In my 37 years of being on this planet I’ve found one thing to be especially true. If you don’t tend to and care for your heart, it will combust into a thousand pieces–all coming out of your face–at the most inopportune times.

This was me for the last few weeks, and God very kindly identified and pulled out some debri that unbeknownst to me had covered over some areas of need. Things that I had pushed off as unnecessary and unrealistic. Areas of my heart that were scratched up, bruised, and calloused over by life. Areas where I had stopped dreaming and risking.

One night we were at a worship service at our church, and I was humming along to the music and making life plans. But after a few minutes into the service I found myself sobbing as God began to show me His desire to heal me. Everyone was standing with their hands raised in praise and I sat sobbing into my kleenex.

Did I mention how much I dislike crying in public? It’s up there with having those airline X-rays scan you while they check your bags. They can see WAY too much of your nonsense. Remember those magazine ads for X-ray glasses you’d see as a kid? I thought they were totally real. Now they really do have machines that can see you in your undies. But anyways…

Why is it so much easier to give others permission to be a hot mess than to be vulnerable in our own processes? Perhaps we have that wonderful American independence that says “I can pull my bootstraps up and I’ll be fine.” However, what about the times someone steals your boots altogether and you’re left barefoot–stepping in cow poop?

Being cracked open is a beautiful thing. You tend to find those few people who can care for your heart. Those few who listen without judging and who don’t swat your broken dreams away as if they’re impossible or invalid. It’s in the ordinary daily life with friends that you find those gems that are truly compassionate people.

One friend of mine in particular has a knack for knowing when I’m putting up the “I’m totally fine–see me smiling?–this is me smiling–nothing wrong here” Christianese face. Then after a few minutes it comes spilling out. It’s an invisible button she pushes. We were talking about this the other day and I realized that I don’t like being vulnerable until AFTER I’ve walked something out. I have no problem being transparent and vulnerable after the fact–when I’ve gotten a new perspective, received healing in the area, and look all shiny on the other side of things.

One of my core values is to be a safe and disarming person for others to be vulnerable with. In order to be that for others I have to be willing to model it, not just to be some sort of example, but in order to receive all that God has for me. God can’t restore unless we risk and give Him the opportunity.

 

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Liz Flaherty lives in South Carolina with her husband Andy. They’ve been married since 2005, and have spent the majority of their marriage ministering to and mentoring people in areas of sexual wholeness and identity. In her book, The God of My Parents, Liz shares her powerful testimony in which she faced immense grief, rejection, drug abuse, pornography, and homosexuality. Her heart is to inspire the Christian community to address these issues with love, respect and honesty.

Liz and Andy have two cats, named Paddie and Ginger.