Just because you are functional, does not mean you are fine.

I attended a lovely women’s fellowship this past weekend.  It was a close, intimate gathering of women from all walks of life from the younger generation to senior women.

One thing that stood out to me – the common thread — the common theme uniting every woman in attendance that Saturday morning was this:

That behind every smile and every persona was pain.

Regardless of how she appeared to be when I first saw her sitting there…

Regardless of how she appeared to be when I saw her standing, talking, smiling walking around…

Regardless of her presentation there was some level of emotional pain or a hidden burden that she was carrying.

She could be your sister, your mother, your aunt, your grandmother, your cousin, your friend.

She could be and is very well likely – you.

The reality is that regardless of someone’s social media profile and pictures, you really don’t know what they are carrying.  You don’t know the pain behind that smile.  You don’t know what it cost them to smile for that picture.

And on the flip side of that, you don’t know the power and the strength that someone carries either.

None of this can be discerned by mere outward appearances.

This weekend just reinforced for me the following:

  1. When one woman opens up, is willing to be vulnerable and share her raw truth it opens the door and creates a safe space for other women to share. When that door is opened, the other women feel safe. Sadly, many go months and years without saying anything to anybody. Especially our senior women who have carried burdens for years.
  2. When women (or men for that matter) go too long carrying unprocessed pain and not speaking truth they become functionally dysfunctional.

In other words, as long as they are functioning they think they are fine.  However, when something big happens to rock their world or when they are exposed to another woman’s pain, all of a sudden their pain comes rising to the surface.

We default to a state of quiet pain, often because we feel like we have no choice.  We must survive and keep going.  We can’t afford to fall apart.  Our children and others are depending upon us to show up. Sometimes we are unaware of what is really going on inside of us and choose to live on the surface of our lives. We keep a certain wall or mask up because the pain is so deep and we do not want to touch it or expose it.

Toure’ Roberts, in his book Wholeness describes this as being in a state of “functional dysfunction”:

“What makes our brokenness even harder to detect is that we have learned to function with dysfunction.  It’s like using a crutch for a broken foot; as long as you have the crutch, you can still get around.  That doesn’t mean your foot is any less broken, but you might convince yourself that it’s fine because, hey, you’re still getting from one place to another, right? But the more functional we are with our dysfunction, the greater our self-deception. Why? Because we equate being functional with being fine.  That may work for a while, but not forever.  One day, the painful truth that all is not well will bring everything to a screeching halt…”

Just because you are functional with your broken heart, your wounds, the painful relationship situation, the desire of your heart that still has not yet manifested, the mother/father hurts or pains, previous abuse, abandonment, betrayal, or infidelity…just because you can smile, work, laugh, serve, show up and look good at it — doesn’t mean that you are whole.

For us to heal and become whole from the various things that happen in our lives requires that we do one foundational thing first:

Speak your truth. Tell it. Raw. Honest. Ugly. The Real.

It is the truth that sets us free.

Truth and honesty with one’s self about the pain and the burden is the key to personal wholeness.  Wholeness and integrity go hand in hand.  Integrity is taken from the word “INTEGER” which means a whole number – not a fraction or decimal.  To be whole means to first be integrous from the within and it all starts with self-awareness.

Self-awareness starts with having the courage and honesty to face the pain instead of repressing or avoiding it.  It begins with saying no to the lesser things (running and rushing about, partying, sexing, churching, busy work, drugs, alcohol) and saying yes to yourself and God.  It begins with letting go over spiritualizing, denying or minimizing the pain (“I’m so over him/it/the thing, “I’m fine”, I’m healed already”).

When we choose to live in denial, it is similar to sweeping the dirt under the rug.  I heard Minister Sam Blakes say one time – “What’s swept under the rug, is still in the house.”  We can sweep and hide our pain under our so-called rugs of being busy, staying all caught up, addictions and mindless activities, but it is still sitting right there in the house of our souls.

We cannot cure what we keep covered.  And a tiny little spiritual band-aid of a few prayers here and there won’t do it either.  As in the natural, so in the spiritual. Wounds must be exposed to heal correctly.

Self-Compassion is the key.  Allowing yourself feel difficult feelings so that you can heal right is crucial.  It is not compassionate to yourself to try not to cry when you know you need to cry; to be hard; to keep your guard up; to always be in control so that you are not vulnerable.

Instead of making you open to God’s love, the love of others and healing, lack of self-compassion and acknowledging your humanity only makes you hard-hearted.  Hard hearts cannot receive love.

Feeling your feelings but not staying stuck in them or making decisions from is the most compassionate, wise and loving thing that you can do for yourself.

And when you are healthy and whole, then everything else in your life tends to flow better.

I encourage you this week to become more aware of what is going on inside of you without pushing it away or distracting yourself.  Make a commitment to self-compassion.

Let’s walk wholehearted, healthy and free. No more functional dysfunction!





Issues of the Heart Pt. 1: How God Enlarges & Expands Our Hearts for Kingdom, Purpose & Love

(Mismanaging Your Heart Can Cost You!)

We think we are ready for love but the truth be told, our hearts are not ready to handle the weight of authentic partnership.  We are not emotionally and spiritually mature to have the capacity required to sustain and maintain the level of sacrifice, understanding, compassion and forgiveness that a real relationship requires.  Love is not a mere feeling.  It is not tingly feelings, longings, desires, sexual attraction and arousal.  People say that “Love is not blind”.  Not so! Real love is very aware and full of light and knowledge.  Why? Because God is love and the last time I checked, God is not blind!  This means that love is not illogical, nonsensical, all over the place and characterized by unstable feelings and emotions.  Love is intentional, logical, wise, knowledgeable and sacrificial in nature.

To love the way God loves requires a fundamental transformation of the human heart.  In order for our hearts to be prepared for and ready to receive, give, retain and sustain true, authentic Kingdom Love, the Lord does three things with our hearts.  First, He enlarges our hearts.  Secondly, he elevates our hearts and thirdly, He establishes His Kingdom in our hearts.  In this post, I we will only address the expansion of our hearts and in the next post, I will address how he elevates our hearts and establishes His Kingdom in our hearts.

Enlarge: make or become bigger or more extensive; to make larger, increase in extent, bulk, to increase the capacity or expand the scope of; extend, grow, expand, amplify, augment, magnify, build up, supplement


Psalm 119:32 – I shall run the way of Your commandments, For You will enlarge my heart.

Various translations of the above scripture, indicate that an enlarged heart is a willing, understanding and free heart.  It is heart set free, renewed and inclined towards God, the things of God and serving Him.  A heart like this is willing to obey God and has the capacity to function and flow in love and be very fruitful.  A heart like this is large, has depth, scope, capacity to fully receive from God and others as well as give.  A heart like this is fruitful and productive. The issues of life that flow from a heart like this always lead to righteousness, peace and joy. A heart like this can handle a bigger flow of anointing, power and grace to do mighty things.  A heart like this mirrors the heart of God — the heart of Christ.

To better understand what it means for God to enlarge our hearts, we must first understand what it means when the heart is small.

A small heart is the condition of the human heart when it is broken.  I would also say that a heart like this lacks the saving grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, but I would be wrong.  Why? Because there are a lot of people who have experienced the grace of God and are believers, yet their hearts remain small and hard.  Heart enlargement is a choice and a process.  A person must be willing to go through and grow through the enlargement process.

A small heart is hard and diminished because of the effect of sin such as pride, unforgiveness, bitterness, fear, insecurity, jealousy, anger, numbness, strife, grief, unrighteousness and so on.  If my heart is small and diminished, then very little love, grace, and power can flow through.  The Kingdom of God cannot be established in a tiny, small and hardened heart!  A heart like this can have a small amount of it, but because the heart is not enlarged enough due to unresolved pain, sin and issues crowding it up, it cannot receive.  A person with a heart like this cannot handle the weight of the full mantle of God’s original intent and purpose for their lives.  A heart like this is more likely to attract unhealthy, toxic or dead-end relationships and repel healthy relationships.  A heart like this is predisposed to deception and becoming further entangled and ensnared by sin.

Hearts become hard and small when we “mismanage moments” (a term I learned from Dr. Matthew Stevenson) over a long period of time that it becomes a mentality or a stronghold.  Mismanaged moments occur when we fail to develop self-awareness, check in with God and allow our hearts to go unchecked for extended periods of time by staying busy and overwhelmed.  In times like these, it is very easy to live in a state of distraction and heart mismanagement where we are totally unaware and unconscious of what is going on in the inside.  When this occurs we,

  1. Allow hurts & offences to fester
  2. Being easily offended & sensitive when under stress
  3. Numb/Run/Check Out (TV, social media, busyness, recreation, work, drugs, sex, etc.)
  4. Fail to discipline our thoughts. (where mind goes, mouth & body follows)

Every mismanaged moment builds up over time and leads to a mismanaged heart that is shrinking and diminishing instead of growing and expanding.

So how does God work in our lives to enlarge our hearts?  Heart enlargement involves the process of preparing our heart for more of God’s love so that we can be prepared to not only have healthy relationships but to fulfill His call, His plan and His purposes in the earth.  Heart issues must be exposed, purged and the heart healed in order for expansion to occur.  When these issues are exposed and worked thru, by healing, deliverance, prayer, confession, counseling then the heart becomes enlarged.   The debris and scars and dead tissue has bene removed making space for grace and space for God’s love.

Heart enlargement or expansion is NECESSARY, why?

  • For you to flow in purpose and flow in love. GOD IS LOVE.
  • For you to be fruitful & multiply (Gen 1:28), be fruit that remains (John 15:16) and occupy until He comes (Luke 19:13).
  • To be like Him – John 3:16 for God so loved that He gave. To have a big, large heart like His.
  • To love others that you are called to serve and be in relationship with — marriage, family, friends and connected to. (we want to be married but our hearts are small and full of junk that would run a potential partner away or we would attract another person with a similar heart situation)
  • To receive greater degrees of insight, wisdom & understanding necessary for life and for kingdom advancement. Wise hearts are expanded hearts.
    • The wise in heart are called discerning, and gracious words promote instruction. Prov. 16:21
    • Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. – Psalm 90:12

If you really want to be ready for love, then you must be willing to go thru the process of heart expansion!  If you want a fruitful life that is one of significance to the Kingdom of God – a life of purpose then you must submit to the process of heart expansion. It’s not always pretty and can be painful.  But very necessary and produces fruit.

Two Ways God Uses to expand your heart for Love and for Your Purpose

The process of heart expansion is also the process of sanctification, healing and deliverance.  Our hearts are daily expanded every time we are intentional to:

  • Grow from Spiritual disciplines – prayer, Bible study, fasting, being in fellowship with other believers.
  • Grow from Tests and temptations, people, situations and circumstances that God allows for you to see what is in your heart. The only way to grow through these things is to be intentional to collect the wisdom and lesson in each experience.  Without reflection and self-awareness of what is going on inside, the same patterns, problems and cycles will keep showing up.

So, when you pray for love, for marriage, for the call, for your dream — EXPECT to be EXPANDED!!!!  Don’t run from the process!

Failure to submit to the process of expanding your heart will cause you to:

  • Greatly diminish or sometimes forfeit and not even walk in your purpose.
  • Miss out on opportunities because of unprocessed pain and heart issues.
  • Miss out on real love by self-sabotaging or staying in dead-end relationships because an unhealthy heart will always attract another unhealthy heart.
  • Spiritual death

Take your heart management very seriously. Don’t go long periods without checking in with self and God on the condition of heart.  It’s very easy to ignore, dumb, numb, pretend, over spiritualize without really being honest with what is going on inside. We must tend to our hearts daily by asking God to create in us clean hearts and renew a right spirit (Ps 51:10) knowing that God doesn’t look at our outside, but the inside – our motives, intents, thoughts, purposes. When we do this, we are well underway in our process of heart expansion and will see positive changes, freedom and healing over time.  Don’t give up.  Keep moving forward!  Stay tuned for Elevation and Establishment next.