I’ve been putting off getting a pedicure because, well frankly, I just don’t have the cash for it right now. I’m not destitute or doing without things, so don’t send me a check. It’s just a matter of choosing where I put my money, you know. And besides, pedicures aren’t a lot of fun for me. I know some gals consider them relaxing and pampering. To me pedicures are more like necessary torturous evils with a pretty pink outcome. I am extremely ticklish…the painful kind of ticklish.
But it’s time to face the music…and the Asian guy with the scrubby thing.
The dry skin on my feet is snagging on my kitchen mat these days. I absolutely can’t tolerate that. Thirty minutes of torturous tickling is worth not snagging on the carpet. That’s just gross. And it makes my skin crawl.
But here’s the bigger issue. While my feet need a pedicure, my heart needs a little softening, too.
You might would assume that a woman who wrote a Bible study about keeping your heart soft in life’s hard places would perpetually maintain a tender and loving heart, one without callouses and rough patches. You’d be wrong.
Just as I’ve neglected tending to my feet, I’ve allowed my heart to harden in a few areas over time. In fact, that’s part of the problem: time. Time soaking in warm sudsy water softens, but time soaking in jealousy and skepticism and faulty assumptions and self-pity just calcifies. I’ve been soaking my heart in the wrong stuff for a while now.
And just like my rough feet have started snagging on my kitchen mat, my heart has begun to scrape against things in an annoying way, too. I’ve noticed that I’ve become a little defensive with certain people, less friendly to others. I’m guilty of being easily offended and getting bent out of shape over the slightest inconvenience.
Worse yet, I had begun to pick up those defensive weapons during certain conversations. I listened intently to discern what was behind someone’s words (like I really have that ability!). I measured everything they said and tried to determine their intent. Sometimes I didn’t answer the phone, didn’t walk across the room, didn’t say yes, all because I was wary of being bruised again.
The lies in my head became louder than the truth I know in my heart. The suspicions grew and the hurts grew back. The fears choked out the hope, and the regrets strangled the good memories.
Yeah. It’s been that ugly. Uglier than neglected feet, a hardened heart can’t be hidden beneath closed toe shoes. It shows itself even if we try to disguise it behind a smile and polite conversation. Our eyes say we’re wary; our tone of voice says we don’t trust; our crossed arms say we won’t be hurt again; our smirk says we will not love and don’t push it.
I’ll get the pedicure soon, a little closer to the wedding I’ll be attending next weekend. But I’ve already run to the only One who can soften my hardened heart: Jesus.
I’ve confessed to Him the jealousy I have increasingly given in to, the suspicions I’ve nursed and the self-pity I’ve allowed to visit too long. I’ve agreed with Him that those things are ugly and destructive and contrary to His will for me. I swallowed hard and admitted that they fed something ugly in me…my pride…and that wounded heart. And I asked Him to take them from me before they poison me further. He’s so gracious.
Then I told Him…again…that I’m still hurting a little. I would prefer to feel completely, 100% better by now. But on some days, when my hormones are reeling and I’m a little lonely and my circumstances overwhelm me and no one has told me how bright and beautiful I am in a while (just keeping it real), I still hurt. Could He please fix that? And He has assured me He can…if I’ll just continue to trust Him and wait well and keep my eyes on Him instead of other people or other things.
Here’s a few other things I’m doing to make sure my heart stays soft while Jesus continues to mend it.
- I’m meditating on a few heart-softening scriptures consistently, like Psalm 16:5-6, Lamentations 3:21-24, Philippians 4:8, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and 1 Thessalonians 5:18.
- I’m praying for other people more than for myself, especially anyone I may have felt wounded by.
- I’m conscientiously turning my complaints into thanksgivings.
- I’m continuing to ask God to keep my heart soft and to make it healthy.
Honestly, scruffy feet just aren’t a big deal, ya’ll. Not compared to the damage and the danger of a hardened heart. If you recognize today that you, too, have allowed your heart to harden…even if it’s just against one person or in one area of life…I encourage you to take it to the One whose nail-pierced hands can gently soothe away the callouses and massage out the tensions. He’s oh so gracious. Time with Him will leave you feeling refreshed and more gracious, too. And you don’t even have to tip Him.
If you’ve found yourself in a hard place recently and feel a little battered for the wear, may I suggest my newest Bible study, Joseph – Keeping a Soft Heart in a Hard Place? Joseph’s story of healing and redemption brought me such hope. It seems to have helped hundreds of other women in their healing as well. You can get it here.