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.