Having a soft heart in a cruel world

Since being here in Asia on out-reach I’ve struggled a good bit with the culture not accepting or being emotional and having to adapt to that. I’m a pretty open and emotional person most times, so being in an environment where emotion doesn’t exist and everyone is just happy all the time has its challenges. I’ve been reminded a lot about something that my sister-in-law wrote to me for my eighteenth birthday. “Having a soft heart in a cruel world is courage, not weakness.”

So many times, it’s been easy for me to look at a circumstance and become overwhelmed with how people are, and in a way, it feels fake. Yes, choosing joy is a real thing, but there comes a point when it’s not being chosen, it’s being forced by the hierarchy. It’s been an interesting two and a half weeks, that’s for sure. Multiple times, I’ve been in a predicament where I cried and it wasn’t taken well at all. Some here would say that our cultures are too open, that we’re open books and that’s not how it should be. I’ve thought about this a lot in these weeks. I believe that showing our real emotions makes us so much more authentic when we’re living in community with one another. We can’t always be closed off, it’s not healthy. What I’ve noticed here is that no one talks about what they’re feeling because they have to feel strong and happy. The outside isn’t the same as the inside though. Maybe people look happy on the outside but really, they’re questioning everything they believe on the inside. We must look past the faces and see the hearts, that’s where the real emotions are. Emotions are a godly thing, they’re in everyone, it’s just chosen whether they’re shown or not.

When we seek out what those around us are genuinely feeling, change comes, relationship begins, healing starts. It’s all about relationship and authentically living and seeking out what’s best for others. We have to peel back the layers of the onion and find what is actually in the heart. The heart is a fragile thing. It can be full of joy, sadness, pain, and love all at the same time. The beauty comes when we can allow others into our hearts and work through things in unity rather than try to carry everything on our own. We humans were made for relationship, it’d be beautiful to actually see this genuinely lived out.

much love,

natalie

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