The Eyes of the Heart

Yes, I know it’s the name of my site, but thought it deserved its own story/message/sermon/blog, too. I named it this as I wish by doing so that I will eventually be able to see everything and everybody through the eyes of my heart. I also hope that by sharing these thoughts, I can somehow move closer towards this goal, whether in giant leaps or baby steps, and can hopefully help someone else do the same. A daunting task… or is it? With God all things are possible… right?

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you…” – Ephesians 1:18a

That sounds like a great thing to want, or actually to long for. I long to see with the eyes of my heart. It seems so very close and attainable, yet it feels miles away. That it is just beyond our grasp… or mine anyway. It also seems to be a bar that keeps moving as I near it. I can only speak for myself, but think that may be true for a lot of people. Maybe it’s scary to us. Maybe we’re afraid of the mess we’ll find…because if we’re honest with ourselves, if only for a second, we know it’s messy in there. Sometimes we get close. We get it in our sights… we reach out for it and as we begin to close our fingers around it…. it moves again. Just beyond our grasp. But we have to keep looking, because that’s where I think real freedom comes from.

I have come to believe that’s what religion does to us. Whether it means to or not, man made religion can and will take the heart out of us. I believe in God. I believe He walked the earth in human form, and I believe He left us a helper as promised. But I hold back in the things that matter. If I do manage to see with the eyes of my heart, either I don’t tell anyone or I pull back out of fear… or I pretend I didn’t see it and just move along. Nothing to see here. Religion wants us to be safe. Religion doesn’t want us to talk back. Religion wants us to be good boys and girls and eat our vegetables. Jesus wants different. Jesus wants more from us and for us. He will keep us safe, but He wants us to lose our lives for His sake and to truly live from our real selves… He wants us to follow Him. And for that, we will need our hearts.

I feel I have a pretty good relationship with Jesus… but I’m also biased, have blinders on and keep God at arms length. Although I know it is not how this works, it’s as if our relationship is on my terms… and we all know that isn’t true. God will change you and your life to align with His will. Yes, with love, mercy and grace, but He will change you. He doesn’t want anyone to perish. He will leave the ninety-nine to search for you… How great is that?!

I pray almost continously as the verse says. Sometimes too much, though, as sometimes (most times) I just need to shut up and listen. As in my everyday life, I choose to stay busy with my busyness. Where is my Be Still? Where is my ability to rest in Him? I go into my quiet place. I shut the door. I follow all the rules (or attempt to). I start to pray from the heart, then my mind goes somewhere else… my mind remembers it’s messy in there. I want so very much to pray in the needs of the day from my heart, but have found over time, whether wanted or not, my prayers have become mechanical, structured, repetitive and boring. I’ve prayed for years for my prayers not to become rote… yet here I am.

That isn’t what I want, though, and I know that’s not what God wants to hear. I can almost see or hear Him finishing my sentences for me as I pray them. Lather, rinse, repeat…c’mon man, be real… get to the point, He says! He knows what’s next and it’s not what He wants to hear. He knows what’s on and in my heart…. and I stay quiet. I talk to Him like I do the cashier at the grocery store, or the neighbor I’m supposed to love. It’s honest talk, but it’s also small talk to keep the silence away.

I want to give Him my heart and yield my ways to Him, but always find myself holding on to something, holding back from Him, although He knows everything in my heart. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, right?!?! Then why am I still here? Why am I stuck on this part? I have a good heart, but it’s an injured heart… but aren’t they all? My story isn’t any different in that way.

I’ve had the same joys, heartaches, happiness, sadness, love, laughter, fears, heartbreak, contentment, hurt, pain, peace that everyone experiences at one time or another. Our individual stories are different, but the story is essentially the same. A parent that should have been there for us left. A parent we wished had left stayed and abused us mentally, physically in ways no one should have to experience. We found love… then someone who promised to stay forever forgot what the meaning of forever is. We have all had to shut our hearts down or off completely for protection from hurts, heartaches and disappointment. Unless we’re very fortunate, most of us have found ourselves, at one time or another, standing and staring at the edge of a giant hole where our life used to be, how it used to be and sometimes wish it still was. We kick a rock into the abyss and never hear it hit bottom.

So how do we go about finding our heart to really, really pray from, and to see and truly live from? Again, I can only speak for myself as I am the only one who can take and live my journey, as you can only take yours. As each journey with Jesus is personal, this is personal also. Even as I type this, the words that made me begin this blog, that sounded so very good and meaningful in my mind as I sat down at the computer, now begin to escape me. What was the real me an hour ago is becoming the false self again. How do I write this down for complete strangers to read? Why on earth would I? But why wouldn’t I if my life depends on it… because in a way it does.

Is it the enemy? Is it for protection? Is it a little of both? I mostly feel that is from that false self we have created. The funny one. The smart one. The laid back one. The reclusive one. All of the “ones” wrapped up together… The masks must come off. The same small talk we have with the cashier, the waiter/waitress/server/ whatever we’re supposed to call them these days. The small talk with family, friends, co-workers to keep the hounds at bay long enough to smile and laugh and tell a joke or funny story about our weekend before we turn to go just as a tear finds its way from the corner of our eye down our cheek from a new hurt we’ve just experienced or from a memory we thought we had forgotten long ago.

That’s also what we tend to do with God.

Dear God, thank you for this and thank you for that, and if you would could you help me out with this… okay, thanks, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

By not seeing with the eyes of our hearts, and praying from them also, we are not letting God be God. We have made our agreements in our minds for protection from life’s hurts and stings and from the arrows that go right into us. We handcuff God. We place limitations on Him. God is about as big for us as we assume Him to be. If we think He can get us a parking space close to the door, or let us hit all green lights on our journey, then that is who God is to us. But that’s not God. God is so much bigger than that! He doesn’t program the traffic lights or get you to the store first… But He does watch over you and love you and protect you….. if you’ll let Him.

Take the limitations off of Him. Change your routine, if you must… and you should if it’s become predictable and is taking the life out of you. God isn’t routine and your prayers shouldn’t be either. Let your guard down and open your heart. It will take practice and time…. and it will hurt a little.

Thank Him for everything you have in you to thank Him for. Thank Him for your family, kids, job, house, car, etc. Thank Him for the sun, moon and stars. Thank Him for your friends, pets and hummingbirds. Thank Him for putting a white dove in your path on Saturday when you needed a sign from Him more than ever. Thank Him for the ocean and sky, the mountains, the snow, rain, rainbows, the everything…. and then open your heart. Tell Him of the hurts and disappointments. Tell Him of the pain that lingers and the fears that keep you paralyzed on your mat. Be personal with Him. Confess everything good, bad or otherwise because He knows it anyway. Treat others how you want to be treated applies to God, as well. Treat Him as you want to be treated. Thank God He’s more merciful than that and will treat us with love and grace whether we deserve it or not. Just be honest with Him. << preaching to myself a little/a lot.

Then get ready. Get ready for healing and restoration. Maybe not right away as we see time, although God can do more in a minute than we can in a lifetime. But healing will come. Rest assured, it will come. But you have a responsibility in it, also…. You have to want to be well. More than life itself, you have to want it… because, in fact, it is life you’re after. And the freedom of being well may be more than you’re ready for. For some, the pain and hurt have become their identity, and everything outside of that is scary. You may be tempted to wait until He’s out of sight before spreading your mat back on the ground again and getting comfortable by the pool. We’ve all been there, some more than once, and some still choose to live there every day. Don’t do it!!!! Take a step of faith…then another… then another. Trust and obey. This is life and this is your life. Live it well and with everything you have in you to live with. We are a mist and then gone. Give God the chance to show you the exceedingly abundant God He is. Let God be God.

God2

A Living Hope

Happy Tuesday everybody. Has to be happy, right? It’s not Monday. 😉😊
We who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. – Hebrews 6:18b-19a

First things first before a God story or God wink about hope. Encourage one another. Again and again and again, sprinkle that stuff everywhere!! Speak words of kindness and compassion. Love each other as He has loved you. Live by the fruit of the Spirit and the golden rule. Treat others as you want to be treated. Yes, I know… people can be all people-y sometimes, but we can be all people-y, too. I can be stubborn, hard headed, difficult to get along with and unlovable at times. I don’t mean to be. None of us do, but it’s truth. Just be kind. I’ll go back to what my mother told me…If you can’t think of anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. But if you can… if at all possible….
Speak what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. – Ephesians 4:29

Now hope… one of the BIG three. Faith, hope and love. I’m pretty full in the faith reservoir. The love one could always be better. But my hope reservoir has been drying up for a while now. I’m really, really trying to persevere, but dang! So last week I’m driving along talking to God.. a very common occurrence these days. He’s talking, I’m listening. What I do say He already knows, but still I talk and the subject is hope.

My life is good. God has blessed me greatly and I’m thankful, yet there are areas of my life I would like to be better. I know God isn’t a genie and the Bible isn’t a wish book, but still I wish and dream and hope…. I pour out my heart to God. Again He already knows, but He likes His children to ask. So I ask. Then what happens? I look up at that exact moment when He would answer… and He did.

I know where I’m at and where I’m driving to, so I wasn’t paying much attention to the roads I’m going by. But at that exact moment, I look up and notice I’m passing Hope road. It’s not a big road. It’s not one I’ll ever need to drive on, but there it was. You can say it’s just a road or that it was a coincidence, but I know in my heart it was much, much more.

Nothing is random, and coincidences or happenstance are also much more than that. God gave me an answer. God gave me himself. Don’t know if my hope bucket is full, but it’s darn close and filling up fast. And there’s more than enough to go around. Help yourself to hope, my friends. Have a blessed and wonderful and wonderfully blessed day. 🙂

#choosejoy
#choosehope
#chooselove
#chooselife
#choosefaith
#choosetrust
#chooseGod
p.s. Hint: If you choose that last one first, all the others are included. 🙂
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13
hope 1

Be Still and Know

Monday musings on a Tuesday morning.

Sometime over the weekend.. Saturday afternoon, I believe, I found myself needing to hear from God. It was actually more of a gentle nudge from Him that He needed to tell me something and that I needed to listen.. really, REALLY needed to listen.

So I find a quiet place (which isn’t hard to do), but then the chatter starts. The enemy isn’t happy when you stop the busyness to listen to God and will do anything to interrupt. Recognize it and do not give in! I started thinking of everything that needed to be done.. the laundry, cleaning, mowing, launching 2 teenage boys into adulthood, where’s the remote 😉, etc, etc, etc. It took a few minutes to silence these thoughts, then the critics (the enemy) chimed in. Why listen to God? Your relationships stink. You’re no good. You’ve been listening to God all this time and look where you’re at and on and on and on and…. But finally, I was able to wrestle the enemy into submission.. this time. I got the hamster on the wheel that powers my brain to take a break. I got every corner of the chalkboard erased for some new thoughts. So finally all is quiet, I grab the chalk to be ready and hear in a whisper…. Be Still.

Hmmm. Okay. I know that already. He’s been telling me the same thing for months. Be still and trust Him. I do trust Him, but I’m not good at the whole be still thingy. Again, I know the verses…

Be still and know that I am God. – Psalm 46:10

The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still. – Exodus 14:14

Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. – Psalm 27:14

Okay, I get it God. Be still, be still and be still. Not my strong suit. The hamster is back on the wheel…he’s on steroids and just took his pre workout and he goes and goes and goes non-stop. But with God by my side I can reduce his noise to background chatter. I have the full armor of God and am not afraid to use it. So, if anyone needs me, I’ll be over here thinking differently, breaking strongholds, staying positive and encouraging, doing my absolute best to serve others and live by the fruit of the Spirit, trusting and obeying God, thanking Him for everything… and being still.

I read somewhere that the literal Hebrew translation of be still is to let go.  Again…it sounds easy enough to do.  Let go and let God.  Be still, let go and breathe.  It boils down to trust…but doesn’t it always.  God has the best plans for your life.  TRUST HIM!  << preaching to myself… 🙂

#choosejoy
#choosehappiness
#chooselove
#chooseGod … because after all, God is love.

 

Be still and know

Love is…pt. 1

 

Good Friday aka The Greatest Love of All

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. – John 15:15

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. – John 15:13

I don’t know what I can say about love that hasn’t been said in those three verses. God gave us His one and only Son so that we can have a relationship with Him. As the song goes, He is a good, good Father. A firm but fair Father…and our friend.

God desires a relationship with us…each and every one of us, sinner or saint. Even though we may sometimes qualify as saints, we are still sinners. AND HE STILL LOVES US!! He knows each and every one of us, heart and soul. The good, the bad and the sometimes ugly, AND HE STILL LOVES US!

He created each and every one of us to have a relationship with Him. There are currently over 7 billion people on earth and only He knows how many more there have been for thousands of years now and He has always desired a relationship with each and every one of us. The Webster’s definition of desire says “to long or hope for”… God longs for you and He wants all of you…again, Heart and Soul. All in and nothing less.

How many of us would offer up our sons or daughters even knowing how the story would play out? Not sure I would do it. Have you seen how we behave? Although we all have good/great moments daily, we are more prone to bouts of rudeness, impatience, meanness, spitefulness, sadness, anger, etc, etc, etc. Not exactly Fruits of the Spirit stuff and God gave His ONE AND ONLY SON for us… Sounds like love to me. Shouldn’t we all strive to love Him the same way?? After all, He laid down His life for His friends…. Us.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” – Matthew 22:37-38
And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:39-40

Love is very important to God and the greatest gift He could give us, that we could give Him, and that we should do our very best to give to others. We love because He first loved us. So, if it’s that important to God, it is also important to me. Having said that, I have more trouble with the second commandment up there than the first. However, my trouble with the second prevents me from completely fulfilling the first. I can’t remember who said it, but I have read that loving your neighbor as yourself is a horrible commandment if you don’t love yourself. I don’t love myself and I know I’m not alone. I actually like my neighbor more than I like myself and he can be an a**hole at times. So what does that say about me. 🙂 I have begun to like myself though and am working on the love part. I do love God but don’t yet feel like it is with ALL my heart, mind and soul….yet. And I have found when God says all…. He means ALL!!

Exhibit A and I don’t really need a B.
Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in ALL your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

In all your ways. With all your heart. With all your soul. With all your mind. All means ALL, y’all.

Part 2

God is Love. It says so in the Bible so it has to be true.

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. – 1 John 4:8
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. – 1 John 4:16

See?!?! Right there in writing twice in the same chapter. God is love. End of story…. but is it really? No. There is more. I haven’t even started with 1 Corinthians 13. So now I shall and all I’m going to do is replace the word love with God.

God is patient, God is kind. God does not envy, does not boast, is not proud. God does not dishonor others, is not self-seeking, is not easily angered. God keeps no record of wrongs (If you confess them). God does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. God always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. God never fails. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13. And remember… God is Love.

This may be good theology or bad theology or no theology at all but it makes me feel a whole lot better about things. God loves us.  God cares.  Nothing will ever separate us from His love…other than ourselves.  He has loved us with an everlasting love; with unfailing love He draws us to Himself.  He stands at the door and knocks… Don’t you think it’s time to let Him in?  I do.

I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. – Revelation 3:20

There’s the word friends again.  He wants friendship with us.  All in.  Open your hearts and let Him in.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have God, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have God, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have God, I gain nothing. – 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

There it is.  Without God and without love, we are nothing. Don’t look at me…It’s not me saying that…it says so right up there. ^^^^ I don’t want to get to the end of my life and hear “I never knew you.” I want to hear “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” That is my goal.

Now having said and shared this, what am I (or are we) to do with it? Lofty goals for humans as we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We are to strive to be more like Jesus, but we will fail…daily. But I do want to be more like Christ today than I was yesterday and God willing, even a better version of myself tomorrow. So even though Good Friday wasn’t necessarily a “good” day when it was happening, it turned out to be the very best gift God could have given us……Himself.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. – James 1:17

Father in heaven, I thank you for today and every day of life. I thank you for your love and for giving your Son for me so that I shall live. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Have a great Easter, everyone. 🙂