Happy sunflower on Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

How to deal with a heart problem

I don’t like being wrong. And I don’t like being corrected. Is there anyone out there who feels the same way? I get stiff and irritated when someone tells me that I’m wrong. It’s 100% pride, and I recognize it. It’s been a constant battle my whole life to be humble when it comes to facing my own flaws. But it’s one thing to point out your own flaws. It’s something else for someone else to see them and mention them.

I think it’s ten times harder to face your own flaws when someone points them out to you. That’s probably my pride speaking. So consider today’s verses from the Psalms, where the writer isn’t just willing to face his flaws … he’s inviting God to point them out!

Happy sunflower on Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Happy sunflower on Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Today’s verses are Psalm 139:23-24.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
    and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

I’m not sure if I can pray this honestly. I need to be able to do it, but it’s a tall order. Like I said above: I don’t like being wrong. And the only thing I dislike worse than being wrong is being wrong and everyone knowing about it.

Pride is so dangerous. We think we know so much, and even those of us who are humble about our lives, pride still likes to sneak in when we aren’t paying attention. Of course, we know what we’re doing. Of course, we know where we’re going and what our majors will be in college and what our jobs will be once we graduate.

Sometimes I think we believers take things for granted. I think we get this idea that our lives are going to be easier because we are Christ-followers, that doors will just open, that opportunities will lay down at our feet waiting for us to scoop them up. Now, I’m not saying that doesn’t happen. It does. It’s happened to me too many times not to notice. But that hasn’t been the constant. I’ve had to work very hard. I had to struggle through school. I had to work through college. And when I was done with college, I didn’t have a job waiting for me, and I had to do odd jobs that had nothing to do with my degree.

And all that time, I never stopped serving God. I never stopped tithing. I never stopped serving in some kind of ministry. And I’ll be honest, there were times I wondered what on earth any of it was for. Because if I was going to work myself to death for God, why wasn’t He answering me when I asked Him a specific question? Why wasn’t He responding to me when I needed Him to?

It’s times like those I would turn to this verse. I know I don’t do a good enough job asking God to search my heart. Honestly, I’m afraid. I know some of the things that lurk in there, and I’m afraid to let Him see them. Which is silly if you think about it. He’s already seen them. He already knows what’s in there. The point of us asking Him to look is to come to terms with His absolute holiness, realizing our own smallness and our own insignificance in the face of His perfection. When we are open with the darkness of our lives before God, it makes us understand just how unworthy of His love we are. And it’s even more amazing that He would give His only Son for us.

So that’s what I need this morning. Instead of hiding my heart away, instead of trying to conceal my doubts and my fear and my insecurities and all the dark things in my heart that I don’t want anyone to see, I need to ask God to look at them. I need to ask Him to search my heart and reveal those parts of my life that displease Him, those parts that have no place in my life. Because when He brings those things to light, He also shows us the way to leave them behind.

I don’t know about you, but I’d love to know the way to leave my insecurity on the curb. I’d love to know the way to kick my anxiety out the door. But I have to admit it’s there to begin with, and then I have to be willing to let God take it away.

Open your heart to God today. Let Him see what’s inside. He loves you, and He won’t change His mind. On the contrary, He’ll change yours.

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Red rocks at Glen Eyrie - Colorado Springs, CO

Trusting God enough to accept His help

Do you ever get to that point in life where you just feel stuck? You’ve waited and waited for God to give you permission to move on to something else, and He isn’t saying anything. Or you feel trapped on a ledge that’s too steep to climb down and too treacherous to climb up?

Red rocks at Glen Eyrie - Colorado Springs, CO

Red rocks at Glen Eyrie – Colorado Springs, CO

Today’s verse is Isaiah 33:2.

But Lord, be merciful to us,
    for we have waited for you.
Be our strong arm each day
    and our salvation in times of trouble.

I don’t do much mountain climbing. I have asthma, and I’m generally uncoordinated. Combine both of those qualities, and hiking up a mountain trail is probably not a wise place for me to be. But while I and my friends were at Glen Eyrie over Memorial Day, I had planned to do a little mountain hike. Nothing big or scary. Just enough to get some more photos and see some beautiful things.

Well, that morning I started feeling pretty bad, so I bowed out. I was really disappointed, but I made the most of it and got some writing done. And my friends (who are more athletic than I am) were able to go on a little bit more challenging mountain hike. I wouldn’t have gone had I been with them … because I would have died. End of story.

They came back with some pretty amazing stories, though, including some fairly spectacular feats of agility. But there was one part of their climb where they were missing some much-needed upper body strength. My best friend told me later that the last time they’d gone on the hike, they’d had their brother with them, who was able to haul them up over cliff ledges and such when they weren’t strong enough. But on this climb, it was just the three girls.

Fortunately, there was a guy at the place where they needed help, and he pulled them up when they weren’t strong enough to climb up on their own.

When the Bible talks about God being our strong arm, that’s what I think about. He’s the man waiting on the mountain ledge, holding out a hand to help us climb over an obstacle that’s too much for us. The only trouble is, we have to trust Him enough to take His hand when He offers it.

I met this Good Samaritan mountain climbing gentleman before we left Glen Eyrie, and he looked pretty slight. Not that any of my friends are big, it’s just I would have doubted that he had the strength to hoist them up over a mountain ledge.

I think we do that to God sometimes. He’s right there, offering His help, and we hesitate because we don’t trust that He can support our weight. We don’t trust that He’ll catch us if we fall. We don’t trust that He’s stronger than He seems. So we stay on the cliff, frightened and discouraged because we can’t make any forward progress. And we ask God why He put us in such a helpless position. When the whole time, He’s standing right in front of us, trying to help us.

I am constantly trying to find the balance between waiting for God to work and taking the initiative to move ahead. Sometimes we’re supposed to wait. Sometimes we need to stay put and let God do what only He can do. But other times, we need to start climbing and stop waiting. But the one thing we should never do is move forward without holding on to Him.

So if you’re stuck on a proverbial mountain cliff this morning, even though it’s difficult, try not to feel sorry for yourself and start looking for God. Because I guarantee that He’s close at hand offering a way to climb higher. You just have to trust Him enough to take His hand.

And if you’re focused on Him completely and He’s not offering help yet, wait. That just means you have a few more moments to enjoy the view.