The Bravest Heart
I was watching NCIS: Los Angeles the other night. It's one of my favorite shows. Perhaps because at one time I was going to marry Chris O'Donnell. Perhaps because the good guys always win. Perhaps because I secretly dreamed of being a federal agent.
In the episode, they had caught one of their own agents who had been undercover and had turned to the dark side. During their interrogation of said agent, he told them each of has three hearts. One heart that everybody sees. Strangers. Your co-workers. Your neighbors. The second heart or level are for those you let your loved ones see. Your siblings. Your children. Your spouse. Your closest friends.
The third heart was one that very few people see. It's the place in your heart where you keep your secrets and your messes. It's the place that you guard the most. And for many of us, no one gets to see this third level of our heart.
I will admit that I typically don't get my theology from my TV shows. My TV shows are entertaining and escaping and possibly a little living vicariously through the special agents who catch the bad guys. But they are not theology.
But as I thought about the concept of the three hearts, I considered a couple of my own personal philosophies. One of my greatest life lessons is that we don't keep our junk a secret from those we love most. In fact, it's when we let it out - when our tempers flare - or when we let our people see our mess - that we are leaning into a relationship. The people we trust the most get to see us at our worst because we trust them to love us even when they see it.
I don't know about you - but I want to have relationships like that. I want friendships and family relationship where I can uncover the ick underneath because I trust them. Because I love them. Because they love me. Because I allow them to hold what is sacred for me. The real me.
My second life lesson is that we find healing when we can let the mess of our lives out to just one person. Or two. Or three. I know we think it's the opposite. If we can just keep it together. If we don't let the others see how much we are hurting. If we can just put on a brave face....
Recently, I've gotten myself into a bit of a mess. I've been embarrassed by the mess. I kept it inside. Yes, I hinted at it to those who were at the second level of my heart. My good friends. My family. And yet, the problem persisted to the point where I can no longer pretend it's not as bad as it is.
As i nervously called my aunt, I needed to tell her where I was at. I needed to share with her the solution I had come up with open hands. I had to admit I'm in a deeper mess that I had yet admitted.
It was nerve-wracking. I wanted to cry right there on the phone. Her response was grace. Her response was support.
My heart breathed a huge sigh of relief. I could trust her with my third heart - that place that I let few people see. That place that I've been trying to have all together but is so not together.
There's healing in confession. There's healing in being real. There's healing in trusting someone else to hold what's sacred to you.
It's hard. This revealing of your heart It's scary. Not everyone will accept you. It's good. Your heart finds most of it's healing when you learn to see yourself as God sees you - when you allow others to love you like God does. With grace and acceptance and love.
Sometimes, the bravest thing we can do is to trust someone else with what's buried in our heart.
If you're anything like me, you've fallen into the trap of trying to have it all together. You may have built walls around your heart. Or you've been trying to handle on your own what God designed for you to handle in community.
Here's what I would say: you are not fooling anyone. The ones who love you the most already know about your struggles. They see it in conversations and actions. Not to judge you but because they care about you.
And to open your heart to those who love you begins a process of freedom and healing and joy. It begins a process of owning the change you need to make. It begins a process of accepting yourself - your mess and all. After all, God loves a mess.
One foot faith gets real. That's it. It gets real with God about what you've been refusing to talk to Him about. It gets real with your loved ones because there's freedom in confession. It gets real with those you trust because the only one you're hurting by keeping it in is yourself.
Take a walk in freedom with me by trusting those you love and letting them into the third level of your heart. Healing is waiting!