Not long after I joined my church, I scheduled a meeting with my pastor to talk about some things that were on my mind. I tend to get anxious about different things, overreacting to some as if already know the outcome. Or I’d just plain worry. My mother always told me “Be anxious for nothing…” (Philippians 4:6), and while that would be on repeat in my head, it didn’t stop me from worrying about how to pay off a bill, getting a better job, or even if I’ll be able to provide for my children (who aren’t even here yet…terrible).
Well my pastor thanked me for meeting with him and said there were people who have been members for years and have never bothered to talk to him. After listening, he instructed me to study Proverbs 3, particularly verses 5 and 6 that say “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (NIV). So soon after that meeting I read it, but I hadn’t studied it (there is a difference).
Last year I took a class at my church on learning to study the Bible. I took away valuable techniques and equipped myself with a Bible dictionary, two concordances, and have since accumulated a variety of Bible translations, but hadn’t really put my new skills into practice. So last weekend I decided to actually study Proverbs 3: 5-6. I first looked up “trust” in the concordance. There were a million entries for trust, and at that time I didn’t feel like look up all those scriptures. That was fine because my blessing came from what I did next. I decided I’d move on to the word “heart” and looked it up in my Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary. What I found has truly changed my way of thinking and how I control my feelings. What hit me was the following excerpt:
“In the Bible all emotions are experienced by the heart: love and hate; joy and
sorrow; peace and bitterness; courage and fear. The thinking processes are said to be carried out by the heart. This intellectual activity corresponds to what would be called ‘mind’ in English. Thus, the heart may think, understand, imagine, remember, be wise, and speak to itself. Decision making is also carried out by the heart. Purpose, intention, and will are all activities of the heart.”
I’m not sure I even read beyond that part because I immediately thought back to my scripture. We always hear people say (and I say it myself) “God knows my heart.” But what we don’t realize is that regardless of what we say we feel for God in our hearts, the more negative energy we harbor towards others, whether it’s hate/jealousy, revenge, grudges, judgment, bitterness or anything else, the less room we have to trust/love God. Maybe a picture will help bring more clarity to my point.
Now, I know that ALL means 100%. So you can’t possibly “trust God with ALL your heart” if you have ALL these other feelings going on. And while you may not be feeling all these feelings at once, they are very real and very common, and some folks who just like to be miserable will carry many of these emotions at any given time. Did you check the 2% of your heart left for trusting/loving God? You CANNOT feel all this extracurricular “stuff” and trust/love God 100% at the same time.
So now whether I’m frustrated at work, irritated with my husband or worried about a situation in my life, pretty much automatically I realize that I’m crowding God in my heart with these other things and I let the situation go, or I quickly find a way to look at it like “it’s not that bad” and I’ll get over it more quickly than I used to. I have to be honest, I’m still working on some things, but it’s a lot better than it was just a week ago. Already I am feeling weights being lifted and more room for God. I need as much of Him as I can get.
*Guest Blogger ::Faith Brinkley::