I am a very emotional person. I guess it can be said that I wear my heart on my sleeve. I’m very passionate. If I’m happy, my body will beam with happiness. If I’m sad, you can see it written on my face. It takes a lot to get me angry, but when I’m angry, it is evident. I also get my feelings hurt extremely easily and often retreat and “shell” myself when that happens.

In an effort to understand myself and stop shelling myself from the people who love me, I decided to look at Jesus. This is how I see it. Jesus wore His heart on His sleeve. He fed the poor, He healed the sick, He raised the dead, He befriended murderers, prostitutes, thieves, the worst of the worst. Was He offended when He was mocked and ridiculed? Did He ever throw His hands up and say, “God, these people are too much for Me. You deal with them!” No, He did not. He stayed the course because of the incredible love He has for others. He wasn’t selfish in the slightest at any point, He didn’t care how much His own heart might be pierced. He cared about saving the hearts of those He loved — each and every one of us.

So, I thought, what lesson does this teach me? Is it okay to wear your heart on your sleeve? This makes me be very transparent, open, or forthright about my emotions. What I decided was to ask God to allow me to live more like the image in which I was made. Some people may be confused by this request, but I’ll explain. I’ve been down in the dumps, at the bottom of the barrel. I wanted to help others who were hurting, just the way I was hurting. I wanted to have compassion for people, and the only way this was possible was to expose myself just like Jesus. We were made in His image. At no point did He retreat and shell. Neither should I.

There’s also a lot of pain in that request. In order for me to feel empathy for others, at some point in my life, I would have to experience what they had, good and bad. This requires me to put myself out there, wear my heart on my sleeve, make myself vulnerable. Others cringe at the idea of exposing themselves, putting their heart on the line in fear it will be broken to pieces. But if I’m willing to live for God, in His image, it may require me to shed some tears, experience some heartaches, jump through hoops. If all of that gives me the opportunity to share with YOU, I’ll do it.

If I wear my heart on my sleeve, I hold nothing back from anyone. I love to show how much I love others! How much I enjoy praying for them and seeing them through difficult times! Most of all, I love to see God manifested in their lives! It helps me believe that everyone has a unique story and they are deeply loved by God, just like I am.

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart, my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:26)

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