I am so proud of my daughter. Since Christmas she has been learning to play the guitar. She’s a Dramatic and has always taken good care of her nails, but has had to sacrifice their length for her new passion to play the strings. After having long nails for so long, the tips of her fingers were even more sensitive than most people’s. It took a tenacious heart to pursue her dream to make music, but now she has developed calluses where there once was soft tissue. Now what used to be painful is becoming even more of a pleasure.
A callus is often formed over a wound. It’s the body’s way of guarding itself from repeated pain. This thick, tough skin can serve as a reminder of something we have been through–kind of like scars stretch marks and wrinkles do. But more typically a callus is formed because a certain area has been irritated, under a lot of friction, or simply used a lot.
Our hearts can be like our fingertips, and a callus on either can keep us from harm so that we can do good things–like play the guitar or continuing in helping others even when they do not understand or appreciate us. Take, for example, a husband’s irritating habits or inconsiderate comments. After a while, if the wife patiently focuses on her love for him, these things will no longer bother her and their “music” will not suffer. Or how about the teen who is continuously criticized by her peers and condemned by her parents? If she can look through their judgments and see that her friends may be rude and unkind because they are jealous or insecure and her parents may be harsh and unfair because they love her and fear loosing her then she can continue to pursue her dreams with confidence.
But tough skin can also keep you from good things and make you numb to the things you were meant to feel–like the heat you are cooking with or the love of God. Maybe you don’t relate to this, but recently (and repeatedly) I became aware (again) of my ignorance to how deep and wide God’s love is for me. I have never had a problem believing how much He loves you, but having been brought up in a healthy and godly home and spending all of my life very involved in church and ministry I tend to forget that His unconditional love is for me, too. It’s not that I doubt it, it’s just that I keep taking on this ungrateful, “Yea, yea, of course He does,” attitude. In my arrogant faith, I have become callused to the most precious sensation there is: the amazing grace of the One who knows my every weakness and failure and loves me anyway.
I pray you are sensitive to the fact that He loves you like that, too, because when we keep our hearts from becoming callused to His love, we are far more able to continue playing with joy through the things that irritate us.
Catrina Welch is an image- and life-coach whose message is not as much “what not to wear” as it is, “Know Who You Are,” which is the title of her book of guidelines for your personal image identity. Catrina has also written a Bible study to help women overcome their confidence conflicts; it is titled Supreme MakeOver: a Rich and Refreshing Devotional Experience. Her other books include Footprints Through the Sand: a Consolidation of Life-altering stories about Loving and Losing a Trisomy-18 Baby and Confident Beauty: Reflecting the One Who Made You with the Images in Your Mirror and Your Soul, which will be available in book stores this spring. All of these books are available now at www.CatrinaWelch.com