Recently I had the joy of telling a group of women about how I keep my heart healthy. It wasn't about changing my diet or increasing exercise, as important as those things are. But it is significant to me...and to my heart.
The language I have come to embrace, to have a healthy heart, is to understand that the younger "me" still resides within the walls of my memory. This little person still holds the hurts, embarrassments, angers, fears and lies that she came to believe in her younger, more naive days. When hurtful words are said or negative thoughts come to mind, this little younger me can rise up and feel the feelings as though they were happening for the first time.
I gathered these women to tell them about how I keep in touch with that little girl, so when something happens, I will be available to her to bring truth. In a way, it is how I tell myself, "I've got your back! I'm here for you. I'm making space for you."
When I asked them how they react when they feel something that needs processing, they told me:
- I tell myself it is OK to be me.
- I tell myself I'm not "bossy."
- I tell myself I did what I knew to do.
- I tell myself it's ok to feel the way I do.
I agree with all these positive statements and I would add one more deeper level:
Make space in your life where you can have a routine of listening to your heart. That means to quiet yourself everyday and invite God to join you. Decide on a place, a regular time, and bring a notebook and pen. The regularity allows trust to build as you consistently place yourself on your side and not against yourself.
I often start with, "Good morning, Father God! Help me search out where my heart needs grace today." This is prayer: listening to God's heart for me.
As the words spill onto the paper, how I'm feeling slips out with them. I can speak the truth, remind myself that I am a grace filled person. God can speak because I have invited him in and his voice is full of kindness and understanding. I write until what needs to be said gets written down. This routine enables me to process, to understand, to forgive, to decide to take action among many other things. Once it is written, it is so much easier to deal with.
Have you ever tried to pray like this? It's like listening to God speak. He wants us to know he has our back and is full of grace and love. His kindness allows us to turn around and show ourselves the same kind of love, forgiveness and support.
Keeping my heart healthy is worth the time it takes. How about you? What do you do to keep your heart in top shape?
(By the way, I will be leading a workshop at House of Hope about this very thing on February 27th and March 5th. Go and click on the Morning Pages class to get started! I would love to see you there.)