Imperfect Hearts

Any candy heart fans out there? I recently learned that people have very strong opinions about conversation hearts. Apparently it’s a “love it” or “hate it” thing—kind of like cilantro. 

I am a fan of Valentine’s Day conversation hearts, the traditional, chalky ones. (Ok, that description is not the most appealing, like the name “meat loaf”—the food, not the person). I’m mainly attracted to them because of the nostalgia they provide, but I also genuinely enjoy the taste. 

My objection to them is how they always look messed up. Inevitably, in each little box, you’ll find a handful of pristine, perfectly-printed conversation hearts with sayings that aren’t completely absurd. The rest are splotchy, off-centered, and unintelligible—if they’re even printed on at all.

As I was judging the seasonal confectionery treat, I realized I have a lot in common with these little bits of love. I, like the candy hearts, rarely have my pristine moments. Most of the time I too am splotchy (figuratively and literally; who needs make-up during a pandemic?). I’m frequently unintelligible and off-centered.

For some reason, we all buy into the lie that perfection is an ideal our neighbor has reached. It’s confirmed by Instagram posts, Pinterest pins, and our favorite podcaster. It seems everyone chases the dream, lives the life, celebrates the victories. But what if that’s not you? What if your life seems like a dumpster fire? What if it seems like you’re in a season of trial after unending trial, desperately wanting a break but hearing the refrain, “No rest for the weary” on a loop inside your head?

If that’s you, I urge you: Sit. Rest. Be encouraged by the words of Jesus:

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  – Matthew 11:28-30

I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” – John 16:33

“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Don’t let your heart be troubled or fearful.” – John 14:27

God knows we can’t be perfect. He knows the days we’re barely making it, the days we feel like the candy heart with just a red blob imprinted on the top. Not only does God know, He delights in that weakness, because when we are weak, He is strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-11). 

As we begin a new month, I pray over you the words of Paul in Romans 15:13:

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Now, gobble up those candy hearts—the good and the bad ones. 

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