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Live Bravely: It's Time To Do Some Heartkeeping

Updated: Dec 8, 2019

I just read this yesterday and I laughed hysterically because gosh, I am certain there is no more accurate description, "Online dating is like eating a peanut butter sandwich with no drink." For those who have done the online thing, c'mon, right? For those who haven't, well, now you know.

But if I am going to use a tool like online dating, should I be so cynical, jaded, adverse to it? And, is my heart telling me something about the state of my attitude toward the very activity that I use to allow God to answer a prayer? If I am going to participate in that forum, shouldn't I have a better perspective of it? I think I should which is why I've taken a 90 day hiatus from dating. I have some stuff to figure out.

Recently, I have been off (by recently, I mean the past year if I must be honest). I've been avoiding a lurking figure in my midst. I've intentionally not dealt with him even though he is occupying space in the house of my heart. I've realized, anger lives with me.

Ah, there I said it. The A word. Poor guy. No one wants to own him, acknowledge him, play with him or live with him. But shouldn't we listen to him? It's the least we can do for someone who has so much to tell us about ourselves. Anger gets angry when you ignore him. And lately, he's been yelling out from the basement of my heart.

There is this room deep down in my heart that I don't tell anyone about. It's a place I do not visit myself. It's dark, cold, dingy, gray and devoid of hope. Inside this room, there are boxes that contain certain moments and memories from years ago. I have been proud to self acknowledge that it's a tidy room, neat and organized. There are three boxes. One for each third of my life, two of the boxes are taped tightly, with layers and layers of tape. The third is still open. None of them is marked fragile, as the contents in these boxes have already been damaged, and damaging but there is an ever so faint caution marking on them.

The boxes contain experiences and choices I have moved on from. No need for me to relive or reminisce about, they are not worthy of speaking of. They are painful, hurtful, dark like the room they sit in and regretful. The reason I used so much tape was so that nothing could ever get out of them and they would be tamper proof. But as I said, ignored anger isn't quiet and he gets obnoxious to the point that even from the basement of my heart, I can't hear anything else but him. And so I went to see what all the fuss was about.

As I reluctantly entered the room this week and slowly creaked open the door, the two tamper proof, tightly taped boxes had been slashed open and the used tape suddenly entangled me like a sheath put tightly over a kidnap victim. Anger had escaped the boxes he was packed in and was obstinately owning the room. Anger is sharp like a knife, so the tape was no match for him really. The room was a disaster and my neat tidy, organized dark space needed some tending to. And anger needed some attention. Not a chore I truly wanted to add to my to do list.

How many times are we told, "don't look back - you're not going that way"? Truth perhaps. But looking back does tell us where we've been and how far we've come. And it can give us wisdom on how better to course correct as we travel forward. Like old souvenirs we've collected on our journey can clutter and become less valuable over time, so should the emotions we've attached to us from certain choices. While we try to pack those emotions away in tamper proof boxes because they are embarrassing or shameful (oh c'mon, we all have experienced buyer's remorse), unless we are truly ready to let go of them, all the packing tape in the world won't keep them contained. They will clutter our hearts and keep us from clarity and imprison us in confusion.

And so I am faced with looking back. Not to return and camp out there, but to ready myself to declutter my heart. The packing tape that anger cut through is stuck to my heart and it's keeping me from living forgiven, redeemed, free, enough, worthy and loved. I need to do some heartkeeping. I need to go through some old boxes and make an emotional donation to Jesus. A donation that will allow me to live what I know I am. From where I stand now, I know that looking back won't allow me change what happened, but I can change what I have been making it mean.

There is no hope for the past. Hope is present tense and future focused. And while I have journeyed from the where I was, I need to pay attention to the danger sign in front of my future hopes and dreams. But this time, as I repack Anger in his box, I am going replace the caution tape with tape marked "heavy". No, no it's ok, because I am asking Jesus to pick them up and move them out for me.

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