Oh, my preoccupied heart...

Image result for hike public domain

An undivided heart.

The writer of Psalm 86:11 implores, "give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your name."

Will this ever happen this side of eternity?

John Calvin called our hearts "idol factories" and mine, admittedly, is having a stellar season of productivity. So much of my thoughts are pre-occupied with self-image, fear of man, dreams of a different life path, boredom, the lingering blemish on my lip, getting my Masters degree, behavior modification for my children, moving away, traveling, chocolate, the blog... clearly I am a stereotypical ball of mommy brain, thoughts flitting from one thing to the next with the clear culprit being this: a divided heart.

Jeremiah 17 calls the heart deceitful above all, posing the question: who can understand it?

Yes, who?

I scratch my own head at this one. How can I be so removed from the desires of my own heart? It surprises me at times. I should, in theory, be content to create play-doh pancakes, fold towels, reheat my coffee, and go on the occasional jog. I should, in theory, be content with this body that has produced three walking, talking humans as well as two little babies that I was never given the opportunity to meet. However, this idol factory of mine is wrought with a deep-rooted discontentment.

Society shrugs at this notion, casually saying, "the heart wants what the heart wants," as its inhabitants simply make another career change, cross-country move, or rearrangement of furniture, desperately seeking to quiet the annoying thumping of a heart that is never satisfied. Marriages are dissolved as we sprint toward the pursuit of happiness, leaving broken families behind to sort through the debris. We are merely puppies on leashes, dragged along by these hearts of ours, hell-bent on ruining everything just so we can feel that elusive feeling of happiness, even if just for a few short moments.

My heart? My heart wants me to go back to school, finally become a doctor. I'm sure the years of endless studying would be difficult and I'd regret it at times, the neglect of my children and marriage, the insurmountable student loan debt, but wouldn't it make me happy?

And, then, when it's over and I'm a doctor, what will this circumspect heart ask of me then?

My heart? My heart wants me to spend hours at the gym, whittling myself down to the body of a preteen, able to slide effortlessly into the smallest  of sizes. Never mind the toll this would take on my body, my family, my budget. After all, it's what my heart wants. I must comply.

My heart? My heart wants me to do an overhaul of my home. Change the floors! Buy new furniture! Then, sell this home so we can upgrade. My heart needs more square footage and natural light. Never mind the debt we would be in. Never mind that our bank account would be solely for house payments rather than generosity and benevolence. It's my heart we are talking about here... it wants what it wants and it will not be ignored.

But this heart of mine? It cannot be trusted. Because this heart of mine? It is deceitful. Determined to hurl forward toward temporary, earthly satisfaction, without wisdom or consideration of others.

So, where do we go?

The writer of Psalm 86 can help...

Teach me Your way, O Lord, that I may walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name. I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify Your name forever.

The Holy Spirit is our only hope. The sword of the Word our only weapon against our own hearts. A heart united with love for Jesus Christ, the only balm to our surly beating chests, desperate for satisfaction in things that will never satisfy.

Do not be discouraged. We can plead with God, not because of who we are, but because of who He has said He is. He has said He will never love us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). In Leviticus 26, God says He will live and walk among us, that He will be our God  (vv. 11-12).

God, the creator of the universe, chooses to dwell in us, deceitful hearts and all. He created us (Psalm 139) and knows us intimately. Let not your deceitful hearts be troubled. Take heart, He has overcome the world (John 16:33), deceitful hearts and all. Rest in that. Rest in Him.  


Popular Posts