me to admit my desires, to get desperate before you, soul parched for my deepest needs. And You began to bring a newness to my heart I didn’t recognize I needed until one day the veil dissolved before my eyes and I saw in front of me the desires you knit deep inside before my time began.
And now, just as I air my heart’s importance to the front of my days, You hold off on completing my request. Heart hung in uncertainty, clarity of path erased so I literally cannot see the next step in front of me. I feel stuck, though I know You mean for me to move forward with the tender beats of my heart still willing to shine Your love towards the source of sun.
I cannot come out unscathed. Already shaped into someone I do not recognize, I do not remember how my heart beat before it broke. So here I am, told to love as You do, selfless, for another’s wellbeing before my own.
I am willing, but I am also naked before the breath of my heart’s bravery, this hurt as it breaks every day, over again. A cycle of cries begging to be released from this season of extended wait, disappearance of the love I hoped to receive. This is where You tell me to settle. Into the unknown, into the softening of my heart’s skin to believe that You are indeed over that which is completely out of my control.
To love without expectation of return. To steady the flow of blood that streams from my private places and fall onto Your grace when I live and love and have to stare my unfulfilled dreams in the face every day. To trust that You have plans for unfolding my heart inside out, upside down.
But it had better be beautiful. You’d best be breathing it back to life.
Your hovering irritates my already raw heart, as all I feel is the prickle of Your presence. I am not yet stirred to action, yet I don’t know if there ever will be the answer I long to hear.
How long must I love without condition, without return? How long must I be brave to bring my hope and hurt to the life You usher me towards, stay in this undefined state where my heart refuses to fold back into itself?
If I continue to offer my heart open, how will You respond?
Give me strength to love what is now before me, how to gently coax my tender fears, gentle hope to continue when I cannot see, when You call me to face beyond understanding the ways of the heart.
What does perfect love look like?
How can I combat the fears I have with God’s perfect love?
God, what are You saying to me through this verse?
Here I am again, Father, heart hanging in the balance. Again in the unknown, forging forward to live a life I never expected, one I don’t quite know how to handle. Help me, please, to keep my heart open, even when it hurts. Help me to trust You, to know that You are in control over all things. That includes my life, and all that is deep within me. Heal me in this newness, my Lord. Amen.
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