There are points when we have major life changes that split our souls right down the middle. The tear you can almost feel like a cut. It burns. It’s sensitive. It flares up when a memory kicks in or you hear a song. You start questioning your decisions, and have no good answers.
If only this, if only that…blah blah blah. We cannot take back our behaviors and choices, just like when the toothpaste is out of the tube, you can’t get it back in.. You can apologize, but the damage is already done.
When our heart fights against the choices made by our head, we start reasoning our way through scenarios to let the heart win out. It’s part of our humanness. Reasoning is ok, but at what point do you stop putting your heart first? The head knows, but the heart feels. It’s a never ending battle of being split down the middle. Often times when we do not listen to our head, a heart-based decision can lead right back into the split soul. We need to protect our hearts. The Bible notes:
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
One of my biggest character flaws is that I don’t like hurting people. It’s a flaw because it holds me back from saying something that sometimes should be said. It is said the wise stay quiet while the fool blurts it all out. I know people who just blurt words out carelessly and don’t care about the mess that gets left behind. I can’t do that, words matter and people matter to me. I read that anger only lasts 90 seconds in the body, after that you are replaying the anger. So basically carrying on with anger means you are faking it or hanging on to it. I’ve discovered that with a little bit of time, the thing I’m upset about becomes a non-issue because my emotional reaction subsides and I can see more clearly. Kind of like when you write that angry email reply and just put it in drafts. Words have power, it is important to listen to what comes out of our mouths.
It gets even harder when you are accused of false things, you automatically want to retaliate. The fastest reaction to an offense is a defense. It’s what they do in football, right? When someone mistreats you, it brings out our inner linebacker to plow someone over so they back the eff up. And while it feels good to do that, it never feels good after. Well to me anyway, it probably feels great on the field. I feel terrible inside for saying mean things that really were unnecessary to say. And harsh words leave an aftertaste and sometimes a scar on the heart.
So when all else is failing me, my go-to passage in the Bible is the one at the top. Especially the “Do not rely on your insights and understandings” part. I remember the first time I read this passage. I was going through a challenging set of circumstances about 5 or 6 years ago – selling a house, finalizing a divorce, changing a job. It was the ultimate trifecta of instability. But when my eyes consumed those words, my heart settled right down and brought me an immediate inner peace. Maybe that’s the peace that Jesus speaks of when he said “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” John 14:27
The most vivid memory I had during that time period happened on a Monday and I was scheduled to close on my house that Friday and move out Saturday. I had nowhere to live. I remember rolling this verse around in my head because I really had no answers. I was literally mumbling it as I packed stuff. I booked a long stay hotel and was looking storage space to store my stuff because I had nothing lined up. I had spoken to my brother the night before and he said “ I don’t know how you sound so calm, I know I wouldn’t be”… I’m not sure calm was the right word to describe me at that point, but I just knew, based on previous demonstrations of God’s grace, that I would land somewhere.
Then, a friend of mine sent me a rental listing that was located near his house. I had reviewed that rental before, but I had not made an appointment. I thought, what the heck, I should check it out. I go, look at it, and I’m pleasantly surprised and put in an application. As I’m pulling out of the driveway, my Holy Spirit quietly stated “This will be good for you.” Hmmm, I thought. Ok, well let’s see what happens. I didn’t have the place yet.
So as I go through the process, I get the first sign of the devil interfering because the realtor called me and said:
“While you have the income for this rental, your credit score came back indicating not to rent to you. If it were ME, I’d rent to you but the owner is not comfortable with it. The only way it will work is if you get a cosigner.”
My heart sank. There I was, 48 years old, and I couldn’t even RENT a house after owning two while always paying my mortgage on time. Other stuff was a mess though (credit cards, etc). But I didn’t lose total hope, after all Holy Spirit said it would be good for me. Maybe this is just one of those things that happen when you try to walk in faith, you get a push back to really make sure your faith is solid. I approached my parents, tail between the legs, and asked for their help. They cosigned. They liked the place too and this house would have a room for them to stay for their visits between Vermont and their medical care. Phew. Take that Devil.
The final sign of God’s grace was when I signed everything on a Thursday and the owner said I could move in the next day…allowing me to transition smoothly from one house to another. He handed me the keys and garage clicker. My how things looked different from that Monday to Thursday.
That is how it works. Faith. Holding out. Waiting patiently wth a good attitude. We don’t know why things happen the way they do. God’s timing is never ours. We just hold out for the miracle expectantly.
So why am I sharing this whole thing? I don’t know except maybe someone else may need some support while they are holding out expectantly in faith.
Remember to lean in when you need to. With your entire body and soul. Trust God and do good.
The real reason is I find myself leaning back into this verse at this point in my life. Big shifts, loss of friends, some sadness, not a lot to go on, but expectantly holding out in faith that something good will come out of all of my circumstances.
May Blessings of grace and favor be showered upon you.