Aligning the Story of Your Heart

Day 6 of 7 • This day’s reading


A sign in the Australian outback reads, “Choose your rut carefully. You will be in it for the next 400 miles.” Until you rewrite the story of your heart, you’ll be stuck in a rut, too. That’s because our choices are a self-perpetuating cycle, and until something breaks it, it plays on repeat. The negative outcomes you experience become a force that reinforces all or parts of the flawed story of your heart. Your painful outcomes falsely confirm that the pain of your Sore Spot is irredeemable, and they affirm your faulty Heart Logic and Private Conclusions.

For example, if your career isn’t thriving, the situation seems to validate your Sore Spot of inadequacy. The inadequacy may have led you to play it too safe, lacking confidence that you have what it takes to succeed. Or you may have taken foolish risks. Sore Spots inevitably cause problems. The experience of disappointment deepens the Sore Spot of inadequacy and fuels its continued influence, leaving you stuck in a self-perpetuating and devastating loop. If the story of your heart includes shame, you probably live with the morass of painful feelings and secrets buried in your soul—until you explode in anger like a volcano or implode in hopeless depression. You might be unable to break the hold of pornography because shame tells you that you can’t show your weakness to anyone. As you struggle on and off for years, you increasingly believe you’re worthless, and you can’t change. Instead of being honest with someone, you create elaborate ways to hide your addiction. You have no way out when you have no one to rely on but yourself. And you end up convinced more than ever that the voice of shame is deserved. 

These real outcomes reinforce the imperfect elements of our stories. The more they’re validated, the more they remain unchanged. In this way, the painful story of your heart doesn’t have an ending; it continues, darker and deeper. Without intervention,  you’ll be stuck in a repeating pattern. The bruising of the Sore Spot might deepen, your Heart Logic might grow deeper roots, you might become even more convinced of your little truths, your small strategies will become ingrained habits, and your Life Lessons will become your only worldview. The result? Your gap remains and even widens.

We need to break the cycle, but it won’t happen by trying to change our life outcomes. The answer isn’t a less hectic schedule, more date nights, quitting a bad habit, or finding a different job. Your problems will survive those efforts if the roots of the problems aren’t addressed. Breaking the cycle begins in the deepest parts of our hearts. We start with the roots, going down into the depths of the heart to rewrite the story. That’s the only way to get out of the rut and put yourself on an upward trajectory!