Have you heard the phrase that goes something along the lines of “My heart just wasn’t in it”? I have often heard that phrase used when someone has stepped out of ministry. They will say it was time to step down because their heart just wasn’t in it. Most of us would probably nod our heads in agreement and say, “You’re right. You shouldn’t do it if your heart isn’t in it.” But is that true? I would challenge you that it isn’t.
Let’s take that same phrase and apply it to a marriage. “You know, I have to get out of this marriage. My heart just isn’t in it.” Not so quick to defend that, are we? The truth is that we can’t pick and choose where our hearts can be “in it.” In fact, many times our heart, the part of us that relies on emotions and feelings, cannot be trusted. Jeremiah 17:9 reminds us that: The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? Indeed…who can understand it?
Thankfully when I am most un-understandable, not only to my husband (face it ladies, many times our husbands just can’t understand us!), but to myself, there is Someone who not only understands my heart, He searches the deepest parts of it and He knows it. I don’t know what that means to you but I know for me it speaks to me very deeply. It tells me that I don’t always have to understand my heart because God does and whatever needs to be uncovered, in His timing, it will be done. Whatever is in my heart that needs to be dealt with, He will do it…again, in His time.
There are some days I don’t have the heart to go on. It could be that a struggle in my marriage has been weighing me down. I don’t have the heart to keep trying. There are some days that my children wear me down and I feel like I don’t have the heart to carry on. There are some days when a relationship with a family member or friend may disappoint me and I feel that my heart just can’t take it. There are days when my work or my ministry involvement is more than I can handle and my heart just isn’t in it.
What if we always listened to our heart and reacted upon our immediate feelings? I probably wouldn’t still be married. I may have run from my responsibilities as a parent. I could miss out on the callings that God has in my life both in my career and in ministry. I could be suffering from broken relationships.
There are times when the pull in our heart is so strong we feel we have no choice but to follow it. It’s a dangerous thing to do. Whenever we are faced with something that involves a pull in our heart, we have to be sure the tug isn’t the enemy or our own flesh, rather than the tugging of the Holy Spirit.
How do we keep our heart in line with the will and plans of God? Proverbs 4:23 says Above all else, guard your heart… Notice, it says above all else—in other words, this is more important than reacting, following your feelings, making a choice, deciding, and the list goes on. In other words, before you make a hasty decision, guard your heart. Be sure that your heart is protected from making wrong or harmful choices.
You may be wondering how you exactly go about guarding your heart. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ (Philippians 4:7). There is a peace that will come from God. The best guard, the best defense in your heart is one that results from a peace that passes all understanding—the kind that only God can give you.