The Wholehearted Life: Staying Soft

Stay soft; it looks beautiful on you. 

A couple years ago as I sat in my bedroom confused and overwhelmed by the circumstances in front of me, I heard a little whisper. "Stay soft", it said. This little mantra of sorts has carried over into multiple seasons of my life. I was reminded of this phrase last summer after feeling as though life threw me a curveball in almost every direction. I knew I could justify feeling angry or bitter, but I'd been down that road before. And the only person I ended up hurting was myself. 

So this time, as I looked disappointment square in the face, I grabbed hold of the whisper and resolved to keep my heart soft and free from the entanglement of bitterness. This is much easier said than done, by the way. It wasn't a one time choice either; it was a series of small decisions over the course of several months. 

At some point a prayer rose up in my spirit - a prayer for my heart to remain soft. So each morning I prayed this prayer, sometimes desperately willing my heart to avoid being hardened, as though the clay was slowly drying and I had to heat it again to remain pliable and malleable. Softness opens so many possibilities, creates hope, and causes a natural beauty to surface that hardness could never achieve. 

I begin with an open heart, being honest about how I feel and what affects me, but then releasing it, handing it over to someone and something much bigger than me. This is both freeing and comforting. I wasn't made to carry too much weight, nor was I made to carry all the luggage alone. When I grab onto bitterness, it's as if I'm refusing to let someone else carry the bags for me; it creates more work and ultimately more pain. 

And the longer you hold on, the more wear your body and spirit endures, the more you become hard and closed off to those around you, and the less likely others are to enter in with you. As for me, I'd much rather journey with others, share the load, and wholeheartedly enjoy the freedom I was created for. 

There's a beauty in softness - a simple beauty that's both powerful and inviting. It's often the harder choice, but it's the wholehearted choice. 

I'm sure many of you reading have so many more reasons to be angry or bitter than I have. I realize the resolve to stay soft may mean facing the pain or the offender once again, opening wounds but then releasing them, allowing fresh air to breathe onto each place that's been hurt. But as one who's almost crossed over to the other side (this time at least), allow me to encourage you to stay soft, because dear friend, it looks beautiful on you.