The absence of cable TV and a propensity to listen only to Christian radio often leads me to be a couple of steps behind pop culture. Seriously, it if it weren’t for Glee, I wouldn’t have heard of Lady Gaga or her music. My sweet sorority sisters and I still laugh about the moment, when at my friend’s wedding in the fall of 2009, I jumped up emphatically shrieking about the fact that the DJ was playing Beyonce’s newest sensation called Single Ladies. Only after I bought the CD did I find out the song was at least a year old.
But back to the point… a week or so ago, an awesome and new song came across my Pandora station. As I clicked over to give it a thumbs up, I noticed it was called Hold My Heart and was performed by Sara Bareilles, a singer/songwriter, who I very much like. Sara’s voice, the melody and the chorus combined into something which I have crooned over and over to myself since the initial interaction and has spurred me to come here and ramble/share about an important lesson I learned in recent years. The song paired with my church’s current sermon series and a couple of years of additional reflection and practice have led me to the time where I feel compelled to share.
Simply put, I am annoyingly romantic. As a girl who didn’t date much in high school or college, I have had a lot of time to fantasize and scheme up the ways things should be done. When I became a Christian, I was elated! First, Jesus would love me and nurture me. He’d figuratively hold my heart in His hands until, through spiritual growth, it would grow strong. And then when that happened, he would provide a husband who he could pass my heart along to. The visual picture of Him carefully passing my heart on to tan, man hands (inside joke) was vivid to me and I carried this with me as I sailed through the last few year of college and came to Seattle to work. I met a lot of smart, handsome, and nice men but things didn’t really work out because they either weren’t interested in Jesus and/or me. At times, I questioned whether something was wrong with me because I had seriously imposed upon myself the idea that love was an “if, then” statement where “If I really loved Jesus and shaped up, then (and only then) would He provide me with a husband”.
I wish I could say I came upon a revelation after spiraling into manic depression. Instead, in the midst of my skewed thought life, I met a boy who liked Jesus and liked me. We dated and things got serious. As our relationship grew, I talked at (not with) Jesus a lot. First, I apologized for growing impatient. Second, I thanked him for bringing me spiritually to a point where I was deemed ready to date. And then, I started tapping my foot in expectation. Dating was new and exciting and I truly enjoyed the time spent with my boyfriend. The rhythm we developed of going to church together, going on double dates and planning outings was sweet. As I prayed for him, I would pray that Jesus would bless us and that we would be married, recalling upon the transfer of my heart as I did so.
Anyone who’s dated (honestly) knows that it’s an awesome and hard process some times. As the boyfriend and I approached months three or four, we started to rub against each other. When we had started to date, I had joked about our differences. I was a “yes” girl. He naturally said “no” first. I was an early bird while he was a night owl. I liked country music and he somehow listened to something that resembled techno. Over time, our differences became points of contention. I was disappointed but resolved that relationships were hard and I just needed to ride the wave and be more open-minded. Expecting a perfect relationship with an inherently sinful human was illogical, right? Still, I wondered what Jesus had in store for me. Finally, on a car ride with the boyfriend, I turned to him and suddenly said, “You know what? For the longest time, I thought that Jesus was going to pass possession of my heart over to my husband but the more I think about it, I realize that when that time comes for me, Jesus is going to hold my heart together with my husband’s. My heart will always rest in the palms of Jesus. That’s the only way it will be safe, the only way it will be beautiful.”
The boyfriend was really kind and agreed with my observation. Meanwhile, I was floored, relieved, and a little embarrassed. While the boyfriend and I parted ways a couple of months after that, I found a lot of comfort in the fact that Jesus is the answer to Sara’s question:
Does anyone know how to hold my heart?
More than that, I am thankful that Jesus will hold it lovingly and perfectly until the day when He brings His right hand to his left and there will be another heart which He has been waiting in anticipation for mine to be held with. I have no doubt that it will be immeasurably more than even I, an annoying romantic, could hope for or imagine.
Psalm 28:7 ESV |
The LORD is my strength and my shield;
in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults,
and with my song I give thanks to him.