“I cannot always follow my heart”. I wrote that in my journal the other day. Looking at the words on the page, I was kinda taken back. It felt wrong, I so love the idea of “Follow your bliss” and “Listen to your heart”. I mean it’s a prevalent message these days, you hear it in songs, see it in movies. Heck, it’s even Biblical…”…He will give you the desires of your heart.” Following your heart can open a whole new world of creativity and potential. But the more I thought about it, taking that affirmation at face value, following your heart can also put you in a world of pain. Unnecessary pain.
Last year, I watched someone I love follow their heart and end up beaten to a bloody pulp. In looking back at my own history and monumental screw-ups, I see that most of my bad decisions were made on the advice of “my heart”. How could I have been fooled all those times?
Sometimes it’s easy to spot a wayward heart. If my heart compels me to gamble away the money in my savings account, well, that’s obvious enough. But other times it’s not so clear. What if my heart tells me I have a connection with someone whose not my spouse. Just a connection. A friendship. That’s all. How can that be so bad? Okay, even that’s an easy one for most people to spot. I want to bring it closer to home…
What if my heart tells me I don’t have to go to church anymore? Ouch. That I just can’t deal with the rules and regulations of each denomination…the judgment. Okay, that’s close enough to home. Thank you….
I want to go closer still, what if my heart tells me I’m happier and more secure staying at home inside my four walls and I don’t really need people..I have all the connection I need. Annnd, there it is. The “sting” for me, right now anyway. But for the record, you may be surprised if I start explaining the why’s and why not’s of my current “sting”. I’m telling you I can coax the red off a stop sign….I’m good at arguing a point and making it sound legit. Maybe that’s what the Bible is talking about in Jeremiah, “the heart is deceitful above all things…”
So, I wonder, is my heart friend or foe? In reading the entirety of Psalm37:4-5, here’s what I believe is the answer…
“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to Him, trust in Him…” It’s all about the focus I suppose. In following my heart I’ve caused the most damage, when my focus has been entirely on myself. What I want. What gives me a rush or what gives me the most satisfaction. When I’m focused on God my heart begins to desire different things, often times it involves a pouring out or giving of myself.
Have you ever followed your heart and gotten into trouble? And are you like me, able to talk your way into things that aren’t best for you?
Just a few thoughts from my journal…love and prayers as we live our legacy~one day at a time.