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.

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To err is human…

The following “blog” is something I posted on social media a while back, but it bears repeating… because forgiveness = good, unforgiveness = bad. ¬†ūüôā ¬†It all comes down to (for me anyway) living the Golden Rule. ¬†It really is that simple. ¬†Do unto others as you would have them do to you. ¬†You are human… they are too.

So¬†whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them… – Matthew 7:12

Some of you are running around being mad and not forgiving someone for what you did to them. << you all may want to read that one again. ¬†You are holding a grudge against someone for your behavior towards them. ¬†Not good and I’m not pointing fingers. ¬†Most times I write these, I find I am not just “preaching” to others…I am preaching to myself. I’ve been on both ends and without forgiveness, things almost never end well. Relationships lost, friendships gone forever… You go for days, weeks, months and years without talking to someone you thought you’d never go a day without talking to. Laughing, loving, enjoying, happiness reduced to ashes because of unforgiveness…

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. РMark 11:25

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. РColossians 3:13

 

And don’t forget a favorite of mine (sarcasm intended as it hits a little too close to home)..

“Let any one of you who is without sin, throw the first stone.”¬†

Forgiveness. It’s a beautiful thing… it’s a gift from God. ¬†Use it. ¬†It’s just like everything else in life… you can’t take it with you. ¬†Do not, do not, DO NOT take unforgiveness to the grave with you. ¬†I can’t speak for anyone else, but I don’t want that regret in my life. ¬†It’s not always easy to do, and in fact, it rarely is…but it’s worth it. ¬†Forgiveness is love and at times may just be the best example of love you can show someone.

Again, it’s a re-post, so if it says Thursday and is posted on Sunday. ¬†It is what it is. ¬†ūüôā

 

Good Thursday afternoon, facebook friends. ¬†In case you thought I have given up doing these, I haven’t. ¬†I’ve been sitting on this one for a few days thinking on what to say. ¬†But isn’t that what we all do? ¬†We sit on forgiveness. ¬†We all look for the words to say. ¬†And days turn into weeks turn into months turn into years… And in the process friendships are lost. Relationships thrown away. ¬†Sometimes for good reasons, but most of the time, not good reasons at all.

But I get it. ¬†We have all developed our own specific survival techniques that allow us to get through the hurt, pain, disappointment we’ve been dealt and move on… or at least get by. ¬†We try to forgive. ¬†We read books about how to forgive. ¬†We read Bible verses on forgiveness. ¬†And we think we forgive. ¬†And we may to a certain extent, but rarely achieve full forgiveness as God intended. ¬†It’s hard to be like Jesus. ¬†To live as He lived, to love as He loves, and to forgive as He forgave us.

And I don’t have any answers, magic words or potions to help. ¬†I just try to remember the person who wounded me most likely has wounds of their own that need healing. ¬†They may have wounds from when they were 5, or 15, 25, etc, or from last week and their way of dealing with their hurt, pain and disappointment is to hurt you. ¬†Strongholds are tough things to get past.. that’s why they’re called strongholds and theirs aren’t much different from yours. ¬†No, that doesn’t make what they did right, but 98% of the time their offenses against you are forgivable.

Still no magic words to say.. I just know for every one person that has hurt me, disappointed me, abandoned me, let me down… I have probably done the same to two. Forgive them. ¬†If you’re saying I’ll forgive but not forget, they still have a hold over you. Don’t let that happen. ¬†Don’t ever forget their offense/s against you, but forgive them. Don’t be a doormat for them, but forgive them. ¬†Leave it with God. ¬†Leave them with God. Ask Him to help them. ¬†Ask Him to help you. ¬†Forgive them for their offense. ¬†Forgive yourself for yours. ¬†Take it to the cross, lay it down and leave it there.

#thinkdifferent
#nomorestrongholds
#ichoosehappiness
#ichoosejoy
#trustandobey
#gratefulandblessed

 

forgiveness

A Living Hope

Happy Tuesday everybody. Has to be happy, right? It’s not Monday. ūüėČūüėä
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. ūüôā

#choosejoy
#choosehope
#chooselove
#chooselife
#choosefaith
#choosetrust
#chooseGod
p.s. Hint: If you choose that last one first, all the others are included. ūüôā
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¬†ūüėČ, 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… ūüôā

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

 

Be still and know