Read the newspaper. Watch the television. Login in to Facebook. It takes less than a minute viewing any one of these sources of media, to realize our world is at war. Not the type of war most people think of, but rather a war for our hearts.
In this moment, I’m surrounded by pain, hurting hearts, sickness, sadness and anger. Much is going on in the lives of those I love, all the while I’m fighting for my heart in healing from the trauma of the past year. As the information pours in of several friends and family who are in difficult and heart breaking circumstances, there is a pull toward a few natural responses.
- Drop everything and dive in to do whatever I can to help and support them.
- Collapse to the floor and hide. Become deeply afraid and depressed as I wait for the other shoe to drop.
While I may be exaggerating a little on number two, I don’t believe I’m too far off. Although these are natural responses from our hearts that are good, I see value in guarding our hearts first. As the flood of sadness and heartbreak poured in around me, I felt an awareness over my heart. I observed and clued in on the work of the enemy as he desired to shift my thoughts and my feelings away from my Father. In those moments, I chose a guarding of my heart to hold on to the truth so that I may better love those who need me. So that I could care for my heart and allow it what it needed. Space. Quiet. A releasing of emotions. If I were to choose to throw myself into crisis mode for all those who are in need and neglect my heart, it would be an open invitation for the enemy to come in and feed me with lies and begin making agreements. Instead, I chose a posture of praying for my friends and family in a way of releasing them into the arms of the Father, into the arms of the One who can handle the pain, the struggle, the hurt and the healing. While I had moments of feeling ‘selfish’ or wondering if I was lacking compassion, I realized releasing the burden and the stress of these difficult circumstances from my shoulders and from my heart, was not for a lack of love for my friends and family but because of the immense love I have for them.
As we pursue the heart of the Father, as we choose to care for and guard our hearts, we grow in a deeper awareness of our feelings and emotions. When we care for our hearts, we are free to love others from a full and whole heart . . . and we are free to better love ourselves. It opens the opportunity to reveal the root of our pain, our anger and our hurt. Providing margin in our day . . . two minutes or two hours . . . to breathe and ask the question, slows the pace to allow the heart to catch up and speak. And when we take a moment to listen, we can give our heart the care it needs.
So, I end with this question. What if we reserved judgment on life’s difficult moments being equated to the end of the world and chose instead to release it to the One who holds our hearts and holds our tomorrows? The enemy desires to steal our hearts and fill it with fear. He desires to turn our eyes away from the Father and fix our eyes on HATRED, POLITICS, MONEY, CIRCUMSTANCES. He wants to steal our hope and replace it with doubt. He wants to steal our joy and replace it with sadness. He wants to steal our freedom and replace it with bondage. Making the choice to guard our heart is a choice I believe can bring LIFE, LOVE, JOY and FREEDOM.
“If the enemy can disable or deaden your heart, then he has effectively foiled the plan of God, which was to create a world where love reigns. By taking out your heart, the enemy takes out you, and you are essential to the story.”
Waking the Dead by John Eldredge