Ever since I can remember, I’ve seen the quote, “follow your heart” whether it was stitched on a t-shirt, tattooed on someone’s arm, sitting pretty in a frame, written in a book, etc. I only began to really question this quote when I got older and started having to make “high stake” kind of decisions.
Yeah, “follow your heart” sounds nice written in a Paulo Coelho book, but anything beyond that sounds very foolish and impulsive. It seems like one of those quotes that would have a person packing their life into a suitcase and booking the next one-way to Asia.
Before giving my heart to God, the whole concept of using it as a compass didn’t help me much because I didn’t really trust myself (my heart). I was pretty good at trusting my gut instinct, but not 110% confident in letting that method guide me throughout life.
But when I surrendered my life to God, I was given a newfound peace in following my heart because I know that God is in control of it. I no longer get stuck or anxious second-guessing my steps. Instead, I take graceful strides in knowing that my decisions come from God.
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7
To put it simply, God guides my steps and my only job is to ensure that my heart remains pure. Sounds easy right? But we all know that keeping our hearts pure in a world as crazy as ours is hard! So what does it look like to keep our hearts pure?
1. Diligently Set Aside Time for God
Think about your past week. Did you make God a priority or did you put other things, feelings, or impulses above Him?
When you love something/someone, you make time for it. When we honor God by putting Him above the beckoning calls of the world, here’s what we experience:
“When you live a life of abandoned love, surrendered before the awe of God, here’s what you’ll experience. Abundant Life. Continual Protection. And Complete Satisfaction! ” Proverbs 19:23 TPT
Here’s where you might stop to ask, “Grace, Lord knows I want to start every morning with time to rest at His feet, but that’s just not possible. I’m already waking up before the rooster crows. What more can a girl do?”
Thankfully spending time with God doesn’t have to be a 2+ hour ceremonial act. It can be as simple as reading a 5 min devotional app on your phone (I recommend this one) during your morning commute, listening to a worship song while stuck in traffic, and saying a short prayer like, “God thank you for today. Please send your Holy Spirit to guide my day. Allow me to keep my joy today, and be a witness to you. Love you!”
One of the great things about God is that He meets us wherever we are whether that’s on your bed with a tea, your Bible, journal, and nothing but time OR stuck in traffic, chugging a coffee, with hardly enough time to breathe. He’s there.
“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. – James 4:8, ESV
When we put our focus on God, the rewards are endless! As 2 Chronicles 16:9 puts it, “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is perfect toward Him”.
Amongst the many, I listed a few below:
- We witness just how much He loves us by reading all the acts He did for us – sending His son to die for our sins!
- We get to hear directly from God Himself. Podcasts, sermons, etc. are great, but nothing is above the words of God available to us nowhere else but the Bible!
- We get to know Jesus, and therefore learn how to follow the example He gave us during His time on Earth.
- We are comforted. As crazy as it seems, even in today’s society, we as believers can relate to the characters we read about in the Bible who went through similar circumstances (victory, heartbreak, sickness, despair, etc) and their testimonies can help us as we navigate about life today.
2. Guard your Mind, Heart, and Soul
Above all else, guard your heart because everything you do flows from it.” – Proverbs 4:23, NIV
I used to think this was a harsh verse because it’s telling us to put our guard up. Now, I realize it means to protect our mind, body, and spirit (heart) from the filth and junk that this world tries to sell us. Instead, we should only allow all that is lovely, pure, and true to enter into our temples.
This can be from the outside-in:
For example, protecting ourselves from people/places that deep down in our hearts make us think, “I really shouldn’t be here.”
PS. If this is hard for you right now, it’s possible that it’s because your current world is consumed by that of the flesh and you don’t know who or what you or your life would be without it.
If that is the case, I urge you to give God the keys to your heart and a chance to show you that He is your Comforter, Healer, and Provider. I urge you to allow Him to give you abundantly beyond what you can ever want or need.
Guarding your mind, hear, and soul can also be from the inside-out:
This includes protecting your thoughts (i.e. self-talk). It’s important to ensure that what you’re believing, thinking, and focusing on is a reflection of the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
“As he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” – Proverbs 23:7, NIV
A good way to measure whether your mind, heart, and soul are centered on God is to do a quick “spirit check.” Does it feel marinated more in anxiety, worry, and lack of control (a spirit of fear) than power, love, and self-discipline (spirit of faith)?
When our heart, mind, and spirit are being lathered from the inside out with God’s truth, we feel more like the latter and therefore we have the confidence to follow God’s will for us with both peace and boldness!
This life is full of choices from the little ones like, “Do I buy this Starbucks or should I use this $4 in another way?” to the big ones, “Do I move across the country to take this job despite my boyfriend and lack of savings?”
As believers, we have peace in knowing that God’s Spirit is counseling us in every decision and leading our every step so long as we keep our heart, mind, and spirit steadfast in God’s words, promises, and love.
- How can you make God a priority this week over feelings, impulses, distractions, etc.?
- Do you need to guard yourself more from the outside-in vs. the inside-out or the other way around? How will you do that?