“A woman’s heart should be so hidden in Christ that a man would have to seek after God just to find her.” -unknown
For many years of my life, I held my own heart in my hands, ready and willing to give it to anyone I felt like I could love. My heart was anything but hidden. I wanted love; I wanted someone to take my heart into their own hands and make the choice to care for it. The truth is though, we aren’t called to give our hearts to man (or to woman). We are called to give our hearts to God so He can be our matchmaker. Many times I’ve given away my heart, but one time stands out significantly above the rest.
We all have had that relationship—the one that didn’t work out yet taught us everything. John Doe was my everything before I made God my everything; he was the main character in my story. He was the one I wanted to love, but the truth is, I didn’t have a clue what love even was at that point.
John and I became friends when I was a teenager. Somewhere along the way, he realized he liked me, a lot. I was a bit indifferent as he wasn’t exactly my type. I was attracted to him, but as far as having a relationship with him, I wasn’t interested. I was looking for someone quite different than John. Someone clean cut, a church-goer, someone who had his life together and loved God. It’s funny how things change once you let your guard down. Once you become familiar with someone, it’s easy to think you’re in love.
Guard your heart for out of it everything flows. (Proverbs 4:23)
As time went on, John and I began to spend more and more time together. It wasn’t out of any kind of feelings I had for him but more so the purpose and satisfaction he brought to my life—the purpose and satisfaction that is supposed to come from God. I didn’t love him but the admiration he had for me. Before I knew it, the tables had turned, and I found myself quite fond of John. The more I gave of myself, the more invested I became and the less admiration he had for me in return.
John and I had a very chaotic, tumultuous, on again/off again relationship. It was filled with high highs and low lows. It was the kind of “love” that makes your heart skip a beat. I realize now that isn’t love. Love is calming and stable, like home. Adrenaline can be mistaken quite easily for love as it can be very addicting to a person. “Butterflies” are not love. “Butterflies are a warning from your body, mind, and spirit that something is off and you need to run.
There’s a lot of memories from that period of my life I’ve managed to block out, and even more that I’ve simply forgotten. There’s a time in particular that stands out—a time that would be forever engraved on my soul. Like a tattoo, it hurt and was a permanent part of me I would never be able to get rid of. Maybe that’s a good thing. Every time I remember it, I’m grateful for how far I’ve come.
I managed to keep it together for the most part whenever John would leave, but for some reason, that day was different. It wasn’t the heartbreak of coming to terms with the fact that we couldn’t make it work between us, but the realization that I didn’t know who I was without him. There’s nothing that hurts quite like losing yourself, or in my case, realizing you never really knew yourself to begin with; it’s truly a different kind of pain.
We had planned to spend the night together just the two of us. I can remember the excitement I felt just to be next to him. There was hope in my heart I began to cling to that we were going to get back together for what would’ve been a 4th time. That hope quickly turned to despair when I realized that simply would not, could not happen.
I remember the feeling in the pit of my stomach as I returned back home, alone. I walked inside my home and made my way to the bedroom. I paused before walking in and stared blankly at the clothes tossed all over my bed and floor as if my closet had vomited everywhere. My home was a mess, and it reflected perfectly my mental and emotional state at that time. “How did I get here?” I asked myself. From a self-proclaimed “neat-freak” it just didn’t make sense I would let my environment become so out of order. It’s because I didn’t care; I didn’t care about anything anymore except John.
My heart bled that day. I don’t even think I cried; I was just so broken, so empty. It’s almost as if my body knew if I gave in and allowed myself to cry, to truly sit in and feel my pain, I might not be able to stop. It was during this time of soul searching I began to feel the presence of God. I felt it so strongly; it was tangible. I felt Him with me, calling me home.
My father passed away soon after that time, and John moved out of state within a month afterwards. It was then that I cried out to God. I asked why He allowed the two men I loved more than any other to leave me at the same time—both of them taking pieces of my heart never to be seen again. He didn’t answer me right away; years went by before I ever got an answer to that question.
The truth is, if my heart had been hidden in Christ, I wouldn’t have ever given it to John to begin with. If I had been listening, I would’ve heard God when He told me time and time again John wasn’t the one. Sin leads to pain; idolatry leads to pain—always.
I will give you a new heart. (Ezekiel 36:26)
I never did get my old heart back nor the pieces that were stripped away from it. It was useless at that point anyway, broken and lifeless. What I did get though is a new heart, a heart that I guard at all costs, a heart that no man has loved or truly known since it was given to me. This heart is hidden in the hands of God.
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