Friday, May 29, 2015

Some of the Worst Advice I've Ever Heard

Follow your heart. Listen to your heart. Do what feels right. 
Do what your heart says. Do what makes you happy.

From 80's songs to pretty much every movie ever made to slogans that adorn clothes, jewelry and journals, the message to "follow your heart" is everywhere. And honestly, it sounds pretty true. What could possibly be wrong with following your heart? It sounds pretty good to do what makes you feel good.

Here's what gets me though: we are not supposed to follow OUR hearts, we are supposed to follow God.  The Bible makes it pretty clear that our hearts (or our emotions) can lead us to do some pretty bad things. That's not to say that emotions are always a bad thing. I think emotions can be very important in allowing us to connect to other people. Emotions also help to make our worship of God more powerful. BUT, emotion must not be the base for the important decisions we make. 

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9

I believe that Jeremiah is telling us that if we just follow our heart, we can be led astray pretty easily. We all know that we aren't actually following our literal "heart", we are following our emotions. Emotions come and go. They do what's best for us in the moment, but not always what's best for us in the long term. And emotions certainly don't help us do what's best for others.

My son, give me your heart and let your eyes delight in my ways. Proverbs 23:26

Create in me a pure heart, O God and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

It seems like God is telling us: Don't do it!! You may think you know what's going on, you may think you have the answers, you may think you know the right thing, but you don't. From another human, that would be very irritating, but from our all-powerful Father, it makes me want to stop and listen. 

So what is better than trusting in your own heart? Trusting in God. When, like these verses suggest, we give our hearts to God and let Him guide us, we will have true wisdom. We won't be swept away by every wave of emotion. God will help us do what is best for us (and others!) in the LONG term. 

Next time you are faced with a decision, don't do what everyone else says. Don't focus on what is "right for you" or what "makes you feel good." Spend some time pouring yourself out in prayer to God. Ask Him to guide you. Tell Him you will follow where He leads. 

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