I have a question for you. “What deep needs are your current circumstances bringing to your attention?” (We’re pondering this one at the ACTS House.) And here’s another one. What are you feeling right this minute after reading the first question? Just wondering…anything stirring inside? Do you even know what you need…or what you feel when you think about what you need? Just asking….

For some reason, we’re embarrassed by our need for whatever it is we either do or don’t know we need. It’s not culturally correct. It seems so weak. Who wants to be that high maintenance? So we pretend that we don’t need anything or anyone. We’re just fine, thank you.

Even when we do know what we need, we hate like everything to admit it. Or we may honestly have no earthly idea what we need. Somewhere along the way we learned not to talk about our deep needs, and certainly not to ask for what we needed. Nobody told us it was OK. We never learned how. We learned instead how to not have any needs at all. Or at least try not to.

But… if you’re willing to be honest, to pay attention and listen, you might just hear your deepest needs expressed in the buried cries of your heart. For some it will sound like distant groans and whimpers of longings too deep for words. For others, a screaming tantrum may signal the unmet needs and wounds of a little child. Most will notice sighs of grief over life’s losses, disappointments, and injustices. And, a few will hear the deafening silence of a heart that has already lost hope of its needs, desires, and dreams ever being realized.

Our hearts are so important, but we don’t always value them for what they’re worth. We’re more prone to value intellect. It seems so much more practical to lead with the head than the heart. But… the Bible calls the heart “the well-spring of life.” It also says that God’s wisdom instructs the heart, not the head. Maybe we should pay more attention to it. It takes courage, though… that undaunted kind we talked about last week.

I have found that journaling helps me pay attention to what’s going on inside. Putting pen to paper gives me something to do while I’m trying to “be still and know that God is God.” It helps me focus. It’s a way to connect with my own heart and with God’s… and it has a way of satisfying some of my deepest needs for connection, intimacy, and the safety to be honest, real, and raw. It can be a way of satisfying the deep need of every heart: to be heard and valued.

Give it a try. Be still and listen to your heart. Notice your thoughts and feelings, and ask God to give you the words to describe what you notice. See what ends up on the page and value what you’ve written. Maybe you’ll be surprised by how nice it feels to pay attention to your own heart. Maybe you’ll realize what you need for the first time in your life. Maybe that need to be heard and valued will finally be satisfied. So… go ahead. Be undaunted. Unbridle your heart and let it speak. It has so much to tell you….

Love Julie

(See Proverbs 4:23; Psalm, 16:7; Psalm 46:10)