I am laughing at myself right now because I chose “Follow Your Heart” as a title. It is possible that I watch too many Hallmark movies. At a dramatic climax which leaves me holding my breath (even though I know how it is going to end because, hello, its Hallmark), someone says, “You have to listen to your heart” or a creative alternative.
I smile because that sounds corny to me. Follow your heart? What does that even mean? I have found that sensible, logical thinking serves me well and prevents me from making emotional decisions. Anyone else?
Let me share with you what I went through last week and how I came to the conclusion that “follow your heart” is not as corny as I thought.
Follow your heart- not a Hallmark movie
I should put a disclaimer here. This story is not nearly as fun nor heartwarming as a fictional movie with carefully written characters. If only we had that kind of control over our lives. Can you imagine if we were able to write a script and people follow it? Haha! I’d make a mess of life, for sure!
Anyway, maybe you will glance back into your own story as you read this and understand places in which listening to your head did not serve you quite as well as you expected it to.
Every December since Rebekah was 3, I brought her to the local production of the Nutcracker. It is put on by our youthful talent and it is always beautiful. The music, the costumes, the dancers, we loved it all. Dinner before and snacks during intermission made it the perfect mother-daughter date.
Last December I was completely broken and sobbing every day. This December I am stronger, trying harder to be happy, and determined to give the boys a wonderful Christmas.
I also decided it was time for me to continue my tradition with Rebekah and attend the Nutcracker. We had several young friends performing whom I wanted to support, but mostly I wanted to remember the special times I’d had with her. I knew I couldn’t go alone and attached myself to one of the wonderful families in my life. I was ready.
Following your Heart is Hard
I cried the entire week before. I couldn’t decide if continuing the tradition was honoring her memory or reminding myself that she was gone. Would it be dishonoring her to go without her? The inner struggle took up my thoughts and the stress sapped my energy. I was tense, emotional, and anxious. My anxiety attacks came with a vengeance and all of my efforts to smile and keep home happy fell apart.
My mind and my heart were battling. My mind said it was time to remember Rebekah in happy settings. My heart still longed for what was. My mind insisted that I should be stronger, healthier, more able to handle things like this. It criticized my heart for being weak.
And all my heart could do was cry.
Heart Vs. Mind Debate
Have you ever had a heart vs. mind debate? I think our minds succumb to pressure. The pressure to be like everyone else, think a certain way and embrace an image that does not belong to us. We receive pressure from friends, family, and social media. We have society telling us how to raise our kids, what to eat, how to look, where to vacation, where to work, and what we should believe.
Before long we become critical of ourselves. Why aren’t we volunteering? Why am I staying at home and not contributing to the finances? Why would I homeschool when we have such great public schools in this area?
At this point, our hearts are trying to be heard. They attempt to tell us their reasoning, their convictions, how we really feel. Sometimes we listen. Occasionally we force ourselves to believe something we don’t. How often have we hushed our hearts because our minds thought we should embrace something different about ourselves?
Follow Your Heart: The Right Decision in the End
In the end, I did follow my heart and decided not to go. It was the right choice. The tears slowed and the anxiety reduced.
I went to the cemetery and explained it all to Rebekah. The sun was shining and reflecting off the snow. The Christmas decorations we had carefully pushed into the frozen ground smiled and glittered.
I had learned that I’m not as strong as I thought nor am I as healed as my mind thinks I should be. And you know what?
Where are you, friends? Do you battle within yourself? Have you tried listening to your heart?
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