I am sad to discover just how different I am from those closest to me in perspective, worldview, and values.
For a moment of bravery I ask Jesus to give me His heart. I imagine watching Him break away my stone heart and place within me a new heart. It feels strange, especially when I begin to go about my day with Someone else's heart.
It has been since June that I resigned just after starting this journal. Journals have legs to walk with you through various journeys and seasons. Journals have backs and hearts to carry a great deal of things so you do not have to. This journal is a gift from a friend I have not seen or spoken with in many years. It was a random gift which arrived just before an enormous life change I did not foresee at the time. This journal came to me from a friend who has always been a strong encouragement to "Keep writing. Always keep writing." This journal came from this friend just before a season where it would have been easy to cease writing.
This journal has carried a lot of the things I never wanted to carry. If I could only displace those thoughts and processes on the back and heart of this journal, I could get through days, which would have been otherwise very discouraging and debilitating.
This journal contains the weak prayers of limping through the process of learning to ask God 'what' instead of 'why'. I rarely get answers to 'why' questions, but I have learned to look at any and all circumstances asking, "God, what are you doing in me through this?"
This journal contains notes for interviews come and gone for positions I thought were great, if not perfect, but clearly not where God was guiding and calling me.
This journal contains notes for sermons along the way for beloved groups who, unaware to them, gave shock paddles to my heart by giving me opportunities to do what I love in a season when my heart was weak and confused for the future.
This journal has been able to carry the promise of prayer my heart made for the new year. It proves that the challenge remains. It is written in ink after all.
This journal, #38, passes a baton to #39 with promise and hope attached. It uses the discouragement and healing as a springboard to speak to my heart, "You are a better leader, husband, and father than you were before we began walking together, but more importantly, you are closer to the heart of Jesus than you were before we met."
Today, God, I want your Word to affect both my mind and my heart. I need to know your tenderness, your intimacy, and your love in a way that I have not known it in some time. I will soak up your Word today. Please help my heart understand. Speak to my heart and may I come to know you more?
"and though you have not seen Him, YOU LOVE HIM, and though you do not see Him now, you BELIEVE in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls." -1 Peter 1:8-9
I greatly desire my heart to know the joy of salvation my mind knows it is. My soul is saved, and my mind knows the good news of the reality, but my heart does not often sit and rest with the very good news that this truly is for my soul eternal. God, help my heart rejoice today. I want to love you more.
Help my heart today. Give me a heart of flesh to replace the bits of built up stone.
Recently I have read a few amazing books on prayer that have challenged me. It challenged my view of God. God is a spiritual being, and he is not flesh like us. We are flesh, but God created us flesh and souls with spirits. I cannot be theological enough here to say I know how that all works out (the diagram above is created by Dallas Willard, and has served me greatly).
Sometimes, I try relating to God awaiting the right feeling and emotion, and it always fails. I just know that I too often try relating to God while starting with my emotions, and I fail. Then I try relating to God with my mind, and that humorously fails. Then I just try to learn more about the spirit, and that spirit is what was made perfect and blameless by God on the cross. Now if that is the only part of me that is blameless, I have to learn how to come to grips with it.
I do not know how to describe that, but I do know it takes a lot of trust (faith); like more trust than anything in my life has ever required before. As I strive to learn, I do know that when my spirit is engaged (another thing I don't have space to define here), I THEN feel closer to the heart of God. That is because he is a spiritual being and that is the only way to be relational to him. This is why I said that when I come to him in spirit, it often forms, changes, and engages my mind, my emotions and my flesh.
There is no way I have clarified anything for you. So what say you?
Jesus, I want to love you so much I desire you more than this earth. I want my heart to desire you and not simply the things you give me through the cross or the things you promise in my heavenly home. I want to know that my heart would want nothing of heaven's beauty if you were not there. I want to know that you would not need to wean me from this earth the hard way because I would happily leave any comfort this world offers me to be with you. I want my heart to be more concerned with what you are to me instead of what you did for me. I want your cross to daily be more than a utility and instead focus on the beauty of the One who died upon it. I want to stay awake and long for your coming instead of being comfortable and sleepy where I am.
I want all these things and regret that my heart does not
always often live and act the same way.
You are my greatest love, and I want to live in such a way that I do not lie.
Soul, I will address you as the Psalmists do. Oh my soul within me, why do you continue to focus on the discouragement, shame, and self-defeat? Why do you not focus on Jesus and the rest he gives to you? (Matthew 11:28-29) Why do you believe the lies of the Imposter within you? Listen to the truth of Jesus' words, come to Him, and he will give you rest.
In Jesus, you find your rest. In Jesus, you find rescue and refuge from your troubles. In Jesus, you will find rest you crave and desire. Oh heart within me, you are under the weight of defeat, and you need rest. Only in Jesus will you find rest from self-defeat, hopelessness, and shame. Listen up, soul! You need rest! Only when you are focused on Jesus will you not be be focused on the destructive lies and inner-dialogue.
Oh my soul, come to Jesus this morning [and tomorrow....and the next day], and you WILL find rest.