"Very seldom are we ever invited to live out of our heart. If we are wanted, we are often wanted for what we can offer functionally. If rich, we are honored for our wealth; if beautiful, for our looks, if intelligent, for our brains. So we learn to offer only those parts of us that are approved, living out a carefully crafted performance to gain acceptance from those who represent life to us. We divorce ourselves from our heart and begin to live a double life." -The Sacred Romance: Drawing Closer to the Heart of God, Brent Curtis, John Eldredge.I just started reading this book a week or so ago, and this quote has been haunting me since the moment I read it. There is so much packed into this statement. This phenomena can be seen pretty much everywhere, whether in the extremes of celebrities, those who invest all of their lives into their jobs, women who continually use their bodies for attention... I could go on, but I think you can think of your own examples. I think the most recent extreme example I can think of is the whole Miley Cyrus drama going on right now. She started out as an adorable young girl on Disney, and because of the attention and the fame she had begun to receive, only offered those parts of herself because that is what she was getting attention from. Since this never actually fulfills our hearts, and certainly not her own heart, she is led to offer more and more to gain that false sense of acceptance, and you see an explosion like at the VMAs.
Now I'm not here to rip on Miley. It truly breaks my heart to see anyone so divorced from their heart, where Christ desires to dwell. I know I have definitely been divorced from my heart at times as well. The fear of getting hurt again, the fear of feeling certain emotions, the fear of rejection can all lead someone to cut themselves off from their heart, keeping it boxed up so that it will never feel those things it doesn't want to feel. Even if you aren't intentionally doing this, it can happen gradually until one day, you begin doing things because you "don't care anymore", when really in the depths of your heart, you care immensely.
There is such a great danger in only affirming how people perform functionally, or in only noticing someone for one aspect of themselves. Because the truth is that human people are so much more and there is so much depth to an individual person. If a girl is repeatedly affirmed in her body and only her body, then she will soon believe that that is all she has to offer, and continually offer that to receive that acceptance, even though in her heart, she is broken and confused. If a young boy grows up being told that he is only good if he excels at a certain sport, then he will find himself playing that sport just to gain the acceptance, even if inside he would rather be doing anything but that. Then there is the young girl who grows up playing sports, wearing sweats, and then one day when she is older, decides she wants to start dressing up, letting her hair down, but is afraid of what other people say...this is who they know her to be, so she stays the same to keep the status quo, instead of doing what her heart is leading her to do.
This is the great divorce of the heart. The lives we live without really living at all. I only know because I used to be one of those girls and have since allowed the Lord to bring back together the bond that I had severed between my self and my heart to keep 'safe'. It can be a slow, scary, hard process to begin living from the heart, but there is something so freeing about living from the depths of your soul and doing the things you are truly passionate about doing. It can also be hard to figure out what the desires of your heart truly are. If you have been separate from your heart for so long, it might take some time to get to know your heart again, what makes it tick, what brings it the most joy, the most sorrow, and slowly allowing it to feel. Take some time to figure this out, and start really living. And if people reject you, then maybe it is time to find some new friends who care about your heart's desires and not just what they can get from you or what you have to offer. Because you are SO much more than that and you deserve to live out of your heart.