My heart is prone to wander.
My Father is incredibly discerning when it comes to matters of my own heart. He can see right through me from a mile away. He knows when insecurity has taken over in a conversation and I slip into subtle (or not so subtle) variations of performance. He knows when pride has kicked in with an agenda to prove myself. He knows when authentic worship has been knocked over by a selfish display of idolatry.
God has been disciplining me, though I didn’t recognize it at first. He’s been guarding my heart, responding to dangers that remained beyond my line of sight. He put me in a time out to protect me… He shut up my progress until I re-aligned my heart.
This is a frustrating feeling. I have a desire to be a good leader. I study good leaders. I watch and observe and listen and read. I learn about consistency, attention spans, branding, and quality. I sometimes mimic other styles as a means of discovering my own voice, finding my own style. But how slippery the soul is and how quickly the heart deceives! How quickly I begin to push and compare, wanting to measure up, to be better than I am, more than I am…
Micheal Hyatt has built his success around encouraging bloggers and writers to get their words out because they have something worth saying. I value his mentorship, but in a spiritual sense, there is a danger in believing that I have something important to say… Nothing tempts the Imposter* like an opportunity to shine!
God has never been willing to tolerate me thinking that I have something to say. My call was something like that of the Old Testament prophets. God placed a burning coal across my lips to purge my heart of sin (for out of the heart the mouth speaks – Matthew 12:34), and He set me apart for a different way of speaking – as a vessel for His word and His word only (Isaiah 6:7). But I am still learning how to do that.
I am nothing like an Old Testament prophet. I’m not grand or important or successful or mighty. (Though in truth, nor were they. Just regular people like us.) Still, so many times in my life, when the normal, natural thing to do would be to progress and move forward, God has put a hedge up around me and shut up my way. He is a jealous God
God has intended to have my voice from the beginning, and therefore, He must have my heart – all of it, wholly and completely, as willingly as Jesus when He endured the cross.
Sometimes I feel like my heart is being pulled in a million different directions. Sometimes my passion is stirred up for all different manner of good things. Sometimes I become enraged at injustice and determined toward some worthy ideal… Sometimes I am overwhelmed by all the things I am supposed to do to be good… As though that could please Him.
And then God has to reign me in. He has to discipline me, set up boundaries for me. Protect me from my own wayward heart. And I love Him for it.
Being a disciple of Jesus is counter-cultural. It requires tuning to a different channel. Moving to a different beat. Dancing to a different song.
It is a rhythm of returning. With rests of abiding.
“Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15, ESV)
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5, ESV)
Nothing will ever come of anything, unless it is born out of a heart that’s only One desire is for God and God alone.
Return to Him and abide in Him. Return to Him and abide in Him.
*Abba’s Child, by Brennan Manning