Plastic Hearts

4 12 2013

Plastic is a useful material. Open the fridge or the cupboard; in fact, look around you and notice the many ways in which it is employed.

This material is waterproof, break-proof, spill-proof (if you remembered to put the cap on!), and impermeable.

Let’s stop on “impermeable.” In a nutshell, it means nothing gets in…and nothing gets out unless the container is opened.

This is very much like our hearts. We can “plastic coat” ours, and sometimes do so after we’ve experienced emotional pain.

One problem with this layer of protection is that, like an unopened container, it is sealed:

Nothing gets in (like love),

and nothing gets out (like love).

The first forty years of my life were very painful ones. In the beginning, some very hurtful things were done to me, but by my 20’s I was also doing things that caused me pain as well.

I made some observations during that time, and decided that the problem was people. If I kept them at arm’s length, they would no longer be able to hurt me. I coated my heart with so much “plastic” that it was more like a transport tank for liquids than a flesh-and-blood organ.

(Of course I speak in metaphors, but you know what I mean!)

Over time, though, its contents began to roil and stew. The gasses of all that junk inside began to expand until it finally blew.

I made an important discovery that day:

Blessed are those that mourn, for they will be comforted. (Matthew 5:4)

You see, there can be no comfort for the one who chooses to bury their pain, rather than grieve.

This serves to keep the Holy Spirit

– our Comforter –

from effectively ministering to us.

In keeping with the current theme, you can see why this could be a very big obstacle to an intimate relationship with God.

There are a couple of things we must accept about the reality of loss and life.

The first fact is that we are alive. (Can I get a ‘duh?’ 😉 ) However, because of this reality, we will feel pain and we will experience loss.

Only the dead feel no pain

Another truth is that you and I live in a fallen world where sin is present.

In a fallen, sin-filled world 

pain and loss cannot be avoided

Some losses are inevitable. For instance, every one of us will experience the death of someone we love. No one lives forever on Planet Earth. Methuselah thought he had a fighting chance – he lived over 950 years! However, he died…as we all must.

A few more losses that we are likely to experience are these:

The loss of love through abandonment, rejection, or betrayal

The loss of a job

The loss of our health

The loss of friends due to relocation (we moved from Wisconsin to California, then to Oklahoma, and back to California. Long distance relationships are hard to maintain! All our friends had to be told “good-bye.”)

We may have to let go of a dream

The loss of trust for another

These are just a few of the ways we experience loss. No doubt you could add to the list.

The point is this:

Loss is inevitable

How we handle it will either keep us fully engaged in life…

Or make us like the walking dead

After all, how will we comfort others with the same comfort we ourselves have received (from 2 Corinthians 1:3-4)…

…if we bury it, put on a happy face, and go on as if nothing ever happened?

*****

Next time we will explore why ungrieved losses are a problem, not only in our relationship with others, but also with God.

You’ve dropped in on the series Intimacy with God. It begins here: C’mon In…

This section is about loss and grief as obstacles to intimacy.

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11 responses

5 12 2013
StephenWhoElse

Hey Tammy, even as I read your post I can feel how the Lord is ministering to your hurt. Truly the first step to healing is (counter-intuitively) freeing our hearts from the protective shell we have placed around it.

Thank you for your honest sharing – I’m encouraged by it.

5 12 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thanks for your compassion, Stephen. I seem to have come full circle on some issues…and it’s not going very well. I keep telling myself “forever is a long time!”

\o/

5 12 2013
lifeofastrangercalledme

Thank God for transforming my inaccessible plastic heart to a completely porous one. Thank God for His mercy. So many times we go round thinking that by boxing ourselves and not letting ourselves to get into a situation where we get hurt is the best. But not knowing that even in our hurting, there is a blessing. Thank God for this revelation. It might cause me pain, but I know I will be blessed to become a better person. Thank you Jesus for all you’ve done for me, for us, and for you. 🙂

5 12 2013
lessonsbyheart

Amen.

\o/

4 12 2013
melwild

“I coated my heart with so much “plastic” that it was more like a transport tank for liquids than a flesh-and-blood organ.” Oh, that’s good! And ain’t it the truth. I personally plastic-coated, Teflon-ed my heart pretty good when I was growing up. I had made a lot of inner vows I had to repent from. And over a long process, I finally learned how to let God in. But the amazing thing is, I also found out that if I let Him hold my heart, I would never have to worry about giving it away to others again. He still has a hold of it!

You brought up another great obstacle to intimacy here. Excellent. 🙂

4 12 2013
lessonsbyheart

That it’s a “long process” is an understatement. I still struggle with this…in fact, I’m fighting hard right now. It would be easier if people quit kicking my heart around like a soccer ball for two days in a row.

I hear David saying, “I would have lost heart unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land OF THE LIVING.” That means it’s coming. I just need to hang on.

(Thanks for listening to me ramble) 😉

4 12 2013
melwild

Amen. And that “land of the Living” lives in you! That why we need to get good at running away…to God that is. David was awesome at this and knew how to strengthen himself in the Lord when everyone wanted to stone him (1 Sam.30:6). But this was also right before David’s great breakthrough. I will be praying for your breakthrough and great encounters with God ahead. 🙂

4 12 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thanks, I truly appreciate that. Everything in me wants to go back to my “fortress,” but I know that it’s only a prison in disguise. I will choose God as my Fortress instead.

Standing up again…ready for the next round. 🙂

\o/

4 12 2013
melwild

Amen!

4 12 2013
Rebekah L

This post is timely for me. I recently felt hurt by something that happened with some people I am close to. I found myself thinking if I didn’t love them so much, it wouldn’t hurt so much. My very next thought was to pull away from them, to love them less, so that similar situations wouldn’t hurt so much. As soon as I realized I was truly considering trying to “love them less” I knew there was some disordered thinking going on in my head. Choosing to love someone less is never God’s will for us as He is Love and He is the ultimate demonstration of Love through His sacrifice on the cross. If He had a plastic heart toward me, I would have been lost a long time ago.

4 12 2013
lessonsbyheart

Rebekah, I’m so glad you realized what you were doing and are working toward loving. It’s a hard thing to do. I’m going through several such situations, so I have a sense of this myself.

Lord, loving well – with Your love – is not easy. People hurt us, and we want to pull back into our shells. We desperately need Your help, and Your Comforter. Please, Abba, would You send Him to heal our hurts? Your children need You right now.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

\o/

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