Category Archives: Heart

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To Change

For the majority of my life, I’ve felt drawn to change. Not the dye-my-hair-every-season type of change, but a voracious hunger for new surroundings, new roles to explore, new relationships to replace old. I moved across the city, the country, the world; I changed majors, I changed career paths; I tried new hobbies, I entered new communities. I considered it courageous—to be able to let go of familiar and explore new. Looking back, I realize I often sought a change in avoidance of my need to change. My journey was toward a place to belong. When asked, “Where’s home?” I’d

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Your Heart is Your Home

Imagine making your home at the office, waking up in the morning on a couch in the place you do business, where you greet other people who awaken where they work and live too. You go to the restroom down the hall to rinse your face and use the stall to relieve yourself. You return to the break room, make coffee. Then, back to the office to read your one-minute motivational material from a pocket-sized book of promises, while eating yogurt, fruit, and granola in the room where you slept.  Afterwards, you move on to standing and stretching to maintain

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I’m Sorry

What do you say when you don’t know what to say? What can be said that helps when you are presented with another person’s loss, pain, grief, and struggle? When we are presented with pain over which we are powerless to repair, the words that truly fit the circumstance are, “I’m sorry.”  We can offer a person our sorrow, the identifying pain that says, “I deeply wish that this struggle were not yours, and I offer you my care.” "I'm sorry" can be the words that hold a person’s heart for a moment.     We do not usually believe the words,

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The Wheel of Functioning

A primary responsibility of a healthy family system is to help develop children into capable human beings. Two hallmark expressions of the emotionally and spiritually capable human being are the ability to work and to love, i.e., to be able to live fully in relationship with others and God. To work and love successfully requires the development of resilience and empathy, and the capacity to receive and give.    Though somewhat oversimplified, healthy development occurs when the child reaches out towards the parent(s) for relational connection with their primary needs of belonging and mattering, and the parent reaches back with affirmation

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What is Maturity?

As an external description, maturity is the evidence of reaching full natural growth or development. As an internal description, maturity is the emotional and relational capability of living fully and loving deeply while experiencing life on life’s terms. By being able to need well and truthfully, we grow up from the roots of getting our needs met first, into producing fruit as a natural outcome of having our needs met. We see who we are created to be, so we can do what we are created to do.     Concerning maturity as an internal experience and process, a person can reach

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Works in Progress

The best we will ever become is Works in Progress (WIPs). No matter what we do, we will always be like giraffes running on ice — clumsy. Our dreams really will always exceed our grasp, no matter how perfect our plans. I believe that God likes that we dream. We carry eternity in our hearts according to Ecclesiastes. God loves for us to rise up against gravity, so to speak, even though we are coming back down.  Even so, perfection—the idea that I can defeat gravity—seems so much better than the inevitable WIP status. The best we will ever become

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Mattering

The need to belong is met by having a place where you can be yourself, in all the struggles that entails. A place where you can be accepted as you share and deal with feelings, needs, desire, longings, and hope. You belong when you know that you can be celebrated in joyful times and grieved over in times of loss. Belonging affirms your worth as a person. The need to matter is met through being appreciated for your own individual giftedness—what is born into us, and is developed. The gifts are an active expression of what you naturally are drawn

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Belonging

A famous rock star said that she never felt more alone than after a performance in front of thousands of admirers. After the performance ended, she had no one to turn to who met her need to belong. Heroin became her closest companion and the counterfeit experience of belonging. Her companion eventually killed her. Belonging is the need to be accepted for who we are as emotional and spiritual creatures. The need to belong is one of our two most powerful needs. The other is our need to matter. Belonging is the need to be accepted for who we are

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Created to Need

What is a need? To put it as starkly as possible, needs are deficits that require biological, emotional and spiritual gratification for fulfillment. Deficit fulfillment keeps us fully alive. Needs have to be gratified to be alive. The specific needs we have are the tools we have been given that open us to healing, recovery, replenishment, and the capacity to give. Beyond food, water, shelter, and clothing, our needs are predominantly emotionally and spiritually oriented and fulfilled. In fact, the emotional and spiritual primary needs of belonging and mattering are practically equal to the need for food and water. A

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Empathy and the Heart of Us

What makes facing and knowing our own hearts so vital? The heart is the record-keeper of our life’s emotional and spiritual experiences. It is our “life-lived memory.” Out of it we remain compassionate and generous, truthful and confessional, humble and celebratory. By facing and knowing our hearts we can even make very painful and difficult decisions, like knowing when to let go with love and grieve, or facing the great need to make reconciliation through forgiving or being forgiven for harms done. The heart is the record-keeper of our life’s emotional and spiritual experiences. By facing and knowing our own

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