In the last year, since forming my business, I've heard person after person tell me to "follow my heart." It really seems to be the mantra of pop psychology: follow your heart, trust your instinct, the best decisions are made quickly, take the "big leap," jump and the net will appear. When I hear these things, I feel a real check in my spirit. I know, because God's Word tells me so, that "The heart is deceitful above all things, and beyond cure." Jeremiah 17:9. How then, am I to follow my heart and expect all to turn out well?
Actually, I can look back on specific events in my life where I thought I was "following my heart" that led to disastrous consequences.
So where does that leave me? Can I never trust myself to make a good decision based on desire or emotion? Because it's really going to be a long (and expensive) life if I have to depend on reason, logic, or the advice and opinions of experts to steer me in the right direction at every turn.
There have been many days that I've questioned this desire to write, to help others navigate life, to be vulnerable about the obstacles I have overcome, to put pen to paper and simply share, in the hope and faith that those of you who take precious moments of your days to read these words will be impacted in a positive way. I've asked myself whether this is a mission the Lord has put me on, or whether it is a self-motivated desire to be seen in some particular way. After all, my heart desires to be of service through this website, and through writing and speaking, but God's word tells me that my heart is deceitful.
As I was thinking over my plans for what felt like the 1700th time, the Lord put Psalm 37:4 solidly on my mind. It says, "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart."
But my heart is wicked! So how can this be?
The understanding that I have of this beautiful, encouraging verse is that while the desires of my fleshly heart are indeed wicked, the more that I grow in my relationship with Jesus, the more He is conforming me to His image, and the more I will be like Him. His desires become my desires more and more as I know the sweet pleasure of being connected to Him. Now that is some Good News indeed!
I can be still, knowing that God is God and that He has good plans for me, plans to give me a hope a future (Psalm 46:10; Jeremiah 29:11). If I have a desire in my heart to serve through writing and speaking, He will make one of two things happen:
- He will grant that desire and provide me with many opportunities to write and speak, allowing me to encourage and assist many people with developing and maintaining wellness while remaining focused on Christ; or
- He will change my desires so that I no longer wish to write and speak on wellness if that is not what He has for me.
That's it. Those are the only two options. The Bible is true, and it says that if I delight myself in the Lord, He will give me the desires of my heart. So, I get to write, and I get to speak, or He'll change my desires.
Can I tell you how encouraged I was by this verse? I don't have to worry about whether or not this is God's plan for me. As long as I have the desire to be of service through writing and speaking AND am continuing to lay it at the altar of Jesus' feet, to trust His plan and His timing in all these things, I know that I am in His will for my life.
Let me encourage you that whatever it is that you are desiring, be it a better job, a healed relationship, freedom from addiction, a healthy body, a bigger bank account - if you are pressing that desire against God's word, and if you are willing to sacrifice it for Him, and if it remains your desire - He will either give it to you in His time, or He will eventually change that desire. You can, as Psalm 46:10 says, cease striving. You can know that God is God. You can trust that He has a beautiful hope and future for you.
As for me, I'm continuing down this path to encourage believers, particularly those who are overwhelmed and struggling with life balance as they build their own businesses, to focus on their wellness and to honor Christ with the decisions they make regarding physical, mental and emotional health. I know that entrepreneurs often let their health slide first as they spend the long hours building their dream. I also know that everything works more smoothly when you've got proper nutrition, exercise, and rest. Those basic self-care elements set you up to succeed in your work and relationships. I'm here to hold you accountable and to give you resources in those areas if you need someone on your team to push you toward your health goals.
In the meantime, cease striving! Know that God is for you, and there's no power in the world strong enough to stand against you and the plans and purpose that He has for you!