A stoic heart and a call to Love.

Few things will make me more passionate than my relationship with Jesus or my love for running. One of those things that I’ve been innately blessed with is my protectiveness for others who are considered lesser or can’t or don’t defend themselves. 
Maybe it’s because I’m a twin who is one minute older than my brother. I’ve always been like a prowling mother wolf toward anyone I find out hurts or upsets my twin or anyone I’m close to for that matter. I know when something’s bothering him too, I can hear it in his voice even when I’m miles away in Alabama when we talk on the phone. I would drive to Georgia and happily take care of any problem Zach had if he told me to. I feel like it’s my duty in a way because I feel like I am strong and have been given a gift of discernment (spiritual gift we talked about at Highlands, growth track the church I now attend). 

Anyways, I wanted to write a little post addressing the heart of our society today and the disturbing level of desensitized hearts everywhere today that is shamelessly growing. 

With Valentine’s Day approaching, a day our culture has deemed a hallmark for celebrating “love” for one another and creating unfair expectations for both male and females.. I think this post is rather relevant for opening up our hearts and minds to what’s really in there. 

I would encourage you to be open when reading this and think about your own hearts and what your current pulse says. Are you a stoic heart? Do you feel empathy for others who are hurting? Do you care about others hearts or even think about what your own is saying right now? What’s it saying to you? Be real with yourself if not with anyone else.

The topic that inspired this-Body Shaming.

has to stop. 

I’m not trying to be overly sensitive and I know there is a fine line between “just joking” and going beyond that in a way that makes another person uncomfortable, or hurt. But sometimes a joke to you may not be funny to the person next to you. Maybe someone who hears or interprets what you say as hurtful or careless is going through something you can’t relate to or empathize with. Then it’s not a joke them, does that still make it OK because it’s just a joke for you? 

 I know my generation gets a lot of flak for being “snowflakes”- those of you who like to categorize everyone in the millennial generation or anyone who stops to think about another persons heart or feelings too. 

And that may be true, a lot of us are super sensitive and overreact due to being sheltered or helicopter parents or those kids that failed to launch and moved back home or live at home and don’t contribute at ALL to society.(NO, I’m not talking about those of you with financial difficulty or circumstances beyond your control).

Back to the shaming-

From all the lady gaga super bowl comments about her being “fat”..or Beyoncé’s weight gain recently-(who is in fact pregnant with twins);

 I’m a twin and I don’t know what kind of comments my mother may have had to ign or roll her eyes at when we weren’t born yet.

But body shaming can target any body size- big or small, male or female, famous or not.

 I’ve dealt with body shaming as a runner too from crude comments or scoffs on the trail, looking me up and down while I’m running or asking if I have an eating disorder just because I’m slender and look different than some people running or walking by. 

The fact is- you don’t know what the other person you’re ignorantly judging is training for. You don’t know anything about them more than your shallow comments so why project your own opinions onto someone because of the way you think they look? 

This makes no sense to me but I just wanted to say, be confident in your own image and if you’re happy, great. If not, change. But don’t let anyone’s comments or opinions of you change how you view yourself or what you do. Your body is yours, it’s a gift and you don’t live to make others happy with how you look. 

Also, I’m sure that someone with an actual eating disorder or body image problem might not think its funny or cute either.

I’m much more focused on how someone’s spirit looks than just how their physical appearance is..maybe that’s just me but shouldn’t we as a human race see each other for what we really are rather than the flesh we parade around in daily??
Bottom line here intertwined with body shaming being highly unintelligent, is that this culture we’ve bred has created a stoic heart if you will.

We walk around complacent, insensitive and unaware of what’s really going on in our own hearts. Then we call anyone who opposes this kind of mentality all kinds of names, filling them away as silly, insubordinate or discarding them from our circles of importance.

Labeling someone as a “snowflake” because they bring up a relevant issue that you deem as unimportant doesn’t make them weak or lesser in my opinion. Just different and that’s okay to disagree.

But importantly, how can we ignore our own hearts so long and forget what the spirit is speaking into us so much and then expect to connect and cultivate real, loving, lasting relationships built on trust and care for each other? It simply doesn’t work that way. 

Stoic, heartened hearts don’t see the damage they inflict upon themselves or others because they’re incapable of empathy. You know that thing that allows you to know what someone’s been through or just a “hey I know how you feel, I’m with you” pat on the shoulder or word of encouragement someone may vitally need to hear? 

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭4‬:‭23‬ NIV)

If we don’t stop all of this senseless, meaningless mockery of one another it’s going to be too late. Words matter. Words either lift someone up or tear them down. There’s no grey area. Choose to be a light. Don’t say something just to say it because it’s amusing to you. That’s what a fool does. Be wise and loving! 

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭12‬:‭18‬ NIV)

I know this may have gone off in a different direction, but after reflecting and having great conversation with some friends today; I thought this would be a good post to remind us to love one another freely, without expectation, judgement, guilt or shame. 

Even if you think Valentine’s Day isn’t a real holiday, use this time as a refresher for your own heart. The biggest “gift” you can give someone/ anyone at all, is to love them unconditionally like Christ did and does forever for us. 

My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, (‭Colossians‬ ‭2‬:‭2‬ NIV)

We are called to Love. We are to love everyone, even those we don’t like, who have hurt us, who it’s hard to love. This isn’t easy, we make mistakes and it takes some time to come around to that. I’ve learned that so much this last year more than ever but if you accept and place Gods love in your own heart, that becomes so much easier because of the love you share through that relationship. 
Nurturing your own heart with the truth of the spirit and protecting your heart first allows you to love others. Until you get that right, you literally can’t love another person truthfully. 
You won’t be able to love honestly or freely the way God intends for us to or be able to accept his love- not the love that we “deserve” but the love that we need. Love was never about give and receive, it’s a choice we must make like Jesus did for us. You can’t do anything to earn it and don’t deserve it, but you can chose it and then you can share that with everyone you meet in how you treat them, what you speak into them and how you live. 

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (‭John‬ ‭13‬:‭35‬ NIV)