Looking in … to our Hearts.
’Blessed are the pure in heart,’ Jesus said … but what does it mean? And, by the way, what keeps you from having a pure heart and an ordered mind--could it be clutter? Please locate a piece of paper, and draw an open heart that represents your heart. Got it? Now, if you shade portions of the heart to capture rough percentages, how much of it is cluttered with stuff? Is your spiritual heart and mind fully functional, or
>is it duplicitous—you know, pushed and pulled by desires that press in from places other than your God, your conscience, and right path? Reminds me of James’ words, ‘Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.’* Oh yes, Lord, my heart is often so divided.
So, what portion of your heart …
>is bound up by guilt over things that make you feel bad about yourself? If so, shade a little part of the heart on your paper, because your head and heart do not operate at full capacity; you are constantly hearing yourself saying, ‘yeah, well you failed there….’ ‘you’re never gonna do it right, you’ll never be good enough…’
>Is your heart hardened by failure to forgive, or maybe even specific bitternesses? If so, shade in another little portion of the heart on your paper.
>Is your heart broken, maybe by past pain from people, events, or relationships for which you have never healed? Maybe things like child abuse, parental neglect, being the child of an alcoholic, an ugly divorce… If so, shade in, or cut off pieces of your paper heart.
>Is your heart taken up with unmet expectations you placed in other people, like maybe your spouse, or your employer, or God! It leaves you constantly feeling defensive, skeptical of others’ motives, perhaps a little self-centered, and not so free in giving or receiving love . . . yeah, you guessed it, shade in some more of your paper heart.
>Is your heart consumed with what might have been? or what should have been? All of these things clutter our hearts, they keep our hearts from being healthy, free to love--to give love and receive love as we should.
But further, they help us see that we have stuffed things inside of us, left the gardens of our hearts untended; then we wonder why we are not flourishing. Here’s another thing—I believe it is the reason so many people are sick, physically sick. Oh sure, I know medical science has linked stress and sickness, but I believe the unhealthy condition of our emotional/spiritual hearts also leads to sickness.
We bury our hurt, sometimes because we just have to get on with life at the time, and somehow do not get back to ‘deal with it’. But then something happens, and some one or some thing touches that spot, and like a landmine, it explodes! And we have pieces of ourselves lying all over the place, and it is ugly.
How about this--take the time to actually put the pen to paper, and consider what might clutter your heart—was it when your girlfriend cheated on you? Ouch, did she just say that? ‘Still got your paper? Interview yourself—how did it feel? ‘Man, it hurt so bad. She made me feel like nothing—I didn’t deserve that.’ No you didn’t. Grieve it. Give it to God, ask him to heal it—don’t bury it again! And these other things that consume your heart… take a look at them, and then offer them up to God. Ask him to begin to do a healing work, a complete work. Yeah, that’s what happens when we start looking into hearts; we see what’s really there, and what clutters them from the things that really matter.
* – James 1.-8, NLT