I remember the first time I told God I loved Him and actually meant it. I was in ninth grade, walking home from high school, standing beside that large house on the corner, the one with the burmese mountain dog in the yard and the wrap around porch.
For the first time, I told God I loved Him not because I thought I had to and not because it felt like the right thing to say, but because something in my heart was burning for more of Him. He had ravished my heart fully. And I loved Him, I really did.
Only a year earlier, Jesus had pulled me out of such darkness. It was that kind of darkness that you can’t even really touch, but the kind that starts to affect your soul. You name it, it probably somehow touched me. Divorce, suicide, depression, death, abuse, fear. Those years without Jesus left my heart afraid, not even because of what I had seen and experience, but because of how my heart had responded.
The thing I have been realizing through people’s stories is that so much of how life events impact a person has to do with how their heart responds to the things that happen to them. That sometimes it is not about the magnitude or the harshness of the things that happen to us or among us, but it is about how our hearts respond in that moment; whether they close up, shut down, flee in fear or whether they stay present, stay awake, stay fully alive, stay with Him.
I am convinced that as believers, we need to become intentional about how our heart responds in the little and the big things. And that life does not just happen to us, but we rise above it. For so very long, I just let things happen to me and I let my heart do whatever it wanted. I let it run and I let it close up and I let it numb itself on the things of this world.
It is like sometimes we are living out of a response to the Lord in our minds, but not in our heart and I am telling you friends, we cannot forsake the heart. It was like we learn how to live life without our hearts fully here. But the danger in that is how could I know the love of God, how could I know all these things in my head and deep in my heart, how could I sit and be with Him and know that I’m His just because I am His? I couldn’t. How do we love God with all of our heart when we don’t even know where our heart is? These are the questions I am pondering.
I began to build a practice of asking myself questions and of teaching my heart to go to Jesus. Do you know that you can teach your own heart, that you can encourage your heart to go to Jesus? Do you know that you can be vulnerable with yourself, that you can sit with God and ask yourself the hard questions, knowing the Holy Spirit can bring to the light the things you do not even know? Do you know that with Him it is easy to be honest with yourself because you are already infinitely valued, approved and affirmed by the King of Heaven? It is true.
Sometimes the greatest journey we have to make is from the head to the heart. But I am telling you, it is the best journey to make. [ClickToTweet]
And that if you stop and pause, guaranteed you will feel and hear Jesus beckoning your heart. Whether He is kneeling in the dust with you like He did with the woman caught in adultery or whether He is standing in the middle of the lake calling you to come forward like He did with Peter, He is asking for your heart. Everything He does pulls our heart out of the dust and out of the dirt, everything He does says, “Come awake.”
Our heart matters to God and at the beginning and end of the day, whether we are living in a tent or in a mansion, whether we are at the top of the corporate ladder or serving among the poor, whether we are sick or well, wherever we are, that is our constant to Him. It is our constant gift to Him to give Him our heart.
And that stuff happening in your life, choose to tackle it with Him. Choose to not let your heart give in to fear or panic, into your heart going astray or numb, and choose the good thing. Choose to face it with His peace and out of the posture of knowing you are His son or His daughter, the very prize of His heart.