A few weeks ago, I had a rough ministry day. It started normally enough, by dropping my girls at school. A phone call, a prayer request. NO problem. Pray, I can do that and trust a lot of amazing things to God. Then came another conversation, someone hurt and frustrated and needing to get things off their own hearts. NO problem. Listen, I can do that, people just want to be heard. Then an email, someone with questions. NO problem. Find solutions, I can do that, people just want to know there are answers. So, you get the idea, it just kinda went along that way. And a lot of days in ministry can be like that. 

At some point in the day, I couldn’t do it anymore. 
Some of the things that had been shared with me, well, were hurtful. Some of the things that had been asked, I didn’t have answers for. 
I felt like every emotional nerve was exposed to the world. Literally, on my sleeve. I wanted, maybe even wished, I could curl into a turtle shell, or at the very least put my heart there so I didn’t have to be exposed any more. 
Here is the truth. Some days are harder than others. Some days take everything you have and more. Especially if you have opened yourself up to pray for someone who is sick, listened to a hurting soul, had to answer someone with an “I don’t know.”  
There is a lot to be said about protecting yourself. The security is comforting. Imagine beginning the day crawling into a turtle shell or at the very least putting your heart there. Then, there will be no chance of hurt or pain. If your heart is protected than whatever happens in the day will just bounce off the shell. No worries when you are bound and protected. No reason to share. No chance of vulnerable opportunities or intimate moments. No need for those things if you can protect from hurt, tears or fear. NO problems. 
Lord knows, I never want to live in a turtle shell, no matter how many rough days I have. And I write this to hopefully encourage you. Don’t live in a shell, or put your heart there. Because, there is so much wonderful in the world you will miss. And the good days out number the hard ones.
Being exposed is about more than the hurt and pain. It is about answered prayer, sharing joy and hope in the midst of pain, finding comfort when there are no good answers. Being called to ministry, is being called to love. In order to love we must be willing to wear our hearts on our sleeves.
1 John 4: 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
May I leave you with this promise ….. “whoever lives in love, lives in God….”  No turtle shells needed.