Today Is a Good Day to Be Nonpartisan

Seriously, where is the love, y’all?

With all the hatred and bigotry getting kicked around in the media today, you’d think the whole world got tricked into voting a duck into office by mistake.

Duck, Funny, Soft Toy, Toys, Children

It doesn’t take an optometrist to see that this relentless mud-slinging, doubt-casting, doom-preaching, and name-calling is NOT what “one nation under God and indivisible” looks like.

inspirational eye chart art its not what you look at that matters its what you see

Now, let me be clear, I didn’t vote for him either.

Image result for trump

But I also know enough about marketing to know that the “Not My President” campaign is just a cheap, Occupy-esque exercise in dillusionism…

Image of a Floating Bubble

…because today’s choice isn’t between the despicable loud-mouth and the spoiled brat anarchist.

Related image

Like it or not, that choice is already made.

Image result for I voted

Today’s choice is whether to be kind or be cruel.

Soldier, Gift, Toy, Child, Girl, Woman, Female, Army

Whether to run away scared, or stand up and be counted.

Flag, Usa, Us, United States, Patriotic

Whether to support the Inauguration of the President elect of our (still!) great nation…

Image result for inauguration

…or gripe about the people who choose to attend.

Pavo Cristatus, Peacock, Male, Beak Open

Take a deep breath, ground, exhale, and ponder this:

Be the change you wish to see in the world.—Mahatma Gandhi

“Liberty and justice for all” isn’t about the President at all.

Free stock photo of usa, statue, monument, sculpture

It’s about the People.

Liberal people and conservative people.

Free stock photo of people, friends, men, happy

Black people and white people.

Free stock photo of man, person, portrait, old

Old people and new people.

Free stock photo of sunset, people, girl, sunrise

Real People.

Free stock photo of people, group, mother, family

Real people like you and me.

Liberty is about people, and liberty is a choice.

What will you choose?

Love Hand Sign

Peace out.

~Ashley Nance

Conquering the Army That Matters


Talk about a massive perspective shift!

I have been working through a lot of long-standing issues lately. Some of them have appeared HUGE and overwhelming to think about overcoming – especially the ones that seem tied to each other in a big knot.

But the power of the mind truly is amazing.

I used to view my problems as armed guards – even armies – ready to destroy me if I got too close when I wasn’t all-the-way ready to fight.

Now I picture these imaginary foes as clay statues, only held together by my imagination.

When I strike, they fall to pieces.

Where before I saw the aftermath of a breakthrough like this as an attacking enemy, now I see it as a cloud of dust, kicked up by the fall of the statue.

I don’t have to defend myself – the foe is defeated – I just need to be still and remember my Savior as I wait for the dust in my mind to settle again so I can see clearly to make the next step.

Not so scary after all!


What visualizations do you use to get through stressful situations? Share in the comments!

The Universal Super Power


Should celebrities be held responsible for shaping public opinion and empowering women?

Imagine you’re driving down the road and scanning the radio – without a lot of faith that you’ll find something worth listening to, to be honest – when you hear a new song by a favorite artist.

What do you do?

Turn it up!

And that’s just what I did when I first heard “Try” by Pink. You may not look at my coral colored cardigan and A-line skirt and pin me as a Pink fan at first blush, but I appreciate true art no matter what package it comes in. And anyone can see that Pink, who writes and sings her own coherent, intelligent, and thoughtful (if crude) songs, is an artist.

As I listened closely to the lyrics, it excited me to hear the power in the words this powerful woman sang to me. I thought of past experiences that really fit what I felt she was describing, and felt a desire to go home and add the music video for this song to my Power Songs Playlist and share it with you.

But, as awesome as Pink is, she doesn’t exactly have a reputation for squeaky-clean songs, I would definitely have to watch the video all the way through before I added it.

((Fast forward to early the following morning…))

When I listened to the song, I pictured a video montage of people overcoming their own personal challenges (like “Overcomer” by Mandisa). But I what I found was both better and worse…

…or should I say, Pinker.

Before you hop over and check it out for yourself, I will warn you that it is at least PG-13 and definitely not fit for children of any age to watch with you.

At first, it looked like she was going to use the video to empower women to leave abusive relationships. (And she is also a skilled modern dancer! Who knew?) Even better than another keep-working-and-you’ll-make-it song, right?


As I kept watching, at once enthralled by her story-telling skill and sickened by the endless cycle circling between violence and passivity spinning before me, I told myself it would get better because in the end she would leave him.

It didn’t.

And she didn’t.

I shut my laptop at the end of the video feeling dirty, sick, and sad.

I trudged up the stairs to my son’s bedroom so I could wake him up for school, but my head was spinning.

Here, a gifted, powerful woman had the opportunity to change someone’s world. To use her art, skill, and deep empathy for abusive situations to empower women to get out and search for something better with hope for a brighter future.

But she dropped the ball.

Instead, she made it look good to stay in hurtful places. Her message was:

Hey, it’s O.K.. I understand. You suffer with the best.

We deserve better than suffering with the best!

Now, before you look for a link to the petition I could create, consider this thought from my mentor Kris Krohn:

Pain is inevitable but suffering is a choice.

I could spend hours upon stressful hours imploring Pink and other famous influencers to stand up in their power and help people escape abusive relationships through their art (I admit I considered it), but ultimately…

Who chose to listen to that song?

Who chose to look up the music video?

Who chose to watch it all the way through?

I did.

Who chose not to add the song to her playlist?

Who chose not to look up another video to help cheer her up?

Who chose not to let her son sleep in so she could ruminate about abused women and make him late for school?

I did.

While I drove my minivan full of monkeys to school that day, I pondered and realized that while I didn’t choose the consequences, I did choose the road that led to them for myself.

Sure, I didn’t know that every video Pink has ever produced is more vulgar than the song itself. I didn’t know that she’s been married to the same man for more than 10 years, but that some of her edgiest songs are about him.

But I did know I have the power to choose, and that I alone am responsible for my choices and for changing my life.

The power to choose is a super power. I have the power to choose, and so do you. So does everyone else in the whole world, whether they realize it or not.

That means that, while others may be able to control our jobs, the location of our living spaces, how much access we have to food and other resources…

…they can never choose what we think. We can always choose that for ourselves.

The Power to Choose is the Universal Super Power.

And while the song claims,

You gotta get up and try try try try…

You absolutely don’t gotta.

No matter how powerful the public figure, how knowledgeable the physician, how loving the friend, how hot the lover, or how persistent the voice in your head that tells you you gotta get up and try…

…try to get out of bed…

…try a little harder to look your best…

…try to get a better job or work more hours…

…try to branch out and make something besides mac and cheese for dinner…

…try to do your hair…

…try for a baby…

…try a new or different medicine or procedure…

…try a new therapist for your child…

…try public school, or home school…

Our feelings and the words around and in us give us information. Pain is just one of the voices in our minds. Whatever the suggestion, the source should be considered, and the value of the suggestion should be weighted accordingly. Ultimately, we are fully responsible for our own choices, no matter how valuable the insights or persuasive the arguments that present themselves to us.

In short, you can if you wanna, but you absolutely don’t gotta.

It’s easy to do what we’re told, and surrender to blame and resentment when it doesn’t work out.

But what would happen if we all stood in our power , forgave each other, and took responsibility for our own choices?

The power to choose is a super power. And no one can take that away from you.

Not even someone as powerful as Pink.

I have other super powers too. What are yours? Let me know in the comments!

P.S. We have a few spots left for the Stand Up! for Women pre-launch mastermind meeting next Thursday, September 29 from 7-9PM MDT.

P.P.S. Paid ticket for the mastermind includes dinner, or R.S.V.P. to join us via livestream for free. Help build this new event (and be first in line as a future presenter if your heart so calls you). See you there!

One Thing Every Woman Can Give Herself for Mother’s Day

The amazing thing about Mommy Guilt is that women don’t even need children in order to experience it.

There are single women who feel guilty for not getting married so they could have children.

Single women who feel guilty for having children before getting married.

Women who feel guilty for choosing abortion.

Women who feel guilty for getting into a situation where placing their child in an adoptive family was the best choice.

Women who feel guilty for getting a divorce before they could have children.

Women feel guilty because their bodies don’t make babies, or don’t keep pregnancies to term, no matter how badly they want children.

Women who feel guilty for not wanting children at all.

Add to that the guilt women harbor about not parenting right, standing by her man too long or leaving too soon, working at a job too much or not enough, resenting a child for their disability or bad behavior, allowing bad things to happen to them, or doing bad things themselves. Women who have lost children to addiction, crime, prison, disease, or death may have the worst time of all.

Every woman I know has experienced Mommy Guilt in some form at some time or other. So what is the difference between the women who will greet “Happy Mother’s Day!” with a smile and those who will respond to well-wishers with an uncomfortable huff?


I’ll be the first to admit I’m not always proud of my mothering. Each of my children has had to suffer in some degree from having a far-from-perfect mother. My oldest daughter in particular really pushed me to my limits. I remember screaming over her screams, punching the wall until I hurt my wrist, and leaving her to cry herself to sleep for hours because I just couldn’t take it anymore. I remember sobbing in my kitchen, wondering if I should call the State on myself so they could find a better home for my children.

I won’t say I’m not proud of those days, and I won’t pretend I don’t have days like that anymore.

But I will say that the forgiveness is the difference between where I was then and where I am now.

Forgiveness doesn’t excuse bad behavior or take the pain away, but it does create a space for healing.

It’s tricky though, because in a world where self-deprecation looks like humility, holding grudges against ourselves seems almost noble. But in reality, it’s a cop-out: When we refuse to forgive, we choose to punish ourselves for a wrong choice rather than making it better. Beating ourselves up about the past may give the illusion of repentance, but really it just makes us feel like a helpless victim, rather than the powerful beings capable of change we really are. The longer we stay in the past, simmering in our own shame, the longer those we actually hurt have to live with our worst selves. Forgiveness opens the door to the future and paves the road to making wrongs right and writing a happier ending to our family’s story.

Forgiveness gave me the space I needed to see my astronomically loud and endlessly energetic daughter as a child suffering from pain she couldn’t describe and fear I didn’t comprehend. From that space, I could see that she didn’t need a mother too ashamed of her failure to control the beast to be seen with her in public—she needed a mother willing to hug her while she screamed and bring her to professionals who could help identify her issues so she could feel better. She needed my unconditional love to feel safe and cared for in her world. I still mourn the loss of the time I wasted fighting her, but grief motivates me to do what it takes to make our future brighter than our past.

Grief hurts, but only because it’s part of healing.

This Mother’s Day, rather than reliving every stupid thing we’ve ever said or done, pining over what might have been, and deflecting every well-wisher with self-deprecating comments, let’s choose the higher way. Let’s give ourselves forgiveness for Mother’s Day, and open the door to a brighter future for us and the ones we love.

Who’s with me?

The Heart of the Matter

I’ve been trying to get down to the Heart of the Matter
But everything changes
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it’s about …

Everything we have worked on and worked through so far has brought us to this.

And when I say “we” I don’t mean you all plus me in an arbitrary because-“we”-sounds-better-than-“you” kind of way. I really mean all of us together.

When we started this course together, I thought I was offering a more practical and accessible alternative to energy healing. While that may still be true, I realized as we went along that it was just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

I have a deeper message to share.

It’s the message I’ve been digging for inside myself for years.

It was the underlying invitation in my most popular blog post ever.

I believe it’s even the reason you were drawn to take this course, even though I didn’t know what it was when I invited you to join.

After years of asking the question, “Why are people drawn to me? What can I share that will help them?” I’ve finally found “the Heart of the Matter.”

I’ve been trying to get down to the Heart of the Matter
But everything changes
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it’s about forgiveness
Even if, even if you don’t love me anymore
– Don Henley

Forgiveness! Of course!

I’ve known for a long time, through personal experience, that forgiveness is the key to all healing. Whether I need to forgive another person, myself, or God, I have to forgive before I can recover from the hurt I experience. We’ve all heard the story of how Jesus instructed His apostle to forgive not seven times but seventy times seven (Matt. 18:21-22), and instructed all his followers to “pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matt. 5:43-45). You may have also heard the analogy that holding a grudge is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.

Of course I know that’s all easier understood conceptually than done.

However, I also know that, while it’s tempting to look for an easier way, forgiveness is the easiest way to peace. And it’s easier than you think:

In sixth grade, I lost my locket.

My favorite teacher, back in rural New York State where I grew up, had given that locket to me before I moved to a forsaken desert in Texas, where my highest aim was to be invisible from the time I arrived at school to the time I boarded the school bus home. I wore my locket every day, even to gym class—easily my least favorite part of the day—to keep me company and remind me of the people who loved me back home. One day, after running laps in the hot Texas sun, I looked down and saw that it was gone. In a panic, I retraced every inch of the track, reported my lost item to the main office, and even convinced the morning announcement team to alert the entire school, but lost it stayed.

Until one day.

I was walking in the halls between classes, being invisible, when I saw the locket part of the pendent pinned to the back of the backpack in front of me. Overjoyed and thinking fast, I told the owner that I lost a beautiful locket just like hers and asked her where she got it, hoping she’d tell me she found it outside so I could ask her to return my lost friend to me. But she just smiled and said her grandmother gave it to her.

Confused and deflated, I let her walk away.

Over the course of the next year, this girl became my enemy. Some days I tracked her from a distance to see if she still had it on her backpack. Other times I avoided her and tried not to make eye contact. Once I ventured to casually ask again where she got it, and this time she said her boyfriend gave it to her. Ha! She changed her story! I knew it was mine! Ultimately she caught on to my animosity, and started to return it.

Of course every sighting and interaction had to be reported to my mother in second-by-second detail. My wise mother always advised me to forgive her and let it go. At first this bothered me—How could I just let her keep my locket!—but I finally realized that my quest for justice was turning me into a monster. At long last, I resolved to forgive her, and tell her so.

I find my 13-year-old confidence that life would go as I scripted it almost comical now.

When I tried to talk to her privately, she guessed the worst and tried to escape. I literally chased her into the girl’s room, where she shut herself in a stall and stood up on a toilet. Hardly the ideal ambient for a heart-to-heart conversation, I cut to the chase. “I forgive you!” I said to the closed door. The words echoed off the walls of the restroom, and I felt like I could see the white, open sky above me. Then her voice, straining to sound stubborn and confident returned, “I forgive you, too.”

Without another word, I walked out and returned to class.

The End.

We didn’t become best friends.

We didn’t meet decades later and share pictures of our children.

I didn’t get my locket back.

But I got something better: my freedom.

Forgiveness leads to healing, progress, and true freedom

What has forgiveness done for you? Please share your experience in the comments!

Repost: My Resolution to “Let It Go” in 2014

This post, composed in January of 2014, is where Change Your Music really began. If it resonates with you, I invite you to share it with someone you think would appreciate it too, and invite them to subscribe to my blog. Enjoy!

When I first heard the song “Let It Go” from Disney’s Frozen, something really resonated with me. I couldn’t put my finger on it at first.

I was invigorated by Elsa’s passion, which grew little by little along with the volume of her voice, until she was literally shouting at the top of her lungs.

I could also relate to her sense that people were telling her, “Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know,” and wondered where that sense comes from. Everyone I know has felt pressure to “conceal, don’t feel,” but I don’t think anyone could, if they really thought about it, name a person who actually uttered those words in their presence. I’ll return to that idea in a moment.

I used to put real effort into trying to be who I thought people wanted me to be. I remember one time as a young woman I put on a deep, adult voice when I auditioned for a choral group, then felt sad when I made it in because I didn’t know whether they would have let me in if I sang like myself. I always resented it a little when people told me what a good person I was, because I thought that if they really knew me, they wouldn’t be so sure.

In 2013, I worked hard to get away from living like that – always trying to meet the standard I imagined others had set for me, rather than keeping my goals and God’s plan for me in proper perspective.

I am really intense and care deeply about everything I care about, but I always do my best to communicate in ways that conveyed a non-judgmental and supportive spirit. Considering this, I felt it was fair to work on sharing my thoughts courteously, when I felt the time was right, and when there was a potential to help someone with what I knew. I began to do this without apologizing for feeling the way I felt or pressuring them to adopt my philosophies.

I also stopped stressing so much about what visitors would think about the condition of my house. Instead, I focused my energy on making the best of the time resources I had, balancing my efforts between housekeeping and child-rearing in a way that made sense for me.

Then I realized that I didn’t lose any friends by being myself.

I was surprised when friends who seemed to always come over when my house was the messiest kept coming back to visit. I was puzzled when a woman I accidentally hurt still offered to help with my children as she had before my thoughtless mistake. I was delighted when friends invited me to bring my children to play with theirs so I could write my book, Crystal Puzzle, and prepare it for publication.

I was intrigued to see how letting go of my obsession with appearing to be better at life than I actually was opened my eyes. Moving my focus away from the mundane details of my life allowed me to see that my friends were even bigger and more charitable people than I had previously given them credit for.

So the line, “Well, now they know,” really did something to me.

As I pondered experiences in 2013, I also realized why “Let It Go” bugs me a little. After Elsa builds her ice castle and creates herself a new flashy dress, she boldly proclaims, “the perfect girl is gone!”

It seems that in our society these days, people see perfection as either an unattainable goal or an unworthy one.

Those who want to be good are sure others see them as not good enough, and torture themselves with their guesses of how “people” think of their mortal foibles and quirks.

Those who do not want to be good see “nobody’s perfect” as the excellent catch-all excuse for lazy living and bad behavior.

I think the devil is behind both lies.

The devil wants good people to find misery in doing good. He smiles as we agonize over whether our efforts to make a difference really matter, or whether the gifts we give will be received the way they are intended. He points out all our flaws, and taunts that if we just had better self-control, we could be flawless – perfect. He whispers, “Conceal, don’t feel,” and when we look to see where the voice came from, he blames the “people” around us for pronouncing the words.

At the same time, he wants lazy people to find comfort in doing bad, or not doing good, rocking us back and forth in the false security of platitudes such as “Nobody’s perfect,” “I’m my own person,” “I don’t care what other people think,” and “You gotta do what you gotta do,” like waves of the sea. In time, these phrases become great big red ejector seat buttons we can push every time guilt for misdeeds or hopes of greatness sneak into the cockpit of our lives.

“The perfect girl is gone” moment could be a wonderful moment. It could mean that a good person has decided to do what she knows is right no matter who says it is foolish or even impossible. It could mean that a good person no longer worries about looking just right, or wearing the most socially acceptable outfit for a given occasion. It could mean that a good person has refused to continue measuring every step and word against her perception of how those around her will receive them.

My concern is that it could also mean that a person who had been trying to be good has finally decided she will never arrive at perfection and that it is therefore no longer worth the effort to pursue that end.

Brad Wilcox, an ecclesiastical leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, compares the effort involved in seeking perfection to a child learning to play the piano:

“’But don’t you realize how hard it is to practice? I’m just not very good at the piano. I hit a lot of wrong notes. It takes me forever to get it right.’ Now wait. Isn’t that all part of the learning process? When a young pianist hits a wrong note, we don’t say he is not worthy to keep practicing. We don’t expect him to be flawless. We just expect him to keep trying. Perfection may be his ultimate goal, but for now we can be content with progress in the right direction. …

There should never me just two options: perfection or giving up. When learning the piano, are the only options performing Carnegie Hall or quitting? No. Growth and development take time. Learning takes time. When we understand grace, we understand that God is long-suffering, that change is a process, and that repentance is a pattern in our lives. … (see 2 Corinthians 12:9).” From a devotional address given at Brigham Young University on July 12, 2011. For the full address, visit

The part of Elsa’s song that wasn’t true for her, is that “the fear that once controlled me can’t get to me at all.” Her excitement only masked it. That fear followed her all the way up that mountain, and continued to control her for most of the rest of the film.

Before everyone found out what she was capable of, she was afraid that she would not be accepted if they found out, and that she might hurt somebody. Once they found out, she ran away and stayed away because she was afraid she would not be accepted, and that she might hurt somebody.

Her enemy – your enemy and my enemy – was not perfection, expectations, unreasonable standards, or even anger.

It was fear.

By the end of this inspiring song, Elsa had let go of her queenly wardrobe, her crown, her family, her place in the kingdom, her responsibility to rule, her potential influence on others, and her formerly-held anxiety toward both unleashing her freezing powers and striking out on her own.

But she was still afraid.

She seemed happier, at first, but she was still afraid. And it wasn’t until her fear was defeated that peace returned to the kingdom.

Last year was a difficult journey, and I learned to let go of many important things through my struggles:

1) I let go of negative body thinking and talking. Or, in other words, I let go of my fear of not measuring up to the impossible standard of perfection the media holds women to.

2) I let go of the grief and fear I associated with the birth of my oldest child. Or, in other words, I faced the fact that each time I remembered it I felt afraid that I was helpless against the possibility that it might happen the same way again, and learned instead to prepare myself and turn the rest over to the Lord.

3) I let go of blaming others for my mistakes. Or, in other words, I let go of the fear of looking my weakness in the face and admitting I need a Savior to help me improve and grow.

4) I let go of my obsession with failure. Or, in other words, I faced my fear of succeeding.

In preparation for this post, and in the spirit of spring cleaning, I listed the things I wanted to “let go” of in 2014:

1) Clothing I don’t love to wear

2) Negative thoughts about my appearance

3) Harmful foods

4) Negative words describing my ability

5) Candy books

6) Candy toys

7) Unhealthy music

8) Fear of disapproval

9) Fear of success

Then I realized when I got to #10 that there was really only one thing, the umbrella that covered all the others:

10) Selfishness

Finally, as I composed this post, I realized that selfishness is really fear – fear of placing God’s will ahead of my own – fear that maybe, if I don’t look out for myself, at least a little bit, that He might not catch me when I fall.

If I want to do the impossible, which I do, then I need to perfect my faith in Him; His power, His timing, His plan for me and my family, His might to save.

So now I only have one resolution: Let go of fear.

Won’t you join me?

Who could we be and what could we do for ourselves, our siblings, and the world if you and I truly were not afraid of anything?

I am excited to see.

New Agency Training Course Starts Monday!

For many years now, I’ve been intimately involved and interested in the world of adults (most often women) struggling with mental or physical ailments resulting from childhood trauma. I find that they often struggle in romantic relationships and in their relationship with God – tragically, they often painfully feel unworthy to pray, and accused by scriptures and Conference talks. Some consider some form of energy healing, but many are (or have spouses who are) skeptical of pursuing solutions from that medium, while others they give it an honest try but for some reason it doesn’t work out. Having struggled myself over the years with anxiety, unhealthy relationship with food, and other things, I’ve longed to be able to reach out and help in a meaningful way, but haven’t felt qualified or ready until now.

Now I feel like I finally have something to offer: “Agency Training” is a six-week, step-by-step program that uses principles of mindfulness, intentionality, connection with the divine, affirmation, and journaling to help work through past and present issues, talk back to the negative voices in our heads and in our lives, and increase confidence and connection in a way that sticks over the long term. The process will be gentle enough that even the smallest children can work through along with their parent(s), without diluting the power it can bring to the adults working through it.

Today and tomorrow I am offering the ecourse version of Agency Training free to the first 20 people who are willing to sign up and give it a shot, in exchange for your helpful feedback. I say 20 because, while I wish I could serve everyone, I couldn’t give a larger group the individual attention you deserve. Students can go through the whole thing with me, and then I can implement your feedback to make it even better. As an extra thank-you, you’ll be given access to the updated content in future iterations for no extra charge.

I’m really excited and hope many of you will join me in this exciting journey. If you are interested or have questions, please ask in the comments so everyone can see the answers, or of course message me if it’s more personal and I’ll respond as soon as I can.

If the idea of “Agency Training” resonates with you, hop over and sign up because registration will close Midnight MDT this coming Sunday, March 20th or at 20 students, whichever comes first. This isn’t just some silly scarcity tactic, I just want to begin right away so I don’t lose steam! The first lesson/challenge first thing Monday morning

I’m so excited!

Oh, and feel free to share this with anyone you know who might be interested—everyone is welcome, but people who believe in God are most likely to feel comfortable with the material I will share.

Thanks for reading all the way to the end! Y’all are awesome!

Always Question “What the Heart Wants.”

Y’all, we’ve got a problem.

Some people say I think too much about these things, but I’m afraid there aren’t enough people thinking about it at all.

But before I jump onto that soap box, let me back up a minute and show you what I mean.

Not too long ago, I was driving and skipping around between radio stations looking for a song worth listening to. I found a new song with a musical style that appealed to me.  As I turned up the volume and tuned my ears in to the lyrics, I was terribly distressed by what I heard:

… I’m not alive until you call
And I’ll bet the odds against it all
Save your advice ’cause I won’t hear
You might be right but I don’t care
There’s a million reasons why I should give you up
But the heart wants what it wants.

All the mental bells that go off when I sense emotional abuse and relational violence started ringing so loud I could hardly listen to the rest of the song. I longed to find something in the story around the chorus that could redeem it—something that offered hope that this woman would be able to muster the courage to pull herself out of a clearly bad situation—but the verses were even more desperate and hopeless than the refrain.

Deep in my gut I cried for all of the girls and women—and boys and men—who might identify with this song and sing it in their hearts as they justified staying in an unhealthy relationship because “the heart wants what it wants.” (Imagine my surprise when I looked it up later and learned that this Selena Gomez song is supposedly a break-up song!)

Which brings us back to our problem.

The world has always been a world of voices. Each voice has an opinion, and it falls to each of us to find and hold tight to the basic truths we want to build our lives around, and sort out the voices based on that internal compass. As we strive to do this, we quickly find that some of the voices around us want to help us, and others seek to hurt us. Some speak the truth, and others lie outright, but the really tricky voices hide the untruth they want us to consider in a statement that sounds like it should be true.

One of those tricky half-truths is the counsel, “Follow your heart.”

This encouragement is offered as sage advice in popular music, movies, and by well-meaning friends, family members, and strangers alike. It’s often offered as a magic wand that makes everything hard about making a choice or making a relationship work disappear.

The trouble comes when this catch-all counsel is taken to unhealthy extremes.

It doesn’t take much flipping through radio stations to find specific examples:

“It ain’t the mind that calls the shots ‘round here. A stronger power pulls to bodies near. Nothing on earth can interfere when love is what the heart wants.” from What the Heart Wants by Collin Raye

“It feels so good it can’t be wrong,” from One Night at a Time by George Strait

“Live it fast but live the life you choose…Follow your heart…Living for today, forget about tomorrow,” from Follow Your Heart by Triumph

What the voices who want to help mean to say is: “Deep down inside, you already know what the right thing to do is, so you should scrounge up whatever courage you need and do it.”

So why don’t we just say that?

I love songs where the characters in the story recognize that they’re feeling something powerful and consciously choose what to do about it. For example:

I must admit it’s been fun
But that’s no reason to jump the gun
If this is real time will tell
So let me bite my tongue and remind myself

(from Reba McEntire’s The Fear of Being Alone)


I know that if we give this a little time
It’ll only bring us closer to the love we wanna find
Just a shot in the dark that you just might
Be the one I’ve been waiting for my whole life
So baby I’m alright, with just a kiss goodnight

(From Lady Antebellum’s Just a Kiss)

With all this in mind, I have an invitation for you.

While you’re listening to the voices around you and deciding which ones ring true in your life, consider this:

Do listen to your heart; just take the time to listen to what it’s saying before you decide to go where it’s going!

And let me know what you think in the comments!

What do you think? What experiences have you had following or not following your heart? Are there any songs on this topic I should add as classic good or bad examples? Share with us, and let your voice be heard! 🙂