By Natalie Johnson
Worship. Work. Love. Money. Family. Intimacy. Bills. These are some of the many things that we as women juggle everyday. God created us as man’s helper and companion, with deep emotions and passions so that we can be a counsel in our families and social circles and lead people to Christ. He created us in His image, beautifully complex and with a desire to draw close to our creator.
However, this was never something he intended us to navigate by ourselves. Our flesh is selfish; we were all born into sin and have an aptitude for inserting things into our lives where the Lord ought to be. We get lost and let our complexities consume us instead of letting his holy fire fill and illuminate his path for us.
Have you ever got lost in the hustle of this life? I know I have, perhaps everyday. I strive to know God and make him known, to love and serve my husband, and to further myself as a career woman. But sometimes, I just fail miserably. My feelings get confusing and are a hindrance. They try to mix up the Lord’s idea for my journey with what I want in the moment.
How many times have we heard, “follow your heart,” or “what is your heart telling you to do?” and “follow your gut instinct.” This is common advice that we are hearing from media, from friends, and even family. But what does the Lord tell us about this?
God tells us in Jeremiah 17:9,
“The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?”
Reading this, I am aware I cannot trust my emotions. The whole, “follow your heart” campaign, is kind of misleading, and definitely dangerous. The things I think I want can be a seed Satan planted that I allowed myself to dwell on one second too long. And that’s all it takes, a misplaced second.
It’s true the Lord puts things on our hearts, and gives us desires. His Holy Spirit can work through us in this way. So what can we do? If we can’t trust our heart, the source of our passions, where can we turn? I’m sure you may know where this is going—
The Lord says in verse Jeremiah 17:10,
“I the Lord search the heart,
and test the mind.”
As much as this may have intimidated me upon an initial reading, it now comforts me. How am I supposed to know the difference between a passion that the Lord has planted compared to one that my own flesh has designed? This passage makes it clear, the Lord knows, and we must ask God to shape our hearts, to redeem them, and make them more like his. In this moment, I pray for the Lord to change what I want for my life and to make it into what He wants for me. When that starts to line up, I know I can be a better vessel for his purpose and find complete fulfillment.
It’s easy to read articles and even bible passages and think, “yes!” then when it’s time for practical application, we forget to connect the dots. This applies to me when I’m around certain social situations. I want to fit in; I want them to think I’m awesome. It’s in my nature to rise up to expectations. Then I find myself doing and saying things that I know aren’t in the Lord’s expectations. In that small moment, I’m putting my desires to be well liked ahead of my first love. What ends up happening is that the Lord can’t use me as readily with those girls because I’m being a poor example of Christ.
I have to share this with you, even though I was a poor example, God still found a way to use me! I was so blessed when one of these girls came to me, confided in me, and asked me to show her the Lord. She came with questions and hurts, and a desire to find a greater purpose. She is an inspiring lady, the Lord created her with a drive and a will to see through my failures, she saw the light within me although it was very dull. And it made me realize that if I had put my desires to be well liked behind me, I would have more merit to talk not only to her about the Lord, but the rest of the girls as well. When my light is brighter, how many more will see it?
We will never be perfect. We are all sinners, but just as an athlete trains and accomplishes more, I want to do the same as a warrior for Christ and do His will and fight a spiritual battle. I pray that whoever happens upon this article will not follow hearts, but follow the Lord instead.