"You change your life by changing your heart". - Max Lucado
The heart is an amazing, unbelievably hard-working organ. It is responsible for pumping all of the blood and oxygen throughout our entire body 24-hours-non-stop, no coffee breaks and definitely no days off. At only the size of a fist, it does the most important job of the bodily system. It's the quiet, unsung hero of life tucked away out of sight and most often, out of mind.
That is, until it breaks. Sometimes literally, more often figuratively, it just plain hurts and screams out "Hey! You! Pay attention to me!" It is in these moments that we have a crucial choice to make: Stop and take care of what needs repair or just keep on going, ignoring the blaring check-engine light on the dashboard of our hearts, hoping it will just go away on its' own somehow. I did this one time back in college, ignoring the oil light on my car, let me tell you, it was a lesson painfully learned!
What is strange is that we look in the mirror every day, sometimes multiple times a day, to brush our teeth, wipe our face, and check our hair. We take time to put on make-up, nitpick our body image, and figure out clothing coordination. But, how often are we going further than surface-deep, to look at the innermost parts of who we are and see what needs some adjusting and cleansing, and sometimes, a total flush out?
The spiritual heart is the most important thing we have. It is the part of us that we cannot hook up to monitors and ultrasound screens to verify all is working as it should. No, this requires a daily check-up and check-in with our Wonderful Counselor; the One who sees through us and looks beyond the mask we often wear for disguise and into the sacred place that truly matters:
"God does not see the same way people see. People look at the outside of a person, but the Lord looks at the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7b)
It is pretty easy to fool others because we can appear to be all sorts of things we are not right? Like happy, put-together, indifferent and in control. Because, let's be honest - it feels much easier and safer to keep our unpretty and unseemly things locked up and tucked away deep inside than letting them out to run wild, exposing and embarrassing us. So, we close the lid tight, trying to hide them rather than actually learning to tame and then release them.
The more we ignore though, the more they rise up in our spirits, breaking through and reeking havoc. They can come in the form of snapping at our spouses and kids, criticizing co-workers, honking our horns, rolling our eyes; the list goes on forever. We can certainly get through life this way, but it is a far cry from living in fulfilled abundance as Jesus freely offers us. And, as scripture often exhorts; unless we change our hearts and lives to love Him, others, and ourselves as He intended us to, we are never going to get there.
I know from personal experience that until I began to take my spiritual health seriously, I was often in Code Red and in desperate need of open heart surgery. But, by daily reading God's word, the best self-help book around, I discovered what it means to live in the fullness of joy! I needed God to chisel out the things clogging the arteries and obstructing the flow of Living Water to my life. I had dammed up what needed opening.
Once I allowed Him to change me on the inside, then, and only then, did it start to show on the outside too. I remember how random people used to often tell me to "smile". Now, there is nothing more annoying to someone who is unhappy than to tell them to "smile". I just wanted to loudly (and dripping in sarcasm) say "Wow! Thank you! Now everything is magically better! I could not have done it without you!" But, I didn't. I just grinned and walked away irked that yet again I was asked to fake a feeling I was far from feeling.
Now though, I can honestly say, I am actually joy-full and others have taken notice. I now naturally smile and live lighter, because I am lighter. When I surrendered and let God remove the 1,000 pound tumor off my heart, life indeed changed for the better. This is why I am so passionate about people opening and studying their Bibles. Because until we know God, we will never actually know ourselves and will be missing out on the best version.
We all need to take the time to step into the waiting room, hear our name called by our perfect Healer and go in for a daily check up. Because it is the only real way to actually get better. And, better yet, come out a priceless work of His heart.
Question: What do you need God to help chisel out of your heart today to begin living your very best life?