How's My Heart?
Have you ever thought about it? How is my heart? I hadn’t, not until this year. Recently, God showed me that my heart was not in the condition I thought it was in, it wasn’t in the condition HE wanted it in. I had given God my heart, I knew to let God into my heart, trust God with all my heart, to surrender it to Him, to keep it clean, and to guard it. I knew these things in my mind, but I had never allowed God to fully come in and do with my heart as He pleased.
God took me in a healing journey of 21 days, what I experienced in this journey was amazing to say the least. God healed my heart and made it free and pure. He showed me things that had been there for a long time, buried deep inside. Things that I had not surrender to Him and were keeping me bound, and away from experiencing the full freedom that God wanted me to experience.
It started with a prayer after a devotional I had read, about reorienting our heart to reflect Jesus’ heart. I asked God to please reveal to me the things that were making me fall into temptation, to help me see what was displaced in my heart and the things that wouldn’t let me move forward into the destiny He had prepared for me. To be completely honest, I made a simple, scripted prayer without thinking much about it. But He listens and answers our EVERY prayer and the way He answer this time changed me completely. Through this journey God showed me how important my heart is.
The Bible talks so much about the heart that you would think I would had paid more attention to it. I thought I was doing everything right, but somehow, I still felt stuck, not being able to move forward. Everything was going ‘okay’ in my life despite everything that was going on in the world. Yet, something inside of me kept dragging me back into nothingness. It had become so easy to stay at home and do just that, nothing. I felt God calling me to greater things, but I still sat back in my comfort unwilling to move. And that is when God decided to step in and asked to search my heart.
Jeremiah 17:9 tells us the heart is deceiving and that it is the Lord who searches our hearts and examines our minds. I was letting my heart deceive me into thinking I was okay when I really wasn’t, only showing me what I wanted to see. Sure, I had given my heart to the Lord, but did I really surrender it? I think I gave God my heart with a giant lock and I hid the key. Now He was asking for the key to search what was inside. Oh, how I struggled to give up the key. He was asking to search my heart and to allow him to clean what was inside, but there was so much cleaning to do, that I didn’t think I was up for it.
Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV)
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
It takes courage to ask and let God to examine your heart. Examination is not a "look" or a "glance", examination means to get in there deep, move past all the outer layers; it is a detail investigation of everything that is there. From our feelings, we can say that "all is well" but when the examination comes, God shows us the true condition that our heart is in. From the first night I made that prayer, God revealed to me what was in my heart. I struggled to even accept that it was broken and hurting.
However, God kept insisting for the key and asking me if I wanted to remain this way or if I wanted to be healed, cleansed, freed and restored. I felt that God wanted to do a cleaning session in my heart. I have said to myself so many times that I would clean my closet and throw away everything I don’t want. The first thing that comes to mind "ugh, I have to clean that". Then I wait a week, a month, two months, and spring-cleaning season is now over! There is no more room for anything, and I keep pushing all the things I really don’t want or use to the back of the closet. Then I say, “I REALLY have to clean my closet.” So, I finally schedule it, wait until my days off and even though I really don’t want to do it, I know I MUST.
I started going through the closet and see that there are things that I don’t even want anymore! Those are easy to throw away. There are always things that I held on for a long time but now it’s time to move on. Something can be too used, or out of style and even though I might want to keep it, I know that there is no room for it anymore. There are things that I kept that I don’t want to throw away because they were a gift, and even though I really don’t want them, it’s difficult to give them up. And then I also find something that is almost new and didn’t even remember I had. I feel that in our heart, it’s kind of the same. We know we have to keep it pure and clean. But many times, we only dust it and clean the outer layers. We give up the easy stuff, forgive what is easy to forgive, surrender only what we can live without.
But now the time has come to get in deep into the closet of our heart and start letting God do the cleaning. Oh, but He WILL find those hidden things that you have buried deep inside. When you finally surrender those things that have been buried, you will no longer have weaknesses, nor empty spaces, nor garbage in your heart. He wants to fill it with every good thing that He has for you, specifically you.
Once there is room in your heart, he can deposit the new. He will make room and stretch you for greater things. You will experience his healing and his freedom. But it is up to you to say, “Yes Lord, I want to be healed, cleansed, freed and restored, here is they key to my heart.” When we let God examine our heart and show us what is really in there, and when we stop being deceived by the “all is well” in our hearts, He does an amazing job in our lives. He shows us why we follow patterns of behaviors and why we do certain things. He shows us and brings us to the root of was causing us to fall into sin. He wants to renew our heart so that there are no more sinful roots in our heart that may cause us to sin.
Original Painting By Author: Karen Ledesma
God showed me what was in my heart, and it was not pretty. He showed me I had hidden feelings of rejection, loneliness, shame; He showed me that I felt used, broken, lost; and that my way of coping with those feelings was isolating, mindlessness, unhealthy habits and relationships. He brought up memories from when I was a teenager that I didn’t know where still there hurting my heart.
I remembered times where I had felt rejected and God showed me I was still holding on to those feelings. He showed me how I was envious of a certain girl when I was in middle school and how those same feelings were being directed at anyone who had the same name as her, even in the present time, how crazy is that! He also showed me that instead of confronting those feelings in my life and surrender them to Him, I would turn to time wasters like binge watching Netflix, or video game playing. God also brought to light gifts and talents that were given to me but never used for His kingdom. It was until this season that I remembered how much I loved to write! It is a talent that I now give to God, so He can use for His glory. He asked me to surrender everything to him for He wanted to renew my patterns so I would run to Him when I was hurting and needed healing, instead of burying the hurt and taking my mind off the pain with mindless things. He wanted to create in me a pure heart and renew a steadfast spirit within me (Psalms 51:10). God renewed me and replaced all that with love, power, a sound mind, authority, identity, with a heart that reflects the heart of Jesus.
When you surrender the key, the Holy Spirit will never leave you, He will hold you by the hand and embrace you throughout the journey. You will experience his freedom and deliverance like never before. It is amazing what God can do if you let Him do His work in you, and it will only be the beginning of the journey to greater things. I know that there is so much more that He wants to do with me, and I know He wants to do it for you too. At the end of my journey, I had no words to describe the way I was feeling. It was freedom like no other.
Towards the end of the 21 days, while I was working from home, we were watching a video and a picture popped up. It was a faceless scarecrow tied from the feet and hands. I looked at it and instantly thought “wow, this was me at the beginning, but now I am free.” God then overwhelmed me with His presence, bringing to mind another picture I had seen where there was a girl looking at the sun in what I felt was complete healing and freedom. What I felt I could only describe it in a picture, so I did a painting. I pray that it will be a blessing and that you too will experience the healing and freedom that comes from letting God search your heart.