The Gift of Living in Tension with Heartache
There is great pain in trying to be authentic, living in the tension of family, work, faith, hobbies, and other responsibilities in a way that reflects who we want to be. The pain of not being with the people we most love is inevitable.
From time to time, we all need some suggestions for how to live out our passions in this world, but too often we try to circumvent the pain of living in a broken world with strategies for success. But unless we have our hearts, all our strategies will be meaningless.
To “have our hearts,” we must be engaged in an ongoing and intimate relationship with ourselves. This has many facets:
• Knowing how our past affects our present
• Being aware of our emotions
• Recognizing more and more the profound work of the spiritual, and our response to it.
• Identifying how our unique styles of relating impede our relationships with God and others.
• Most of all, having our hearts speaks of the mysterious process by which, having recognized our powerlessness and yielded our hearts back over to God, we find—to our surprise—that we have more of what we gave away in the first place: We have our hearts.
Our willingness to live in the midst of heartache with a deep awareness of our feelings, needs, desires, longings, and hopes is essential for authentic personhood. When we live this way, we find that we get to the end of ourselves pretty quickly. Practicing the art of being human means that we acknowledge our willingness and desire to be transformed and our utter powerlessness to do anything worthwhile about it on our own. That is the beginning of being a person.
Are you tired of following the rules for success and feeling empty?
How can you practice being human today?
Stephen James, MA, LPC-MHSP, NCC, is the Executive Director of Sage Hill Counseling in Nashville, TN. He is also a best-selling author of five books, including Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys. He is active in training other mental health professionals as well as to speaking to audiences around the country on the topics of living fully, servant leadership, family relationships, and spiritual authenticity.