Monday, March 25, 2019

The Message in the Heart~

God can speak anywhere.

(and for me,
quite frequently it seems)
in a Facebook feed.

This morning as I was scrolling
through Facebook,
I came across a comment
that God used to
speak to my heart
in a precious,
yet extremely powerful way.

Someone had shared a meme
that simply said,
"Leave a 💛
and I will tell you
what I like most about you."

The "friend" who posted this
is a distant friend at best -
a son of a friend from years ago -
neither of whom I live close to,
neither of whom I have seen
or interacted with in years.

And yet, curiosity, -
or maybe just
flat out nosiness -
got the better of me.
Even though
I didn't know any of the people
who had commented,
I found myself extremely interested
to see the comments
this friend had left behind
for all who had chosen to leave a 💛.

Most were simple,
yet sincere replies:
You're funny.
You share my love of ____.
You're a hard worker.

But then,
there was this -
a comment that left me wishing
I knew the person
the comment had been written about:

You're a highly intelligent person who
uses their experiences to relate to others
instead of shutting down.

And I wondered . . .
how many of us
(highly intelligent or not)
are willing to take the experiences of life -
the good, the bad,
the happy, the sad,
the beautiful, and the ugly
and use them as unique ways
through which
we can relate to others?

I think if we are all honest,
we would have to admit,
our natural response,
especially to experiences of life
that seem anything but positive,
is either shutting down,
or unfortunately, lashing out.

Relating to others -
we don't always stop to
consider this possibility.

And yet, we should.

One of the most valuable lessons
God has taught me
over the last several years of my life
is this:
Our experiences matter.

They matter
simply and profoundly
for the purpose
of us relating to
and connecting with
our Heavenly Father in ways
we can't even imagine possible.

And they matter
simply and profoundly
for the purpose
of us relating to
and connecting with
others in ways
we can't even imagine possible.

But, as I sit here typing this,
I want you to know
I feel the same conviction
or uneasiness that you might be feeling.

Yes, I have taken my experiences
and I have written about them
and I have shared them with the world -
when it comes to relating face to face,
when it comes to opening the door of my home,
or opening the door of my heart -
one on one,
up close and personal,
I tend to shut down,
to shut the door (and bolt it tight)
and hide.

It's not easy to put ourselves out there -
especially for the sake of someone else,
when we ourselves feel
vulnerable and broken,
hurt and abandoned,
lost and confused,
overwhelmed and undone.

And yet,
you sharing your story
and me sharing mine -
each of us using our experiences
to relate to and connect with each other,
each of us discovering something
so familiar and so comforting
in our different experiences that are
so amazingly similar -
there is nothing quite like it.

This is community.
This is humanity
lived out at its best.

And as Christians,
who are called to live out our faith
and be a living expression of
the love,
the hope,
the healing,
the comfort,
the wisdom,
the strength,
the peace,
the power,
the forgiveness,
the joy,
(and so much more)
that is ours in and through
Christ Jesus, our Lord,
we cannot afford to miss this opportunity.

This is Christianity
lived out at its best.

All praise to the God and Father 
of our Master, Jesus the Messiah!
Father of all mercy!
God of all healing counsel!
He comes alongside us
when we go through hard times,
and before you know it,
he brings us alongside someone else
who is going through hard times
so that we can be there
for that person
just as God was there for us.
~2 Corinthians 1:4 (MSG)

And, let's not forget.
It's not just the "bad" experiences
that beckon for us to share them,
it is also the good.

Every experience has value.
Every experience can be used by God
to help or encourage another,
all the while helping and encouraging us
in the process of sharing them.

It's simply (and amazingly)
the way God made it.

When I take the time to relate to you
and you take the time to relate to me -
relationship happens.
True relationship.

It's not always easy.
It's not always neat and tidy.
It's not always without
its awkward moments or messiness -
but it is almost always worth it.

just in case you're wondering,
no -
I didn't leave a 💛 behind.
The reason:
(visualize me with my head hung low)
I haven't taken the time
to "relate" to this person.
He would be clueless
as to what to reply.

And, I can't help wondering-
who else do I supposedly know
who would also be clueless?

How many people have I kept at bay?

How many times have I turned my heart away
instead of turning my heart toward?

How many times have I chosen
to shut down
instead of choosing
to use my experience
to help me better relate and connect
with God,
or to better relate and connect
with someone else?

It was just
a simple Facebook post,
a simple meme,
a simple 💛,
but in the comment
that was left behind,
God was faithful
to leave a precious,
yet extremely powerful
heartprint of His own.

And me,
I am so thankful He did.
It was a message
my own heart
so desperately needed
to be reminded of.


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Thank you for leaving a "heartprint" of your own.