Beautiful Chaos

Finding adventure in the everyday

PLEASE live from your heart!

February28

I hear sometimes in Christian circles that we shouldn’t live by our emotions. That we should live in obedience instead, striving to follow God despite our selfish desires. This way of thinking says that our sinful hearts can’t be trusted and we need to ignore them and smother them with God’s truths to live differently in this world.

Well, this line of thinking ignites a fire in my heart that needs to get out. So I’m writing.

I have lived in “obedience” mode for most of my life. Trying to be “good enough” for others to earn love before I met Jesus and then “good enough” for God under the guise of “obedience”. I tried to beat my heart into obedience. I tried to push down my fear and selfish longings. I tried to ignore or “speak truth” to feelings that went against what God says. I tried. And where I ended up? Alone. Isolated from people because no one knew the real me. I didn’t even know the real me. I was so good at masking what was going on in my heart that I am still trying to uncover why I’m reacting at times. I have learned to feel my heart shut off, but it still takes time and usually journaling to uncover what I’m skillfully trying to avoid.

I became isolated from people because I was trying so hard to be something I wasn’t that I was living a lie. I had to hide from them to keep them from seeing a glimpse of the “real” me that I was so diligently trying to keep covered up from the world. I was one person on the outside and someone else on the inside. But I was so so good at it that I didn’t even know I was doing it. It seemed like the right way to go: obeying God and doing the right thing. Oh goodness.

WE ARE NOT ROBOTS! Sorry for shouting. That’s how fired up I feel. God did not create us to simply do his bidding like little minions, jumping when he says jump and giving up all heart and preference and choice. *sigh* Ok, back to my story.

Then I saw one man at a church event bare his heart and share the messiest, most real story I’ve ever heard. His story. It made me uncomfortable. I had spent so much time trying to cover up the mess in my life and here he was exposing his to the world. And as he shared his story it was in the exposing that God was able to heal his heart. To take his mess and renew it. To free his heart from all the trying and striving and allow him to live a real, authentic, free life. That was the beginning of my journey to honest living.

And I think I feel so fired up about this topic because I cringe at the thought of others still living that kind of half life that numbed me to everything real going on inside. It has taken 5 years for God to get me to this place of owning my mess, taking it to Him with full confidence of his love. You see, obedience comes out of relationship. It flows out. A natural thing. Not any kind of striving.

When God created us He gave us this heart that beats out feelings of all kinds and I can’t stand by and let anyone say that we should ignore what our heart is saying. That is ignoring a piece of the way God made you. It’s no different than the fact that he made your hands and feet, he made your face and body and he handcrafted, delicately and thoughtfully, just the way he wanted your heart.

Ignoring our heart is ignoring God. It is how he speaks to us. It is how we are aware of what is happening inside of us. Yes, maybe our heart is being selfish, but the only real way to stop being selfish, the only LASTING WAY, is to share that selfishness with God. Own it. To pour it out to him, sometimes with a friend, and allow Him to pour his grace all over it. Transformation is NOT an act of the will. We CANNOT force ourselves to be something we are not. God is the only one who can change our hearts.

And He is not afraid of our sin. He is not afraid to see that it’s ugly in there. He already knows it and wants to comfort us from the guilt and shame and then walk with us into newness. He doesn’t condemn or mock, he understands and grabs our hand and leads us into freedom and love.

We can’t live a life of serving God if we are spending all our efforts running from the very piece of us that makes us us. If God so painstakingly picked out that heart for us then we need to embrace it. We need to set it free. Allow our hearts to really feel because it’s only in that really feeling that we can really love. That we can truly rejoice and weep and cry out in anguish to our Beloved. The only way that we can share someone else’s sorrow and pain and carry it with them. The only way we can set the world on fire with God’s love. We need to let our hearts feel.

So, let us not close off our hearts in the name of obedience. Let us not claim emotional distance as the true way to follow God. Let us not offer cliche Bible verses to others when they are struggling. I can’t imagine how heartbroken He’d be that we shut down such a core piece of who we are, how we function in his name. So laugh. Cry. Get angry. Be selfish. Be prideful. Be ugly inside. Take those to God and find friends who are real as well. Tell Him honestly where you are, and let him speak to those places. Let him speak to them over and over again. As many times as you need. He doesn’t get tired of teaching his children how to let go of fear and bitterness and anger. I believe he delights in us when we come to him and allow him to truly set us free.

 

posted under Life with God

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