Did you know that February is American Heart Month?  While it is predominantly focused on promoting a healthy lifestyle for your physical heart, I feel it can be stretched further in how our heart affects our relationships as well! How appropriate with Valentine’s Day around the corner!

In relationships, I am aware of how much we hold onto hurt, resentments, and offenses that keep our friends, family members, or partners at an arms’ distance. We may take on other’s judgments and believe them as if they are true. Or we may hold onto our own judgments of others. This can leave us pretty devastated when we don’t know how to filter what others believe about us that leads to walls. This can lead to an unforgiving spirit which is only poison to us.

We may try to win approval by pleasing one another and it backfires on us when they don’t respond favorably. Approval seeking I believe is a hidden trap of the enemy as we have made people our idol to gain love and approval. We can get so tired of over pleasing that we feel unenergized and despondent. I actually see this pattern a lot with people and know it is rooted in a lack of confidence in one’s true identity.

I like to refer to a children’s book titled You Are Special by Max Lucado. It’s not just for children, but for everyone as the message is so powerful. He describes a wood maker who made wooden people that were all carved out of his loving hands.  Punchinello was one of wooden people that went through life collecting multiple dots when he made mistakes or did something stupid. One of the people named Lucia didn’t have any dots on her which began to bring much concern to Punchinello.

He acquired about her to the wood maker feeling quite dismayed that she didn’t collect any dots. The wood maker replied that she had decided that what I think matters more than what others think of her. He said that she comes to me every day and is able to receive how much I care about her.  This is such a great illustration of how much God loves us and never judges our mistakes. If we regularly come to Him to tell us who we are, other people’s judgments just bounce off of us.

I know I have done some foolish things in my past and have judged myself harshly when others were offended.  I have to learn to not collect dots from the darts thrown at me or darts I throw at myself. Rather I need to go to God and hear what HE says about me. Without practicing this way of dealing with harsh judgments, we can build up resentments that only hurt us.

As we enter this new era of 2021, let’s not hold onto any hurts that will limit us from being the person with the character that is ready to embrace the challenges ahead.