I’ve done a lot of healing lately, and it has been nothing short of backbreaking work. Some days I look back at the path with pride, and other days, I look forward into the future with excitement. But something happened this week that forced me to take a long, hard look at myself, right where I stood.
I was with a friend who noticed that something was weighing on my mind. I confided in him as casually as I could, to keep my emotions at bay. I could feel them fluttering around in my heart, threatening to make an appearance in my expression. And when I shared what I was thinking with him, he did something I didn’t totally expect; he reached out to comfort me. The moment his hand touched my face, two things happened: tears welled up in my eyes, and I slapped his hand away from my cheek. Not playfully, either. It was a defensive move that would have made a Kung Fu master proud.
His eyes widened for a second, and to be honest, we were both pretty shocked. This was a weird, involuntary reaction to a kind, comforting touch and it left us both feeling a little vulnerable. We shook off the moment quickly, but it left me wondering:
Have I healed? Or have I hardened? In an effort to be strong, have I made my heart into stone?
The Bible has a lot to say about hardened hearts. Hebrews 3:8 says, “Do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness.” Proverbs 28:14 says, “Blessed is the one who fears the LORD always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity.” And Ezekiel 36:26 says, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
I want to have that – a new heart, a soft heart, a heart of flesh. One that is open to being marked, even scarred, because I have faith that my Father can smooth away whatever is not meant to change it permanently. I want to encourage you to look for places where your heart may have hardened, and seek out something new. I promise, He is waiting to give it to you.