by Rebecca Bekele
"Either these words will come out or they'll haunt you until they do. Refuse to let fear write this letter. Let every word written, instead, represent and be synonyms for love."
Before I found love, well, before love found me, I used to wonder what it felt like to be chosen. Chosen out of a crowd, sought out from an audience. I longed to be seen, noticed, and appreciated. For a long time, I thought I could fill the emptiness of being second choice with the brightness of my phone. I prayed to be truly seen through a screen I thought would fill my heart with every double tap on my twice-edited, all-too-perfect picture. I convinced myself that to be looked at was to be seen.
I tried to hold it in the palm of my hands - that little red heart - to feel something, anything. But finally, something told me that the red, symmetrical, perfectly shaped heart always had a giant CLOSED sign on it. Do not disturb. It doesn't allow for things to come in and out. There's no blood flowing to and from it, keeping us alive. It's just a bad drawing of an anatomical heart that somehow made a holiday for itself and made empty promises that it would fulfill us and make us feel warm inside. It never really chose us, saw us, or listened to us for who we were. It was just an impostor.
It was completely and utterly unfulfilling for the human heart - not fitting quite right - like the wrong glass slipper on a heart that was shaped more like an asymmetrical lump.
The human heart on the other hand, now that is art. It has perfectly placed arteries and veins, blood flowing in and out, and an aorta to distribute oxygen rich blood into the body. A semi-lunar valve to prevent the back flow of blood from the arteries. I'd like to think God does that for us. Provides the oxygen in our lungs and tells fear to keep out the way the heart does for our body.
"Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." (Matthew 12:34)
And from that, the abundance of my fearful, 2-D, little red heart, I lived. Two things I learned from living in fear: everyone will break your heart and running is always the answer. So I began to run because I believed him. I even believed I could outrun fear himself because I knew he would break my heart someday too.
I thought fear was the only one who would ever choose me. I thought he was the only one who could see me for who I really was - just a girl with an abnormal, worthless, heartbeat. "You need me to live," he whispered, "I'm your pace maker - the reason you're alive." Sweet empty nothings were whispered in my ear. He vowed to always choose me first, to never leave me, to protect me from the grand will of God. He taught me to trust no one. “Who else could be going through something as pathetic as you are? You're on this journey alone. No one will ever understand you."
No one will understand you. This. This thought is the root of all fear, the very reason fear makes its way into hearts, unannounced. It convinces you that whatever darkness you're feeling, whatever ugly lie you're believing about yourself, it's just you. Alone. Everyone else is fine, it's just you, fumbling around in the dark, trying to find the light switch on the wrong side of the room.
Fear chooses you to be alone and lonely; always running and always tired.
But then something happened. I fell. The kind of fall that scratches you up and makes you feel like you have nothing left to give. The fall after you've been running and looking over your shoulder for too long, trying to make sure fear isn't following you, and all of a sudden you’ve forgotten to run facing forward. It was like something grasped my heels and I had no choice but to fall face forward. What I didn't know was that falling - that's fear's worst nightmare. It's too vulnerable for him. It exposes the lies he'd been telling me all along. It forced me to look down and realize that I was running in place the entire time - merely just a simulation of going somewhere, but never leaving fear's side. I thought it was till death doest part with fear, but little did I know he never signed the marriage license. I was so busy being convinced by fear to run, run, run, that I didn't realize what I would be missing if I just stopped.
It was then that I learned of Love.
So this is a thank you. Thank you, fear, for teaching me that there is someone better than you. Thank you for the bruises you gave me, for the black eye I believed for far too long that I gave myself. Thank you for always reminding me that it is YOU who is alone, not me. Your insecurity is so deeply rooted in the definition of who you are that you tried to make it define me too. And let's be honest, you never really chose me first. You tried to drag me along for your ride and convinced me it was my ride too. You just wanted someone to feel the pain you were feeling. You were tired of feeling alone. I get that.
I'm sorry, fear, I found Love. Love didn't try to convince me that I was alone, it reminded me that someone gets it. That's all I needed, the assurance that one person out there is going through the same thing. Love was like a sweet familiar friend. We had never met before, but when we did, it was like we'd known each other for years. It was like picking up right where we’d left off, catching one another up on old stories and laughing about both the future and the past.
I realized that love doesn’t just aimlessly “like” things as he scrolls through the lives of his people like fear does. Love puts the red, symmetrical, fake heart to shame with the depth of the asymmetrical heart.
Love took the form of blood and came gushing into my real, broken, tender, human heart. Pumping in life and filtering out fear, this cardiac arrest was just what I needed to unclog the arteries that fear had filled. Love came in the nick of time - just when I was ready to sell my aorta to fear for the small price of a dime, not understanding it's worth. As we were getting ready to make the exchange, me and fear - my heart for a dime - Love's blood pressure increased in my heart and flat lined my obscured vision.
"Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." (Matthew 12:34)
A heart transplant. Out of the abundance of my new heart, my mouth speaks. Love is my new heart. It drives out fear, and now I can only speak into people what there is an abundance of in me - life.
Sometimes fear seeps back in and I relapse. I thank him, again, for pushing me closer to Love and making me stronger. I thank fear for reminding me who saved me - Love.
Sometimes I still convince myself that the tiny, red, symmetrical heart on my screen is enough. I swear it gives me life until I find myself empty, realizing I've diminished the complexity of my true heart to an easily satisfied, paper-thin one.
When I finally fell, I fell right into the arms of love. They were arms that had been waiting to catch me from my fall since the day I was breathed to life. I laughed. So this is what it feels like to be chosen by Love.
And one last lesson from fear - he hates adventure because it means you're conquering the very essence of who he is. I knew love was different the moment we met because when He found me, face flat on the ground after a fall, He smiled and whispered, "What's life without a little adventure, eh? Just take my hand, and I'll give you My heart."
--Originally posted at http://pouring-hearts.blogspot.com/2016/01/a-new-heart.html. Check her site out!--
Rebecca Bekele is the type of person you meet and then want to re-meet every day. She has a genuine authenticity that lights up rooms, and has a voice that deserves to be heard. Here more of her voice at pouring-hearts.blogspot.com!