Valentines Day has come and gone. I got my chocolates and a sincere and loving card from my husband. These two items confirm what I know…He loves me deeply, and he knows that I love chocolate deeply. I can only hope that my card to him expressed my love adequately…and also that he will give me some of his chocolate.
My words might adequately express my love, but my actions certainly don’t always express my love. I am often curt and, frankly, just plain exhausted. Sometimes, my exhaustion turns both my heart and emotions to a hard shell…much like that on the chocolate candies. So, quite often, I need to stop, assess the condition of my heart, and simply soften up. I need to ask myself, “How am I nurturing my heart health?”
In a recent sermon at Christ Community Church, our pastor, Tom Nelson, reminded us that we must regularly check the condition of our hearts. The American Heart Association has deemed February to be American Heart Month. According to the American Heart Association, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease. As we all know, regular exercise and a good diet are the first steps towards a healthy heart. Tom drew a similar conclusion as he encouraged us to take notice of the spiritual condition of our hearts.
Just like with physical health, our emotional and spiritual health are also dependent on regular exercise and a good diet. Our pastor reminded me that we must discipline ourselves to actively seek a good diet and exercise of spiritual disciplines…such as prayer, meditation and study of scripture.
Pastor Tom also noted two specific heart killers – a worried spirit and a hurried spirit. Those two traits have the potential to put me in critical condition, daily. So, I ask you…When were you hurried today? What worried you today?
Tom shared that worry keeps us from moving forward in a life with vitality and joy. A life characterized by worry is not the good life God intends for us. I am certainly not implying that there isn’t an appropriate place for deep concern or lament in our lives. But for a healthy heart, we must genuinely hand over our fears and anxiety to God and seek His supernatural peace that transcends all understanding. It sounds crazy, but it’s real.
And for a healthy heart, my goodness, we must absolutely slow down and take time to be still. That’s my kind of exercise! It’s difficult to love the people around us when we can’t slow down enough to feel their needs. And it’s hard to truly be in anyone’s presence if we are always in a hurry.
Join me as I assess the condition of my heart. Can I truly love the people around me if my heart is not well?
I think most people would choose to live for love. It feels good to love others. I know most people have an insatiable desire to be fully loved. I do. But all of the affection, all of the praise, all of the security in the world is not enough. The love of this world doesn’t quite fulfill and doesn’t give us the ability to love back. We must seek God for that complete fulfillment. His love is perfect and limitless.
My healthy heart goal is to live for love…
“It’s to choose to root yourself in the unconditional affection of your heavenly Father rather than seeking fulfillment from the fickle love of mankind. It’s to choose to serve and give rather than looking to receive from a world that has so little to offer. To live for love is to seek first God and his ways and thereby receive the fullness of life only he can give…It is impossible to live for love as Jesus commands unless we first receive daily the perfect, powerful love of our heavenly Father.” -Craig Denison, First 15
How’s your heart health?
“…You’ve got your reasons
But I hold your peace
You’ve been on lockdown
And I hold the key…
…I’ll be your lighthouse
When you’re lost at sea
And I will illuminate
No need to be frightened
No, just throw off your fear
And come running to Me
‘Cause I loved you before you knew it was love…”
-CLICK HERE to hear “Out of Hiding” by Steffany Gretzinger, Bethel Music
I have been thinking a lot lately about not hurrying so much. I think turning 40 this year as really made me ask “why?” a lot. As in, why am I always rushing around. What is the difference if I do something 10 minutes slower? I have found that just this little thing of slowing down has made me happier.
I totally agree, Steven. Thanks for sharing that. I have also realized that when I’m hurrying all the time, I have a tendency to jump in front of people…in line or on the road or anywhere. I think by slowing down, we can humble ourselves just a bit and make an extra point to put others before ourselves.
agreed. makes everyone around us (kids, spouses) calmer too
This is wonderful Lauren. A great reminder of right where we need to keep our focus and not lose it in the busyness of our lives. I love your heart and how you keep it centered on God and then others. you are a wonderful example to others. We love you lots, Sally