Tuesday, September 2, 2008

You, Your Heart, and Your Life

The way of this world draws us in the opposite direction from God’s own heart.

The love of God pays no attention to the distinctions made by natural individuality.
Oswald ChambersIn fact, despite the apparent value of our heart, we seem to spend a significant part of our life trying to mask, ignore, or downright disobey it, don’t we? We are repeatedly embarrassed by personal qualities that make us unique from others. “I wish I wasn’t so outspoken …” We regularly don’t value our own worth and let others redefine it to their standards. “I thought it was a good idea, but everyone else …” We allow ourselves to become involved in situations that do not afford us the respect we deserve. “I knew it was a mistake when he invited me back to his apartment, but …” We doubt ourselves and what we know to be right. “I know it wasn’t the best thing to do, but …”

We ignore our heart and in doing so we distance ourselves from God.

We ignore our heart and in doing so we accumulate mistakes, failures, and missed opportunities that keep us from forging positively ahead into the future.

We ignore our heart and in doing so we loose sight of the person God wants us to be.

We ignore our heart and miss joyful experiences that we are meant to have.

We ignore our heart and in doing so do not fulfill the job that only we are capable of doing.

We ignore our heart and end up in a place that is sad, dark, lonely, and hopeless.

Our job here on this earth is to continually ‘shore up’ our heart: get it right, make it strong, start anew, and become improved … GROW. The Bible addresses that, too. “Becoming a new person” affords those of us with a past as bleak as a burned out forest the opportunity to get away from the smoke and ash. 2 Corinthians 5:17 states clearly, “Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”

God wants you beyond your resources so you have to depend on Him and His resources.
Rev. Dr. Todd Buurstra

We human beings just don’t appreciate the magnitude of this promise. We repeatedly don’t believe it nor do we take advantage of it. “My whole life is and always will be a disaster.” “I’ve got things in my past that are too big to forget.” “I’ve got bad luck.” “I don’t believe in fairy tales.” “I’ve got issues.” The first step to a changed heart is to step out on faith and believe. Eliminate “but” from your vocabulary. Give God the opportunity to show you what your life can be like.

Rationalize this for me: if God is willing to forgive and forget everything bad about you and your past, why can’t you? Usually it’s because forgiving and forgetting involves making conscious decisions to change for the better. It means becoming proactive towards your future and taking the necessary steps to ensure your success. What you must come to understand at some point along the way is that your refusal to let go of past disasters, the continuation over and over again to make the same mistakes, and your failure to accept the responsibility for your life becomes your very own … tombstone. (Sorry, but someone’s got to tell you.) Aside from prayer, reading, studying and applying the Word of God is the single most influential way towards becoming a person after “God’s own heart”.

Besides the date, the Bible is chock full of the most private personal details of people who were just like us except for the lack of electricity and indoor plumbing. They’ve gone through it all and left behind a rather amazing account of how often and how gloriously they blew it. As well as, every now and then, how they got it right. All of their most private and personal mistakes, failures, sorrows, and bad deeds are spelled out for us in glorious back and white text to read, chuckle over, pompously shake our heads in disbelief, and … hopefully … learn from. Rick Warren said, “While it is wise to learn from experience, it is even wiser to learn from the experience of others.” Here’s a question for you: “How wise are you?”

Reading the Bible is like looking into your sister’s journal. It gives you the opportunity to live vicariously through another person’s life that is perhaps more exciting or appealing than our own. It allows us to see, up close and personal, what secrets some people have deep inside that they would never ever share with anyone. It permits us to see just how bad and just how good things can really be. It teaches us what should be important in our God given life and what should be ignored.

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

For you see, the men and women of the Bible experienced all the same things we do today: stupidity, lust, jealousy, hatred, fear, loneliness, worthlessness, sorrow and true love. They also battled with the same internal and external pressures that we struggle with today: money troubles, poor self confidence, illness, doubt, bad people who wanted to do mean things to them … There is not one situation that we face today that someone hasn’t had to deal with already in the biblical journal account. Why not take the opportunity and learn from someone else’s mistakes as well as successes?

Which brings us full circle to my initial points. All relationships you have in your life – good or bad – are a direct window into you and your heart. What do you think about that comment?

The collection of people that surround you shout loud and clear the condition of your heart. People are often quick to give excuses as to why that statement isn’t accurate. But let’s face it; the people that you are attracted to (romantically and just as friends) are specifically linked to your very own individual make-up. Some people appeal, some do not, and what you are internally is what is the deciding factor.

How about this quote from the website Despair.com: “The only consistent feature of all your dissatisfying relationships is you.” How terrifying is that quote? The first time I read it, it struck me as quite funny. But then, after its brutal frankness began to sink in with me, I took a big gulp and rather hesitantly began to reflect back on my rather dismal personal track record of personal relationships over the years.

May this journey bring a blessing,
May I rise on wings of faith;
And at the end of my heart's testing,
With Your likeness let me wake.
Margaret Becker

What do people see when they look into your personality window? What do you say to others about yourself in the way you live your life? These are hard questions that whether you choose to face them or not, in then end will be the reality of what people think of you. You can ignore these questions but the impact of the answers will not go away.

The purpose of Biblical Women And Who They Hooked Up With is to give you the opportunity to peek into some very personal diary entries and read about all the disasters that would never be spoken about and maybe learning something in the process. Give your heart a thorough examination and …

  • Apply some of the lessons.

  • Do a little thoughtful introspection.

  • Examine the quality of your heart.

  • Realign your priorities.

  • Fix what’s broken.

  • Strengthen what’s weak.

  • Find what’s lost.

  • Make God smile a bit.

Come on, what have you got to loose? Or, better yet, what have you got to gain?

This is an excerpt from Sue's book: Biblical Women And Who They Hooked Up With available at her http://www.lulu.com/ store: http://www.lulu.com/content/884852

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You said: "We ignore our heart and in doing so we loose sight of the person God wants us to be."

Here, here, Susan. Nicely said. I notice that when I'm far from God and His word I more harsh, inpatient, and cold. That's not what God wants me to be.

Thanks for the post. Have a great day.