The heart of the human being often becomes a rejected treasure that children begin to hide when they do not experience themselves as pursued and affirmed. This common experience is a great sadness. When the heart is experienced as the enemy of the child, then God, too, can become intuitively and improperly feared, distrusted, or given up. If one’s expressions of feelings, needs, desire, longings, and hope are distrusted, showing our selves to others and God will likewise be distrusted. That is, approval of God and others will matter more to the child than the love of God and others.
If caregivers do not attend to the emotional and spiritual makeup of the child, the child tends towards rejection of their own hearts. Life is plenty hard enough without the child not having a place of refuge at home (refuge doesn’t mean perfect place; it means safe place). Self-rejection means disavowing the emotional and spiritual creature God created. The child mistakenly concludes: “How I was created in heart must be a mistake.” We start to use our thinking to construct walls to hide a discredited and distrusted heart.
We begin to find our worth in performance, or externally valued behaviors, rather than simply being present in our hearts with others and God. Religious schemas can be an especially insidious way to hide a relational need of God through performance, rather than recognizing that ritual is a structure in which we are to pour the fullness of our hearts.
As a poor replacement for being fully present with God and others, we perform for love. We begin to perform for God and others in a way that establishes a painful paradox: that which we do to earn the right to be accepted takes us farther and farther away from how we were created by God.
The truth is that God created us to be present with our hearts, not to perform to gain a right to become who we are created to become. Remember that Abraham and Mary responded to God’s calling with a simple statement: “Here I am.” True behavioral expression, or true performance, is to be an outgrowth of inner-presence. We are created to bring God’s creation of heart and our freedom to express our hearts to the presence of relationship. Love is not earned; it is joined when we are present in heart. It is experienced this way.
We cannot earn permission to become ourselves.
We have to reclaim our God-created freedom to say what we see, feel, need, desire, long and hope. We began life expressing our hearts, long before we began to hide our hearts. It is a great sadness that so many of us reject the treasure we were born with. Even a greater grief is that many of us never step into the presence of knowing the difference. How much gets missed that we can have?