we live in a time where people care about how something sounds more than what it actually says. if it is hashtag worthy or flows together nicely and has some vague meaning about “life is good” people eat it up. the one that sticks out for me most is “follow your heart.” its written all over everything girly; we can’t seem to get away from the world constantly telling us to follow what we’re feeling. well, what if i told you that the bible says something completely different?
one of the under-quoted (and in my opinion, most important) verses in the bible is jeremiah 17:9. – the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. who can understand it? (niv). there are many other different translations of the bible, and here’s what others say about the heart: “desperately wicked” (nlt), “desperately sick” (esv), “incurable” (isv), “exceedingly corrupt” (nheb), “perverse…and unsearchable” (evr).
i can remember a time a few years back when i was so broken from a boy who didn’t deserve even a second look from me, but all i wanted was for him to love me back. instead, he kept hurting me over and over again. i had exhausted all of my friends at this point, so i went to my dad. my dad is one of the most amazing people i know, but we never really have deep talks. i’m a very private person about issues in my life, and to this day, that is the only time we’ve ever had this kind of a conversation. its one of those conversations, though, that i know will stick with me forever. i couldn’t hide how i was feeling – i was broken and empty and an emotional wreck. anyone who spoke to me for longer than 2 sentences could tell this. so, i started spilling my heart out to my dad. he listened, and eventually spoke some very wise words that i didn’t quite understand at the time. “do not listen to your heart, listen to your brain. your heart will steer you wrong, but your logical brain will tell you what to do, what you deserve.” i had never heard anything like this about the heart until this point. i thought you were supposed to follow it, and he was telling me to do the opposite? to be honest, i was weak and didn’t listen, but the seed was planted in me that there was something very wrong about following my heart, even though the world seemed to be shouting “follow your heart” from every rooftop. by not taking my dad’s advice, which looking back i see was so biblical, i followed my heart and got myself way more hurt for a much longer time.
lately i’ve been mulling over some feelings that i haven’t known what to do with. this is the first time since i started my walk with God that i’ve started to develop feelings for a guy, and i wanted to handle it the right way. everything God has shown me so far has been through a process of learning and revelation, and this was no different. i ignorantly prayed to God “take these feelings away if they’re not from you,” and as those feelings didn’t fade, i figured it must have been God-ordained. if he wasn’t taking them away, they must be from him, right? there was something off and i couldn’t place it, but i ignored the little voice in the back of my head telling me it was wrong because i just wanted to see what would happen. during this time, i started questioning where feelings come from. does God give us feelings for people? do we develop them on our own? if we pray to God to take away our feelings for someone and he doesn’t, does that mean he’s giving us the green light?
after what felt like forever of questioning these things, praying about them, i started to get some answers. and it all went back to jeremiah 17:9.
i realized that feelings that aren’t God-ordained (or come to us without God’s blessing and peace) will only come from one other place – our hearts. aka the most deceitful and wicked thing about us. we can’t trust our hearts, we have to use our brains and think logically. if God doesn’t give us a peace, it is most certainly not from him. how can we trust anything that comes from such a place?
once again, though, i didn’t listen, even though i could feel God trying to pull me out. thankfully, through prayer and wise friends, the little voice in my head became a loud strong voice, telling me that i wasn’t ready . i still have baggage, wounds that need healing, and freedom from things that i could never bring into a healthy, Godly relationship. i obeyed God when it was hard, and i know God blesses obedience.
but why didn’t God take away the feelings, on either side? i cannot say for sure, i can only share what i believe has been revealed to me. God isn’t a control-freak. yes, he takes the reigns when we ask him to and we’re going the wrong way, but in matters of free-will, he lets us choose. he’s a God that doesn’t force us to love him, but instead gives us the choice to have that relationship with him, to have that love with him. he wants us to choose him. why would this God give (or even take away) earthly feelings if he’s not going to give us the heavenly ones? i fully believe he blesses relationships that are “right” in his timing, when two people are both ready enough that they can grow together and their being together will bring him glory. but still, he lets us choose.
this doesn’t just go for relationships, though. our hearts can deceive us in all areas of our life. that career we think is for us, have we prayed about it? that trip we want to take, is it going to cause us to fall? that ____ we really want to buy, even if we know we can’t afford it, is it worth the stress? when a relationship is wrong, or anything we find ourselves wanting in life is wrong, although our hearts might be saying “its right! Its right!” and telling us lies about why it could be right, there will always be that little voice, that lack of peace or sense of confusion, from God. that’s what we should listen to. why? romans 8:28 – and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.