Never listen to your heart. I’ll tell you why: your heart is a moron. That’s right, the lady in the internet meme standing on a rock in a yoga position at sunrise is dead wrong. All the Disney tween stars, animated movies, and elementary school bulletin boards telling us you can never go wrong if you just follow where your heart leads, are way off base. How do I know? I’ve had a two year-old.
A two year-old is the embodiment of “living your truth in the moment.” They are 100% positive they are important and deserving people, know exactly what they want, have amazing body positivity, are the only people that engage in total self-care at all times, and are going to do whatever it takes to get what they put their minds to. They are the very picture of all that we strive to be as adults. Yet, anyone who has looked after a toddler for more than 2 hours will see an individual that has come completely unstrung and hit their knees in the middle of a public place, fallen asleep face down in a bowl of spaghetti, soiled themselves with no back-up plan, and been disproportionately angry at you for not being prepared with something that they need while you’re trying to accomplish something that is important to you. Like, going to the bathroom. Or taking a shower. Or waiting in line somewhere. They don’t care! This is their moment of truth and you better be ready to react appropriately... or else.
Yeah, letting your heart dictate your actions can get you, well, face down in a bowl of disappointment. Unmet expectations when others don’t recognize your needs for self-actualization will cause you to implode your relationships in spectacular toddler-fashion. How do we balance our emotional needs with maturity, compromise, service to others, and seeking God’s will for our lives? While it is necessary to care for our mental health, exploring your inner desires is not always where the truth is found. Focus on yourself will reflect the condition in which your heart was brought into this world. It was born in sin, and staring into the dark glass of the soul can only ultimately result in self-conscious dissatisfaction. Self reflection is a wonderful tool for the Lord to open your eyes to the things you are doing that can hurt you and result in pain, and lead you to the peace and satisfaction of repentance and deliverance through grace. But staring into the abyss hoping to find your self esteem and purpose will result in deep anxiety and disappointment. When plumbing the depths of your soul looking for truth, invite the Lord to tell you where He sees it. He created you beautiful, with purpose, and gifts to achieve what was written about you in faith before the beginning of the world. You can lose sight of that when you are focused on your humanity, and be shaken from the real truth of your existence that was purchased with blood and sacrifice.
Romans 8:5-6 says, “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.”
A mind governed by the flesh is death? Sounds like God is a strict, unrelenting father that will kill you for not following the Spirit, and following your emotions seems a healthier alternative. Nothing is farther from the truth. Anyone who has been crushed by an abusive relationship, or suffered addiction, or borne the consequence of breaking the rules, knows the living death that Paul refers to. Solomon knew it, too, when he said, “A sound mind makes for a robust body, but runaway emotions corrode the bones (Proverbs 14:30).”
Because God is so committed to you achieving the purpose you were born to, He gives you good, free, gifts to attain a sound mind. Let me emphasize FREE gifts for the taking. No hoops to jump through, these gifts are YOURS and designed for your success, and tools you need to consider imperative to utilize in the search for meaning and purpose. Gifts that are not just for the spiritually superior, sanctified, holy pilgrim that has been perfected in faith. Oh, wait, that is you. You have already been justified by grace, so grab ahold of the gifts! Here are just a few for helping us with our emotions:
2 Timothy 1:7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
2 Peter 1:3-4 divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness... he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
I truly hope that one day you find yourself at peace, without anxiety in introspection, on a rock at sunrise in yoga pants, enjoying the beauty lavished on you by our Father, and convinced of your worth. Just know that if you are, your toddler heart didn’t get you there by itself. And, you get up way earlier than me. Just saying.