An Open Heart

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23 NIV

“Christianity is not the destruction of desire, rather it’s realignment with God’s desire.” David G. Benner

Will power. Self-improvement. Workshops. Retreats. Memorizing scripture. If there’s anything to do to make me more like Jesus, I was up for it. Sometimes I’d be aware and working on what I needed to change and should change like not swearing at the news and something or someone says, “Love your neighbor.”  Ouch! That would definitely take care of the swearing!

Trying hard can become a trap of earning our Father’s love, which we can’t. He already loves us. It can become a trap of ego. It can keep us from being vulnerable and honest with our Father and others. These things can be good things if they flow from an open and loving heart. Want to instead of have to. Upward call instead of naval-gazing.

That’s where the Psalms come into my heart. The 23rd Psalm is rich in relating and loving God. “He makes me lie down in green pastures.” “He leads me beside the still waters.” “He restores my soul.” “He prepares a table in the presence of my enemies.” Yes, we do have enemies. Who is doing the work?  Who has the open heart? This is a difficult thing to grasp and live fully. After all, he’s the creator of everything and we are the creatures. It’s we. We need to be open to our Father’s loving care and companionship. We go to him first because our Father is not a domineering parent. He is the one that loves us unconditionally and completely.

It’s willingness to experience our relationship with our Father. I have never, ever changed a bad habit, a frustrating behavior, taken a risk without failing—several times. So, I go to the Psalms, pour out my heart and let our Father touch it. Transformation takes place. Not all at once. Not always alone. Sometimes just the right person or book comes into my life. Sometimes it’s just the Father and me. I am so grateful for the Father’s love because good things flow and bad things are squeezed out.  My desires become aligned with the Father’s.

Musings

Not only did Jesus, God’s only son die for us, but he loves us, guides us, forgives us, teaches us and provides for us. If honest, it’s our Father that transforms us. No, he doesn’t change our personalities. He designed all of us as unique persons with unique talents. It would be boring if we were all the same! He helps and encourages the good things in our personalities. We are in this together. We are in this for the long haul.

Prayer

Dear Father,

Thank you that you want a relationship with us. A real relationship!  One that encourages us, teaches us, loves us and guides us. Like all relationships, there are dark times and good times, lonely times and celebratory times but all are for good. Thank you for your patience as we learn to know you better. May our desires align with yours.

Amen.

Published by Barbara Hinther

Barbara Hinther author of Meditations and Encouragement for the Caregiver of a Loved One with Dementia and What About Me, God. Time to share what she has learned and hopefully, others will know they are not alone. This too, shall pass with beautiful, yet painful, lessons. Barbara lives in a rural town in Idaho where all is community. Bless everyone in the community for their support and their never-ending let’s pitch in attitude! She worked in marketing for over 30 years and volunteered with the Idaho Youth Ranch and St. Vincent’s de Paul Thrift Store. Then her hardest job ever was caring for her husband who died from Lewy body dementia and needed her full-time care. Feelings of abandonment were constant. Life was very difficult for a while, but love, faith and hope will overcome. Let the adventure continue!

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