I’d been droning on for an hour. Kris, my husband, was listening patiently, giving head nods and occasional verbal affirmation that he was still present in the conversation.

I’d been spilling to him everything I thought the Lord was leading me to do, how difficult it was, and the fact that the Lord just will not give up on me. I explained to him how terrifying it all was, and how I was afraid to succeed, because that would create a harder fall if I failed. I was afraid to fail, because I didn’t want to let God or anyone else down.

I was afraid of rejection. Ridicule. I was afraid I would have to sacrifice family time. I was afraid that pursuing these things would mean I would be distracted from my responsibilities at home, leading to failure there, as well. What if I was hearing God wrong? What if it’s not the right time? What if I’m rushing God? What if these aren’t His callings at all, and it’s just desires of my own heart that I’m projecting onto God? What if I disobey Him by moving forward with these pursuits? What if I disobey Him by NOT moving forward with them?

What if people see what I’ve produced, and hate it? Or worse … laugh at it?

I sat there in tears, my heart exhausted from the expulsion of so much raw emotion.

My husband got this little grin on his face and said, “Don’t hide the best of you just because you’re afraid it might be the worst of you.”

Holy cow. Did that really just come out of his mouth? I mean, after an hour of spilling my guts, how can Kris come back with that one statement and floor me like that? I was struck silent by the power God expressed through him.

“You’re tough,” Kris said. “You can do this.”

Funny. Years ago I had accepted the fact that I was soft, and weak. That’s what I believed. “You’re too oversensitive,” I’ve been told a million times, even though I thought myself to be simultaneously thick-skinned and tenderhearted. Why does tenderheartedness have to be shamed? “I’m not sure you can handle this,” I’m usually told in the face of something emotionally difficult or stressful. “You’re too nice.” I mean, really, how is that a bad thing? It didn’t matter what other encouraging words came my way, it didn’t matter how many positive affirmations were spoken to me, my soul took in the poison and proceeded to wilt. 

A lightbulb flickered in my soul, then. I became aware of how these words had been twisted in my ears my entire life to keep me firmly grounded. To keep me firmly under the thumb of a cruel devil who wanted to keep me small.

Having a tender heart doesn’t mean I’m weak. It’s possible to be a warrior with a tender heart.

 

photo by Timothy Eberly

My Heavenly Father knew it was there, because He created every part of me with intention (see Psalm 139:13-14for proof).

My husband sees it. He’s always seen it.

I just couldn’t see it for myself.

Take a look at your own heart. What lies have you believed for far too long? What strengths have been lying dormant because you didn’t allow yourself to believe it was there?

It’s time to rise up. Reach into your soul, into the center where God lives, and find the hilt of that sword. It’s there. Shake off the dirt and get familiar with swinging it. Look at it carefully, and present it to Christ. He gave it to you. It has a design on the blade specifically carved for you by your Maker. 

It’s time to grow. It’s time to refuse to stay small.

It’s time to fling off the chains.

It’s time to boldly step forward, with the armor of God intact.

My sword is ready.

It’s time to move.