The scripture is full of thoughts pertaining to our hearts. From the beginning, Genesis 6 says…man was great on the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart… Genesis 8 says…the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, … The intention, thoughts, and sayings reside deep both in God and man. There are almost eight hundred references to God and the heart of humanity in the scriptures.
And his heart became numb – you have done this from the integrity of your heart – he will be glad in his heart – I will harden his heart – he did not take this into his heart – he made the hearts of the people melt – great searchings of the heart – his heart was merry – wise in heart – you have placed joy in my heart – with my whole heart I will praise thee – incline your heart towards me – trust in the Lord with all your heart – the pure in heart will see God – Take heart – their hardness of heart – with all your heart – hold it fast in an honest and good heart – out of your heart will flow rivers – sorrow has filled your heart – we do not lose heart – live with a sincere heart – I hold you in my heart – astray in their hearts – unbelieving heart – intentions of the heart – draw near with a true heart in full assurance.
These are but a few of the examples and there are so many more! Our hearts are the epicenter of all things in our relationship with God.
Recently, I had a conversation with a friend regarding a misunderstanding they had with their director. She explained to me in several ways how right she was regarding the content of their conversation. Her frustration was evident in her tone and posture. She stated, “She is wrong, I am right, and I know it!” A long pause followed this statement and she said, “Well, that sounded ugly!” I asked her to consider what was more important, for her to be “right” or to live from beauty in her heart? After a minute, she told me she needed to go for a walk and pray.
Later, I thought more after our conversation. I was reminded of instances in my life where my being “right” left me feeling worse after I got my way. I wondered why. I think being right for a moment gave me that stroke on the ego but betrayed my heart. The flip side is that in those instances if I am not honest with what I am feeling and don’t address it, I can be passive. This leads to betraying myself which fosters resentment. I have a voice and I have silence. Which route do I choose? Either way, I am not being true to God or myself if I am not engaging with my heart. My guide is my heart before God rather than the rationalization of my “own way” that doesn’t include my relationship with God.
A peaceful heart is a non-comparison value to a rigid rightness. Thinking & reasoning work is easier than heart work where I process my feelings, desires, and longings – meshing the two is where real work begins. Being authentically known to others first starts with being honestly true to myself before God.
Proverbs states for us to guard our heart for it is the well-spring of life. Could it be that “rightness” isn’t the issue, but rather peace is? Could it be that my “silence” isn’t the issue but my true voice is? A heart that reflects God and my honest self is beautiful. This is who He created me to be and when I betray that I hold no peace but rather a sense of division within myself.
God is right about everything yet He disperses mercy to us all. There is none who is righteous. Being right with an ugly heart is not being right at all. Silence with resentment isn’t right at all. There is something much greater going on within me (epicenter) than what’s going on outside me.
Luke 6 explains, the good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good…for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. If being right is my security in life, my rightness will continue to strengthen itself. Along the way, it will wound relationships and burn bridges, and most likely leave me alone in the end. If my silence looks good but isn’t true to who I am I will end up lonely, resentful, and claiming, ‘no one really knows me.’ Both lead to loneliness. Living from our hearts creates intimacy with God and others
To know God is to know ourselves and to know the One who created us is to know ourselves.
So, where do we start? Begin speaking to the Lord about those longings, feelings, and concerns. Those twinges of my heart are invitations from the Lord saying, “Come to me here.” Those fragile words help me to pause with anticipation about what is ahead in my relationship with my Creator and what’s to come. It’s a step of faith that God sees.
The next step is a step of courage. This step is to share the movements of our hearts with someone else. When we share our hearts with God & another from a vulnerable place in our lives we begin into a newness of life.
A heart-lived before God and others is beautiful and satisfying.