The Heart Thief.

The other night I pulled out my journal and unleashed the full torrent of the emotions I’d locked away. I wrote until my hand cramped and  my disjointed thoughts seemed to find a semblance of rhythm.

I just don’t want to be hurt. 

I’d written these words dozens of times before.

I just don’t want to be hurt.

Begging for a way to avoid some sort of pain.

But this time I found myself writing another sentence right after.

But I know I will be hurt. 

I stopped writing and  looked at the words I’d just written as a realization dawned on me. This world will hurt me. You will hurt me. My family will hurt me. My friends will hurt me. The lady who swore at me in line at Chick-fil-a tried to hurt me.

I will be hurt.

Most of my life I am not overly cautious about receiving pain. I climb mountains, quit jobs without anything lined up, and travelled the globe. In each and every situation I’ve had pain. But I love the adventure. The idea of missing out on something because I’m worried about pain is ridiculous. I want to live fully alive.

Except with my heart.

That is where I fail every single time.

My heart exists on my sleeve. Until there is a hint of the possibility I could be hurt. And then I shut down. I lock that heart so securely in a room in a high tower with guards and moats and dragons that there is no chance the potential inflictor of pain can come anywhere near it.

And you know what? That room is lonely. And dusty. And quiet. Sure, the guards and moats and dragons keep me safe from someone who could hurt me but they also keep me prisoner from someone who could love me.

No great love will happen without pain. To think otherwise is foolish.

I mean, wasn’t it Jesus who said “no greater love than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend?”

Now unless my understanding of “laying down a life” is completely wrong, I’m pretty sure that sacrifice involves the ultimate form of pain. So I should expect pain. I should expect to be hurt. I should be aware and ready and vulnerable inspite of it.

I used to think that someone had to break through the guards and moats and dragons and the locked rooms in tall towers to win my heart. Any effort less than that was not good enough. But today? Today I think maybe that I have to be the one to break myself out of that. I don’t need rescuing. I don’t need a knight-in-shining armor.

I need a best friend. A companion. Someone who will help share the load when the world becomes too much. Someone who will be strong when I am weak. Someone who can make me laugh to forget the frustrations of my day. Someone who knows that mornings just aren’t my best time. Someone who will call me on my BS when I let the lies become truth. Someone who will let me run when I need to but come chasing after me if I get lost.

Those are the things I need. Those things take time to cultivate in relationships. And they’re usually cultivated through trial and error. But the beauty in that is the foundation created as those things are built.

Yet I won’t give my heart away freely. It still must be earned and fought for and pursued. Just like you would for anything else that is precious.

someday you’ll start to break into my heart, and i’ll let you.


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