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Keep Taking Care of Your Heart - Advice from Aunt Susie



A few weeks ago, I was able to visit with my dad's side of my family for a day to celebrate a late Christmas. My aunt, Susie, is full of incredible wisdom, and as we were saying goodbye, she whispered in my ear something that I cannot stop thinking about.


She told me to keep taking care of my heart.


And when she said that, my eyes were immediately filled with tears. That hit hard in that moment, and even now as I'm thinking about it.....I'm speechless, honestly.


Because how often do we really go deep, really take a vulnerable look and take care of our hearts? We focus so much on the outside stuff of our lives (like dating, school, friends, church, sports, our appearance, etc), and too often, we don't focus enough on the inside stuff. We don't take the time to think about how we're healing and hurting, what we're learning and how we're growing. We don't check in on our emotions and why we actually feel a certain way. We aren't very gentle with ourselves, even though we're all a work in progress, all processing and struggling in our own way. And we very rarely open up to Jesus about those things and trust Him with all the emotions we've stuffed down. We struggle to surrender the pain we've been holding onto so that He can truly heal us.


Our world preaches at us to practice self care and take care of ourselves, but at this point, is your self care routine diving deep and learning about yourself? Is it helping you process where you're at mentally and emotionally? Is it doing the hard work to keep your soul healthy, instead of bitter and hurting and drained? Most importantly, is it drawing you near to Jesus? Is it pushing you into a deeper surrender and trust in your Father?


Sweet girl, pause. Breathe.


Allow yourself to feel whatever you're feeling in this moment and create space to reflect on how you're really doing. Create space to reflect on the condition of your heart.


And as you're learning and figuring out where you're really at, don't stop there. Think about what a healthy heart means to you, and then incorporate more of that in your life. Think about where you need to grow, and how you can start doing that every single day. As I was reflecting on this, I wrote down these questions: what brings me joy and fills my soul? What does my heart crave? My answers ended up being really simple and brought me back to the little things I love, like early mornings with Jesus, sunrises, laughter, taking a million pictures, moving my body, writing, deep talks, and no phone time. My answers reminded me of who I am - a daughter of Christ, setting my mind on things above - and the millions of little blessings God has specifically placed in my life. Those are the things that truly fill me, and who knows, maybe that's the same for you.

 

I feel like it's important to mention that this is very different from "self care". As we're learning how to take care of our hearts, the point isn't so we're "happy" or "loving ourselves". The point is to draw near to Jesus, let Him heal us, so that we can glorify Him in every way possible. It's deeper than self care, because we're literally working side by side with the Savior and creator of this world to make sure that we are honoring Him with our hearts, so that we can honor Him with everything else. It's slowing down to seek the Lord and surrender our entire being to Him so that He can heal us and work through us. It's not really about us; it's about what God is doing in and through us.

 

I'm learning a lot through all of this, but one of the biggest things is how this is not a quick fix, one and done situation. When we're working on keeping our body healthy, it takes work and consistency. You can't work out and eat healthy one day and expect to be set for the rest of your life. In the same way, as we're learning to keep our heart healthy, it's a continual journey. It takes effort every single day to make choices that will help us thrive. We won't always be perfect - sometimes we stuff our emotions too much or lose sight of why we have to take care of our heart or make mistakes - but that's apart of the process. What's important is that you are learning and letting Jesus work in you and teach you what being healthy, from the inside out, truly looks like.


And as we do that, we will begin to see the transformation take place. This transformation never really ends, but is continual for the rest of our lives. We will start to see the incredible ways God heals us, frees us, and uses us to encourage others with our journey as well. We will learn a new definition of "healthy" as we include God in the health of our hearts and our bodies. We will know Jesus in a new, deeper way, and oh, how beautiful that is.

 

Friends, I genuinely feel like my mindset had completely changed after Susie told me to keep taking care of my heart. I've drawn near to Jesus in new ways than before, and while this growth is not linear, it's not easy, it's happening, and it's only by the grace of God. And I am so thankful for that.


What does having a healthy heart look like for you? I'd love to hear down in the comments below!




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