Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~Soul Pep Talk~ May 20, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 9:53 am
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Does anyone besides me pay particular attention to people’s faces as you cross paths?  Whether it be driving past on the roads or brushing by in the grocery store, I am always drawn to people’s expressions…more specifically, their eyes.

It is quite true that the eyes are the window to one’s soul.  Someone may plaster on the most convincing smile but if you look beyond the pearly whites, you see something else entirely. I know personally that when I am attempting to “hide” my emotions, I won’t make eye contact for too long for fear that someone will see the truth.  Allowing people to see what’s behind that smile would mean having to deal with the junk that you are trying desperately to repress.

I often pass people in close proximity in our town because the roads are narrow and the traffic moves relatively slow.  This morning, as I neared an intersection, a lady coming from the opposite direction caught my attention.  I didn’t know her, didn’t recall seeing her before, but her face gripped my heart.  You could see the anguish in her expression.  I locked eyes with her as we passed and tossed her a smile.  She made a halfhearted effort to smile back but the truth was still in her eyes.  Immediately the words of Psalm 42 came to mind, “Why, my soul, are you downcast?  Why so disturbed within me?”  This lady was hurting.  It is highly unlikely that I will ever know what was causing such distress in her life but how many times have I seen a similar look in the eyes of someone I can reach and chose to look the other way?  How many times have I been the one attempting to hide behind a phony grin?

The next verse from Psalm 42 speaks directly to the soul, “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my savior and my God.”  How I wish I could have conveyed that message to the unknown woman at the intersection of 4th & Monroe.  But since I cannot, let me speak to your soul & mine.

Regardless of what is causing the sadness in your eyes, we have a hope that surpasses all understanding.  Let your soul find rest in the peace that comes from knowing that the God of angel armies is always working towards your best interest.  He will make a way in the wilderness.  He will provide when the resources have run dry.  He will bring clarity when your mind has you frustrated & confused.  He will take the shattered pieces of your heart and make it whole again.  He longs to see your soul restored and the glimmer return to your eyes, that’s how deep His love for you runs.

Be kind to yourself today and if the opportunity presents itself, share a soul pep talk with someone who may need it even more than you or they may realize.4037a947ef493dca6300b14eb9eb0fe7

 

~Look Beyond the Smile~ February 24, 2014

“Hi, how are you?”

“Fine, and you?”

“Just fine.”

Hand shake, hug around the neck, smile and move on.

Sounds about right for a typical Sunday morning encounter at your local church, wouldn’t you say?

The trouble with this type of interaction is it oozes with “fakeness.”  It would be real easy for Christians to be satisfied with that blanket response that they will likely get from every person they greet in the congregation.  While some people may be just fine, the majority are lying.  It’s simpler to say that one little word than it is to be real with people.  Our job as ambassadors for Christ is to look beyond that pretty little, plastered on smile and see what’s going on inside the heart.

“Laughter might hide your sadness. But when the laughter is gone, the sadness remains.” (Proverbs 14:13 CEV)

This is why I urge you to pray for discernment when dealing with people within your sphere of influence.  Ask the Lord to show you signs of those who may be struggling and to give you the words to make them feel comfortable in opening up.  Pray that their hearts would not be hardened by whatever burden they are dragging around but that they’d be receptive to a listening ear and gentle spirit.

It breaks my heart to think of the many who walk around dying inside with the most beautiful smile on their face so no one ever suspects there’s turmoil just under the surface.  That’s why I always look at the eyes.  It’s the eyes that reveal sorrow and pain or true joy and happiness.

“Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have!”  (Matthew 6:22-23 The Message)

When you sense in your spirit that the one word response is phony, don’t be afraid to ask again, “Is everything ok?”  Sometimes people are giving you a simple answer because they don’t think you truly care but it may be that all it would take is a second time for them to see you are sincerely interested in their well-being.

And for the one who is hiding behind your “I’m fine” smile….stop it.  The next time someone expresses genuine concern for you, let them in so that you can quit wilting away on the inside.  God doesn’t want you to suffer in silence.  We were created to need other people.  And it is not a sign of weakness to reach out for help.  It takes more courage to seek counsel than it does to “tough it out” alone.fake smile

 *This is day 14 of our Book of Proverbs study.  Won’t you join us?!