The heart wants what the heart wants – or else it does not care. – Emily Dickinson
The heart is fickle as it seems to be able to rule our lives through our emotions. Worry, anger, fear, jealousy, how did these things get such a foothold in our lives?
Almost 6 years ago we just found out we were having another baby. A few months into the pregnancy, we went to the doctor for a routine check-up. As the nurse checked the baby’s heart rate, “the look” came across her face. As a nurse myself, I knew what “the look” meant and my stomach sank. She immediately left to go get the doctor and the doctor came to tell us that our son’s heart rate was extremely high and we needed to go see a specialist. Then we went to the specialist and were told we needed to go to another specialist.
Needless to say we saw a specialist every week for about 4 months, having different tests run every week. And every week the doctor or nurse would open the chart, look me in the eyes with a look of accusation they probably only reserve for overbearing and pompous parents and say “So you’re a nurse?” I never tried to be “that guy,” but I did ask very direct questions, wanting to be informed about my unborn son’s condition.
When my son was potentially sick, my heart was worried and that worry spilled over into my voice and my actions. My worry for my son drove my actions and who could blame me?!? It’s my son! I would do anything and everything for him and God should not… dang it, I’m doing it again.
Even now, 5 years after Sam was born, I still try to rationalize my behavior.
You know this heart thing is really really hard. Why is it so hard to respond the way God wants me to respond?
Because sin resides in the heart. I don’t think God ever intended our emotions to be inherently sinful. He wants our emotions to be useful, not a hindrance for our spiritual life.
For example, Ecclesiastes 3 mentions that there is a right time for everything on the Earth; can there really be a right time to worry? Absolutely! You should be worried about bad weather coming your way and prepare your house. Just don’t worry so much that you sin; don’t steal to protect your house and don’t curse out your neighbor if they ask for help.
So when my son’s life was in jeopardy, the correct response was to worry. But I didn’t respond to my worry in a biblical manner. My sinful nature didn’t want trust God to be in control; I wanted to be the one that made the decisions and knew the outcome.
And that’s got to be the dumbest thing in the world. My God was the one that laid the foundations of the universe, my God was the one that breathed life into this world, my God knows what should be done and how it should be done. And I’m too prideful to even pray.
I would like to tell you that I’ve figured this whole thing out, but that would be a bold faced lie. I just know that every day I wake up and ask God to help me. I go to bed every night with a list of attitudes I ask God to change.
And it all starts with the heart. We let our hearts decide what our lives need, instead of putting God into our hearts and letting Him decide what our lives need. Wouldn’t it be much easier for someone else to be in charge?