I’ve been thinking a lot about my heart lately and how important it is and what it means to fight for it. And I think Christians tend to fall into one of three camps when it comes to their heart:
My heart is wicked, as evidenced by the often-quoted Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.”
Or, my heart is now good, as backed up by Ezekiel 36:26, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
Or, for a myriad of reasons, I don’t even think about my heart. Usually because life is busy or there’s been so much pain or that is something that a contemplative would do – sit around thinking about her heart – and I’ve got kids to feed and laundry to put away.
Author, Denise Hildreth Jones says, “When I talk about the heart, I’m simply referring to ‘the essential or most vital part’ of who we are. It’s the center of our souls and the focus of our true identities, the part of us that we are to guard ‘above all else’.”
I used to be a my heart is wicked kind of person, but totally mixed in with I don’t even think about my heart. And I think my last two decades prove that.
I was a strange hybrid of someone who beat myself up all the time for practically every word that came out of my mouth and every decision that I foolishly (so I thought) made. All the while I stayed as busy as I possibly could with raising two kids and running a home and writing a book or two and speaking at moms’ groups and leading a ministry and traveling around the world to drown out the cries of my hurting, suffocating heart.
Because if I listened to what my heart were saying all through my twenties and thirties, I would have had to a) acknowledge that my heart mattered, which for some reason seemed like a Zen or yogi or secular or self-centered thing to believe, and b) sit with the frightening reality that I was completely shut down, that I was breaking into millions of pieces, that I – in part – wanted my life to be over.
And I just couldn’t bear to let the weight of all that fall on me because I didn’t think there was anything I could do about it.
But here’s the thing. God totally cares about our hearts. This was proven to me when I ran a simple word search on Biblegateway.com and came up with 926 references to our hearts in the New King James Version. Seriously, God saw to it to mention our hearts nine hundred and twenty-six times. That means something. It means that our hearts are very, very important to him.
Just the fact that he says in Proverbs 4:23 to “Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life,” (HCSB) should be a huge flashing sign to us that God means business when he thinks about our hearts.
We should be guarding it above all else. Above all else. Most important thing. And why? Because it is the source of life. What’s more important than life?
So, I have been asking myself – as I’m coming back to life after being mostly dead for the past two decades – what does it mean for me to guard my heart…what would it look like for me to fight for it?
This would look different for you, but the beginnings of my list look like this:
No more phone conversations or in-person conversations with people who are consistently mean to me.
If spoken unkindly to or about, try to take the words captive to Christ as soon as possible and ask him if they are true about me. If not, replace the lie with Truth.
Choose who I let into my life, and who I share my heart with.
Ask God to restore my heart—to give me back my emotions and allow me to feel again.
Ask God regularly: What do you want for me?
Ask myself regularly: What do I actually want?
Do things I love to do: write, read, sit outside, watch movies, ride my bike, shop, spend time with friends…within reason but without guilt.
Remind myself that Scripture says my heart can be:
|a hiding place for God’s word|
|delighted in something or someone|
|dwelled in by Christ|
|fashioned by God uniquely|
|filled with desires God wants to give me|
|filled with beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit|
|filled with quietness|
|filled with simplicity|
|guarded by the peace of Christ|
|known by God|
|replaced with a heart of flesh|
|set on the journey|
|urged to fulfill his purposes|
|…among many, many other things…|
So, if you are in the same boat that I find myself in – looking back on life choices that tamped down who I really was supposed to be – and you too wish to truly feel again, to truly see again, to truly live (maybe for the first time), join me in asking God to bring our hearts back to life. He wants to do this in us. And he can and he will.
Still room for you… Are you looking for wholeheartedness in your relationship with God, in your relationships in your sphere, and in your relationship with yourself? Now more than ever, this world needs WHOLEHEARTED women showing up. Join us in WholeHearted…choose your level and nab your spot today: elisabethklein.com/wholehearted-group-coaching-experience
I think God is truly pursuing me in this area of reclaiming my heart. A couple weeks ago I read the book “Secrets Over Sweet Tea” by Denise Hildreth Jones. I have never had a book I was reading for pleasure touch something deep in me as this book did.
Just yeaterday I started reading her book “Reclaimimg Your Heart”. Then today, I read this blog!
Sexual abuse has shut down my heart. I don’t cry,I don’t feel emotion, I struggle to enjoy living every day. I am so tired of fighting to feel. I so want my heart to come back to life, yet it seems like it will be such a battle to restore it and I don’t know if I have the strength left in me to fight anymore.
Yet after reading this, I feel confirmation that I am on then right path and I was encouraged by your insight regarding This subject.
I will take it a day at a time, trusting God to do in me what I am not capable of doing for myself.
Char…small literary world…I just finished reading Secrets Over Sweet Tea a couple days ago, and I’m taking a group of women through Reclaiming Your Heart. 🙂 So glad to hear that God is speaking to you and is working on restoring your heart and bringing it back to life.
Acknowledging my heart has meant dealing with extremely painful issues. I’ve learned with the help of therapy that when I shut down my heart to avoid the pain and the truth, I also shut down my ability to feel the joy. We can’t have one without the other. Like you, I had become numb. I’m so thankful for the renewal of my heart! For the ability to truly feel…even the hard stuff. He is good and faithful!
Sorry, but I have an unrelated request. Would it be possible for you to use a larger font? I’m getting old…..lol
Hi Alora, I can’t enlarge what shows up on your end. But you can zoom your screen on your computer dashboard.