Can You Name the Ache of Your Heart?


contemplative lookEvery little girl longs to live the fairy tale, to be the princess who is carried away on a white horse by her prince, her one true love. Every little boy longs to be that prince who disregards danger because of the burning passion in his heart for his princess. Every heart longs to live in a kingdom of glory and freedom where the streets are filled with dancing and feasting and life is celebrated.

But life has a way of ripping the fairy tale ending to shreds leaving us afraid to long, reluctant to trust, and refusing to risk. Our friendships, our families, our marriages, and our relationship with God suffers.

We find ourselves living far below Eden. Even worse than that, we can barely remember what Eden is even like. When the occasional breeze carrying Eden’s fragrance drifts by, our souls stir momentarily until we remember the lessons we’ve learned the hard way. Dreams don’t come true. There are no knights in shining armor; no Eden, no Camelot, no true friends, no world changers, and we once again resign ourselves to risk-free living.

Day after day we go through the motions without ever really naming the ache inside. Somehow it seems better just to pretend we don’t even notice the ache. We wall off our hearts sufficiently to keep us in control so that we never are caught off-guard, never hurt again, never surprised by disappointment.

And we likewise are never carried by the wind of desire, never found naked, vulnerable, exposed. Yet we were created for naked encounters, both with God and with man. Experiences in which we dare to allow our true selves to be seen and known. “Safe” living leaves us bored, and we find life to be tiresome, purposeless, and weary.

What if, instead of ignoring or denying or trying to kill the ache, we asked questions and stepped into the ache of our hearts?

What would happen if we reflected on a romantic movie and pondered on how our hearts were stirred with longing and desire for significant meaningful relationships? What if we named the ways we were falling short of living with utter abandon with our spouses and worked to move the barriers that hinder love instead of pushing the ache away?

What if, in moments of worship when God’s Spirit nudges us and we sense His tender presence, we drew closer and opened ourselves more completely to worship and transformation?

What if, when a sunset takes our breath away, we stopped and basked in the glory of God’s creation, refusing to rush away from the glimpses of beauty?

What if, when a friend speaks of failure or loss or grief, we stayed emotionally present with them, experiencing their pain as a fellow sojourner instead of rushing to fix them or their situation because we are afraid of the aches of their heart?

My husband teases me about these moments when I connect to the ache. He lovingly tells me that I have “enchilada eyes” as he references a day when he watched me pause with a mouth full of Chicken Enchiladas from Mimi’s and allow every taste bud in my mouth to dance. My eyes said it all as I took in the delightful flavors and appreciated every nuance. I didn’t want to finish the meal because I was experiencing a moment of pleasure, appreciating God’s wonderful gift of food.

Like a horse that catches a whiff in the air and restlessly seeks to name the source, we can allow the aches of our heart to tell us more of who we were originally designed to be. We can catch the whiff and name what is awakening inside us, refusing to live from a place of being resigned to living “less than”  what our hearts were made for.

These aches of our heart often speak to us of divine design. We were made to live in a place of beauty, to listen to the rivers of water, to eat of the fruit, and to embrace those we love and engage our God without reserve.

We learn to pretend that we don’t ache and eventually the ache is so faint we can’t even name what it is. Often we don’t have a clue when the last time was that we felt totally alive to the glory of God and His creation.

But God, who is committed to bringing about the restoration of all His original purposes, awakens us through His Spirit. He relentlessly pursues us because He is not willing for us to live in the place of “less than”.  He awakens our desires. He awakens our dreams. He awakens our longings. He stokes the fire on our heart so that it can burn brightly in this world.

The world around is not interested to buying into a pleasure-less, seemingly plastic, kind of living. They want to know how to live life to the fullest. They want more than a list of rules on how to be good. They want to know what it means live significant, meaningful lives. Perhaps they cannot articulate that, but nonetheless, they are stirred by the very glory of the world God created. They hunger for relationships that transcend the norm. They long for authentic spirituality.

What they need is for their body, soul, and spirit to be fully alive and living in the kingdom of God.

They need us, the followers of Christ, to name our truths, our aches, and embrace the process of becoming whole and holy. A whole and holy person is not afraid to feel the stirring inside but allows it to draw them into God’s original purposes.

Jesus said that he came that we might have life, and have it more fully, more abundantly.

How is your life today?

Are you living less than?

What hinders you from abandoning your heart to the One who loves you most and longs to heal your heart and give you life “to the full"?

Can you name the aches inside?


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