what speaks to your heart (guarding our hearts from discouragement)
Unleashing Joy in the Midst of Life
Time travel novel with a spiritual twist.
Accessing my Heart
The setting is Pirate Land in Mrytle Beach, SC. I rented an RV and gathered my family around (at least those who like the RV scene) for a week or so of relaxed living. We had done an RV trip seven years earlier and the kids loved it.
There is something about the simplicity of camping that speaks to a part deep inside me, perhaps a call to days gone by. Many would argue that RVing might not be camping at all, but you're outside most of the time, you cook your meals over open flames and you're not inundated with the all the sounds and distractions of today's hectic life. So, that's camping for me. Plus, since you are away from home, the never ending to-do list that constantly screams in your mind, is quieted, at least for a moment.
We finish a breakfast of bacon and eggs, which always tastes better when its cooked outside. I refresh my cup with rich, dark coffee mixed with splenda and half and half. The famlly is occupied doing their own activities and I pull out the camping chair and plop down with a great sigh.
For some reason the cares of the world seem a thousand miles away. I'm able to truly pause and take in the sights of people whirling past me on golf carts and the sounds of children laughing in the distance. I feel the ocean breeze on my face and smell the summer grass and flowers. I am fully in the moment, the stresses of work and the maintenance of stuff is totally off my radar.
I am so taken by the peacefulness of the moment, that I decide to take a picture of myself in my state of simple bliss. Maybe I'm afraid the contentment will be quickly swept away and I want to somehow capture it in time to be relived (like I am doing now (8^>).
But why are these moment so rare? What keeps me from fully experiencing my life on a day by day, even moment by moment basis? I have been pondering this question on and off for a while now and I think one of the reasons might be that I live so much of my life without my heart engaged in the moment. In fact I think I have lived much of my life with my heart covered up underneath the distractions of a never ending list of duties and an unrealistic need to please the people around me.
Watch over your heart with diligence, for from it flows the springs of life. Proverbs 4
Certainly our physical hearts keep us alive, but even from Biblical days we learn of something else called our hearts that seems to be the essence of who we are.
In two back to back verses in Genesis 6, we read about man's heart and we also learn that God has a heart.
5 The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. 6 The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.
In both cases the word heart is translated from the Hebrew word leb, pronounced 'lab' (long a). Leb means the inner man, the mind, will, heart, understanding. It refers to the soul of a man and the source of our appetites, passion and courage. A person's heart is also considered their conscious, memory and reflections. Our hearts seem to be the essence of who we are as a person, the most vital part of our inner being.
If you think about it, we use the word heart to speak about our inner being all the time:
- We have heart to heart talks
- Our mate's capture our hearts
- We speak of the longings of our hearts
- Those closest to us can break our hearts
- Someone speaks, plays or serves from their hearts
- A person can lose heart
- And we long for others to hear our hearts
- Our hearts can come alive
It seems that we were created to fully experience life by having the essence of who we are, our hearts, fully engaged with every activity we perform and every word we speak. I think we are to fully savor all that our senses receive and fully experience all that life brings our way, both good and bad. But somehow at least for me, my heart is often covered up, hidden beneath the wounds of yesterday, the distractions of today and the fears of tomorrow.
I want this to change. I don't want those times in the camping chair in front of the RV to be the exception. I want to live life with my heart fully engaged all the time. I believe this is how we were designed to live.
Relating Heart to Heart
One of the reasons I want to fully discover my heart and keep it engaged is that I believe this is essential to relating to others, including God. To the extent that I am able to present my heart, as open as I know how, to God and to others, will be the exact proportion in which I have the capacity of knowing them.
Not only do I want to live life fully alive, but I want to learn as much as I can about the hearts of others. After all, if the heart is the essence of who a person is, then getting to know their heart is what I should strive to do. And getting to know a person's heart means "hearing their heart" when they speak.
Recently, my wife told me to listen for my daughter's heart, listen for what is coming from her passions deep within, Don't just focus on her tone or focus on what she is adding to my to-do list. This is not the first time my wife has said this to me and I'm realizing now how often I've missed my kid's hearts, particularly my daughters, over the years. (8^<
I do think that females have a much better handle on this heart thing than men, at least than this man.
Then there's God. His heart is always engaged, always active, never hidden. Because He has no wounds, distractions or fears, I have the greatest potential for knowing His heart than anyone. With Him, it's a matter of presenting my uncovered heart to Him and He does the rest.
Lord, help me to remain open hearted and yielded to you. May my purpose in life be to receive your love and give it away.