In this week’s posts, we are discussing the “Heart” and evaluating it to understand your calling better. So far, we have looked at 5 Passion Principles here and here with key questions, under each principle, we could ask ourselves.
In this post, we’ll biblically explore what stops us from following our heart and how to follow our heart in its less-than-perfect condition.
5 Factors That Stop Us From Following Our Heart
These factors are consequences of a fallen world but used as a ploy by the enemy to force us to conform to societal norms rather than walk and live in our uniqueness:
- Disappointment: “Unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick…” (Proverbs chapter 13 verse 12 MSG). We can all relate to that heart-wrenching feeling when our deepest desires don’t come to fruition, especially after many tries. We question whether this is truly God’s path for us and if it is, how come it’s not working out?!
- Fear: “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down…” (Proverbs chapter 12 verse 25 AMPC). Usually what makes us anxious is the same as what we fear – losing a job, not being able to afford a particular necessity, concerns over a personal situation never changing, fear of not being good enough etc. But if such fears stay unchecked, they can stop us from being exactly what God planned for us to be.
- Guilt: “…My sins have caught up with me so that I can no longer see…I have lost heart.” (Psalm chapter 40 verse 12 GW). Going after your dream while carrying guilt is a draining experience because you’re carrying around the heavy garbage bag of regret, shame or condemnation as opposed to the light yoke of God’s love and holy conviction. Guilt robs us of the confidence we need to pursue the vision in our heart.
- Bitterness: “When my heart was sad and I was angry… I was senseless and stupid.” Psalm chapter 73 verse 21 to 22 EXB). Bitterness is possibly the worst heart condition and, something or someone can get us in that space for years because we hold on to the hurt and harbour resentment and thoughts of retaliation so much so that we end up living life as one trying to drive a car forward while looking in the rearview mirror – which is pretty senseless and stupid. Yes, they hurt you but no, you do not need to allow the hurt remain by holding on to the painful memories and losing sight of all that God needs you in tip-top emotional shape to accomplish. Drop the poison today!
- Rejection: “They cut me down with sharpened tongues; they aim their bitter words like arrows straight at my heart.” (Psalm chapter 64 verse 3). “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is a sugar-coated lie and we know it. Many people first encountered rejection early on in childhood, hearing words spoken over them like, “you’re not worth anything” or, “you won’t amount to much” and they believed these words because, well, they were uttered by adults. Now you’re all grown up and still carrying around those voices, translating it into people-pleasing, impostor syndrome or even non-chalance either in rebellion or acceptance of who they said you are or aren’t.
Knowing that we struggle with one or more of the aforementioned factors shows us that our hearts are more often in less-than-perfect condition than we realise but the Bible tells us that, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” (Colossians chapter 3 verse 23 NIV). But how can I work at “it” with a less-than-perfect heart?
5 Ways to Follow Your Less-Than-Perfect Heart:
- Open it: “Listen! I am standing and knocking at your door. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and we will eat together.” (Revelations chapter 3 verse 20 CEV). Jesus Christ is the ONLY one who can truly change your heart in the MOST desirable way and until your heart is fully under God’s control, it is in a position to be abused, misapplied, misused, misdirected and wasted which can result in you not being passionate about anything – a clear sign of being disconnected from God. You heart, interest, passions etc. are not just for you to do as you please without consideration for God’s will and plan for you so if misused, you’ll be miserable. That’s just how God wired us.
- Let Him heal it: “The Lord is near to the heartbroken And He saves those who are crushed in spirit (contrite in heart, truly sorry for their sin).“ (Psalm chapter 34 verse 18 AMP). It is true that God is always with us as He has promised never to leave us or forsake us but when we experience pain, God is closest to us because His love longs to relieve us so that we know He truly cares. He heals our hearts by essentially giving us a heart transplant – forgiveness for guilt; peace for resentment; love for loneliness; forgiving, loving and generosity for bitterness and much much more. His healing also opens our eyes to our identity in Him that sets us free from being enslaved to the expectations of other people, past memories, future hearts, opinions in society etc, enabling us to say, “I will [not merely walk, but] run the way of Your commandments, when You give me a heart that is willing.” (Psalm chapter 119 verse 32 AMPC).
- Listen to your heart: “…Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves…” (Romans chapter 12 verse 3 NLT). Ask yourself, “what is my heart saying to me?”:
- What do I love to do?
- What do I dream of doing?
- What fascinates me? (I don’t get bored)
- Where have I been most effective?
We are to serve God out of our design (i.e. the way He wired us, shaped us), not out of duty. When you follow your heart, it is not supposed to feel forced but rather you see it as an opportunity to serve a God you love through the passions and interests He has given you. So be sure to, “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that.” (Galatians chapter 6 verse 4a MSG)
- Look at my options: “Desire without knowledge is not good, and to be overhasty is to sin and miss the mark.” (Proverbs chapter 19 verse 2). Once you’ve allowed Jesus in, let Him heal your heart and then identified what your heart is saying to you, you’re in a better position to begin to undertake necessary due diligence. Talk to people already successful in what it is you’d like to do, bounce ideas with trusted friends, review your resources and really understand the cost of each option available to you, in following your heart.
- Launch out in faith: “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart.” (Psalm chapter 37 verse 4 AMPC). His word is as plain as day and God plays no games so why wouldn’t He bless you if you do what you were created to do? Granted there’ll always be the fear factor when you start following your heart as doubt could creep in and there could even be people in your life who would try and discourage you simply because your progress in this way scares them but that’s fine because nonetheless, opposition will come to test your faith in God. Just start and you’ll learn easily that you didn’t know God’s all you need till you realise He’s all you have.
In conclusion, when you start following your heart, you’ll stop worrying about status and focus more on significance which is more important. You’ll stop scheming for position and enjoyment of fleeting pleasures and you’ll stop obsessing over money and start striving to obtain meaning. All in all, stress levels will go all the way down while satisfaction goes up!
I hope you’ll decide to do right by your Heart today.
Lots of love,