Tenderness

You have gotten to know Blog me. Blog me is bold and sarcastic. Blog me is silly and confident. Blog me says what it means and doesn’t apologize. Blog me is funny. While this is very much a part of Regular me, there is a part of Regular me that tends to get lost in the posting and publishing shuffle.

Despite my sarcastic and sometimes biting humor, I am sweet. Despite my brash jokes, I am gentle. Despite my confidence, I can be incredibly timid. Despite my harsh teasing, I feel deeply. I am – above anything else that I am – tender. It doesn’t show up on my blog but it often doesn’t show up in real life either.

I don’t like admitting my tenderness. It’s much easier to joke than it is to feel. It is much easier to tease than it is to empathize. It is much easier to be confident than to be broken. It’s much easier to be fun and carefree than it is to be the one whose heart breaks at the sight of another’s pain. It is not an easy task, to be tender hearted.

But I am. Oh but I am.

Sometimes I feel defective. I feel that my heart shouldn’t ache like it does. It’s not sadness. It isn’t darkness. It’s an ache. It’s a sigh. It’s a groan. I see the mess. I see the what-could-have-beens. I see the sadness. More than anything, I want to see it restored. I yearn to see it redeemed. I want to sit and rearrange all of the broken pieces until somehow they are formed into something beautiful. I want to fix it. I want to make it all better. I want to take the hurts of others away.

My heart weighs heavy when I think of all of the people in my life who are hurting. I take it on. I feel too deeply until the burdens of others become my own burdens. Their pain becomes my pain. Their tears become my tears. I am thankful for people who recognize this in me and ever so gently help nudge me into reality. They tell me that it is good and beautiful to feel. It is good to help. It is good to support. But I am not them. I am me. There is nothing wrong with me. But I am tender. And tenderness is beautiful.

It is not my job to fix. I can’t mend brokenness. I can’t heal wounds. I can’t ease any pain. I can’t restore that which has been destroyed. I can’t redeem anything. I can’t lift the burdens off of someone’s back.

But thankfully, I know Someone who can.

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29 thoughts on “Tenderness

  1. Not sure how I missed this one Amanda, but somehow I did. Sorry.

    Awesome post. I was just having a discussion about some of this with one of my Home Groups last week and was telling them about the freedom that comes with realizations such as this one, “It is not my job to fix. I can’t mend brokenness. I can’t heal wounds. I can’t ease any pain. I can’t restore that which has been destroyed. I can’t redeem anything. I can’t lift the burdens off of someone’s back. But thankfully, I know Someone who can.”.

    As someone with the same tendency towards tenderness It’s frustrating sometimes when you show all the love you’re able to to someone, but nothing seems to help. We need to remember that while we are commanded to love our neighbors as ourselves, it’s up to God to be the “lifter of their heads” as He sees fit and His ways are our ways. :)

  2. Crazy good. One of my favorite quotes is by Billy Graham “It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge and my job to love.”

    Perfection. As long as I remember.

  3. Yet another reason we are kindred spirits. I remember watching Hotel Rwanda and feeling such a deep ache in my soul. The pain in this world makes my heart ache is a heavy heavy way. It’s why I often avoid watching the news. And in the midst of this unique heart pain, I often think, “Gosh, if I feel this way about people I don’t even know, I can only imagine how God must feel.”

    I LOVED your closing line of this post.

    Also, blog me is way more sarcastic and confident and well-spoken than real me.

  4. Tenderheartedness is a good thing.

    I love the story of Moses. When he was 40 years old, he felt it was his calling and job to rescue the Israelites from bondage single handed. He even killed someone in the process. And the amazing part is… he was right to feel it was his calling! But it wasn’t his strength that was going to get the job done. Just imagine what a bloody revolution it would have been if Moses had done it all in his own strength.

    At 80 years old, when his life is basically over (see Psalm 90, written by Moses), _that’s_ when God starts. Wow. And all Moses has to do is speak and raise his staff a few times. :-)

    So loving my neighbour as myself isn’t some huge impossible task. Who is my neighbour? It’s the person right in front of me, right now, with a need that I can meet, whether he is my enemy or not. And all I have to do is meet that need, with the supply that I have, right now. I don’t have to worry about tomorrow. In fact, I’m specifically told _not_ to worry about tomorrow.

    Sometimes it means giving money. Sometimes giving time. Sometimes labour. And sometimes it’s just listening.

    Somehow, that takes a lot of pressure off, while still leaving lots of room for tenderness.

  5. Thank you for this beautiful post. I am a counselor who works with kids, often the tender, soft-hearted kids are the ones who find themselves seeking help for their pain and yearn to feel less. But I’m going to print this off and share it with them. Tenderness is as important as strength or humor.

  6. Just lovely. I heard someone once describe certain personalities as sponges–they absorb what others are feeling, be it good or bad. I sometimes find myself sad or anxious for no reason I can name, and then I realize I have sponged up somebody else’s emotion. I don’t see it as a bad thing, so long as I’m aware. When I’m not aware, though, it can be crippling. But I would so much rather feel deeply–even the bad– than feel nothing at all. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Oh, darlin’. Know that you are beautiful. This piece is beautiful and raw and poetic and perfect. There are those of us in the world who were born to feel a little bit more, absorb that little bit extra so that we can change it. The world, I mean.

    And you do that. One word at a time.

    With help from Someone. All is as it should be.

  8. This is definitely timely. Sometimes I find myself overwhelmed by all of the pain and brokeness in the world. It seems that I can’t go a week without finding out that another family friend is ill, another marriage destroyed, another job lost… I found myself just last week telling a friend, “it’s just all too much. There are too many just causes; too many wrongs to right.”

    I want to make it all better. I want to dry all of the tears. I want to trade places, to give up whatever it is that I have that another does not, to mediate the circumstances, but often I cannot.

    It hurts, but it’s supposed to. It indicates that we’re alive and, more importantly, we’re aware. We haven’t numbed ourselves to the injustices of the world, to the sin, to the destruction– to the ever-present need of a Savior.

    Experiencing that ache, that heavy heartedness, that concern– it’s all a symptom of living life without apathy. It’s a beautiful and worthwhile risk– living with passion.

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