The other day, I caught a glimpse of the thick, hardened callouses along the bottoms of my feet while wearing my Chaco’s (ya know, the good kind that don’t wrap around your big toes). I quickly looked away, my long hair snaking its way into my mouth during the process, proceeding to ask myself for the millionth time what on earth I am doing training for the OKC Memorial Marathon coming up… I looked at the tips of my fingers as I pulled the stray hairs out of my mouth. Same callouses, just smaller. Thanks guitar.

It was then that I was reminded that callouses form on the heart, too.

The physical definition of calloused is “made hard” or “hardened”. However, the secondary definition consists of adjectives such as “insensitive”, “indifferent”, “unsympathetic”…

Friends, I encourage you to not let circumstance harden you hearts. Past, present, or future. That exam you did poorly on, that boy that never notices you, that post you quickly scroll past on Instagram for whatever reasons, that extra roll that just won’t go away around your middle, that person that made you cry, that coworker that narrows their eyes when they look down on you, that bank account that makes you seriously reevaluate how you chose to spend the rest of your life, that parent that you can never seem to make happy, that friend that unintentionally did that thing that destroyed you, that sibling that you can’t help but constantly compare your life to, that family member that just won’t get better, that prayer that you’ve prayed almost a hundred times to no avail…

These things are all common circumstance. For many. You are not alone.

Circumstance holds the potential to have immeasurable power over your life. The good things that happen can do you good, but can also cause you detrimental harm when being worshiped by the competitive defense/guilt mechanism known all too well by way too many that steals our energy, focus, confidence, clarity, and joy. Likewise, the bad can be truly terrible, but the weight of what truly makes it terrible can strengthen us once we finally brace ourselves and lift it up to God.

You will be ever hearing but never understanding, you will ever be seeing but never perceiving. This person’s heart has become calloused…they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes… (Acts 28:26-27)

Calloused hearts find the bitter in what is sweet, and the dusk in what is light. Even when it isn’t easy to do so, forgive. Embrace. Love. Encourage. Restore. No circumstance is meant to keep us down. That pain of the past that you just can’t let go? Let it go.

We are made to rise. Be that radiant light. Defy the odds. Rise.

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