God moves in us. He loves to restore us and heal our hearts. His love and mercy are new and freely given each morning (and noon and night). Only He can release us wholly from the things that keep us from being free and truly living with a new, tender, loving heart. The addiction, the fear, the resentment, the anger, the self-doubt, the short fuse, the guilt, the selfishness… will turn your heart to stone. I’m not a doctor, but I’m pretty sure a heart of stone will kill you. Just sayin’.
Chris and I had the chance to participate in a weekend leadership event with our church. And for the first time in a long time I actually feel healthy. And I don’t mean on the outside, though that is a work in progress too. It’s the inside that is healthy.
Over the past month God has been calling attention to a particular area in my life that has literally been turning my heart to stone. I’ve been dealing with a short-sightedness, of sorts, and also ego and fear issues. It’s incredibly embarrassing to put this out into the world and I’m ashamed, but I’m also incredibly thankful. Thankful for the mentors and leaders of our church who are all in for God and who have diligently maintained focus on the purpose of THE CHURCH (meaning the body of people who have put their love and trust in Jesus), which is to share the news to every single person they can track down (in a non-stalker way) that there is a way to live that is steeped in mercy, forgiveness, hope, and love and that it is available to everyone. God has used several strategic people to lay down some truth in my life recently. And it was painful. And I ran from it for a bit [picture Indiana Jones and the giant boulder chasing him down; that was me]. It wasn’t pretty and it was difficult to be honest with myself that the feelings I was harboring were toxic, even though they were from a place of honest, good intentions. Something can be good and still get in the way of God’s best.
I’ve been struggling with a bad attitude towards our church expanding to another campus as well as our campus growing to include two services instead of one. You probably gasped a little there and gave me a little tongue cluck because of how ridiculous that sounds. “Who wouldn’t want their church to expand?”And it is ridiculous (which God has clearly showed me over and over in the past weeks), but in the moment, my feelings felt perfectly justified and wise and right to my little brain. And my brain’s negative train of thought started to poison my heart and turn my heart to stone where this issue was concerned. Of course I want our church to expand, but I was so focused on what that would mean for me and my tasks on Sunday morning that I got lost and strayed from my purpose. And let me tell you, I was lost with what seemed like good intentions, so it was incredibly hard to realize I was lost.
I help keep our little kids teams running on Sunday mornings. I love kids and God has given me a crazy passion for helping them grow in confidence and love in order to live a genuine life knowing Jesus. I oversee equipment and cleaning of toys and teacher-child ratios and safety concerns and scheduling and ALL THE THINGS. And I want to make sure all of those things are done with excellence. It’s an obsession, of sorts. What I struggled to understand was that excellence is different from perfection. Our Next Generation area at church will never be perfect. No area in our church will ever be perfect. I was living in this fear, though, that some imperfection in our Next Generation area would be the one thing that would cause someone to walk out the door and miss out on knowing Jesus. And then their kids miss out on knowing that there is a God who has a crazy love for them. And my mind took that fear and ran with it and the fear and the self-centered vision poisoned my heart, making me blind to all the amazing things God was setting into play for the people he loves. All this culminated in me becoming frustrated and terrified that our church was spreading itself too thin. That I wouldn’t be able to keep things together and do my tasks with excellence. “We can’t even do one service at one location with excellence, how are we going to pull off multiple locations and multiple services with excellence?”
I was smacked in the face with the answer when God told me “you aren’t going to be pulling off those services with excellence. I AM”.
God will be known. The Holy Spirit will move. Regardless of whether or not I am tagging along for the ride. If a moment of panic overtakes me, carrying the thought that I will mess up or that something isn’t perfect enough, God will remind me that I’m just not that powerful. I can’t ruin his plan. I will do my best and He will WIN; not because I did something awesome, but because He is the creator. The hope dealer. The heart healer.
God, heal my heart. I want a new one and I know it’s in your power to give it to me. I want one that is capable of the kind of love and compassion and generosity and bravery that you created me for. And you’ll come through for me. Because you are trustworthy. And you are capable of restoring any heart, no matter how stony.