Here A Little, There a Little

 

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Reconnecting with my heart over time and leaving the rat race and people-pleasing habit I knew so well would require I needed to step away from the story I thought I was supposed to be writing, to the truth of my story as it had evolved over my lifetime. It also meant being willing to lay down the religious habits I had developed as a means of self-verification because I was convinced I was supposed to do them to please the Lord, and instead discover the heart I had lost even more when I pursued them in heavy doses without learning if any of them were from Him.

 

The enemy can tolerate religion such as he did with the Pharisees, but he cannot accept the complete connection with our hearts or a deeper understanding of the truth of our relationship with the Savior, the expanse of His grace and love.

 

Brent Curtis and John Eldredge speak truth when they write the following in The Sacred Romance:

 “It is possible to recover the lost life of the heart and with it the intimacy, beauty, and adventure of life with God. To do so we must leave what is familiar and comfortable—perhaps even parts of the religion in which we had come to trust—and take a journey. This journey first takes us on a search for the lost life of our heart, and for the voice that once called us in those secret places; those places and times when our heart was still with us.”

 

It can take a bit to discover that what has been driving all the activity is the loss of our heart and the connection we once had with it. As believers, it can happen so easily because we have often exchanged a life of selfish pleasures and moved into a life filled with what we believe is our duty to God. There are so many good things to do, so many needs to respond to, and so much of the heart in us that we know still holds too many secrets, that we subconsciously shift from a calling (if we knew it) to increasing duties, and needs we think we must agree to fill without even asking the Lord if we are to commit to them.

 

“So for many of us, believing is exhausting. This is precisely why spiritual leaders are observing a precipitous decline in worship service attendance. Religion is a dying business. Most people are still interested in God, but not in all the baggage that seems to come along with the belief.” (Chuck De Groat in Wholeheartedness: busyness, exhaustion, and healing the divided self.)

 

I think one thing that sneaks up on us relates to our understanding of grace. We know it is grace that saves us, but we too often think of grace as something that happened back there at that moment and know little about living by grace, and grace alone. As a result we go about self-verification in religious activities rather than the ones we pursued before the Lord came into our hearts as a means to make us feel acceptable.

 

I think Jerry Bridges says it best in The Discipline of Graceimg_2063

“Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God’s grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God’s grace.”

 

There is also the reality that those functional and feeling level parts of our self I mentioned earlier in the series are truths we have avoided. They made us feel too vulnerable. It would mean looking at how our story began and this time seeing all of it. To do this in the healthiest way would mean I would need to trust someone to listen to my story as I began to put the pieces of it together. For me, that was a pastoral counselor who listened patiently and asked questions that took me to deeper places so I could begin to see what I had been missing for too long.

 

It was not an easy thing to uncover the part of my life and heart I knew in the presence of someone I wanted to think well of me. It was even harder to recognize things I had missed along the way and a great many things I had never heard in the Sunday School classes and church pews I had occupied since childhood. I had never understood there were not only a battle for my thoughts, but also an unseen battle for my heart. Though it was unseen, it was crucial for me to recognize it.

 

You see, it was in my heart that God had placed the essence of who He had created me to be, what passion was tucked deep inside, and where I was in His plan and His Kingdom here on earth. The enemy didn’t want me to discover that and he doesn’t want any of you to discover that as well. From the earliest of ages he begins whispering to us about all that we are not, all the ways we have failed. And we believe him. With that and whatever our attachment style becomes, he carefully weaves a web around our hearts to keep us from discovering all that is there.

 

In Waking the Dead John Eldredge says:

“The story of your life is the story of the long and brutal assault on your heart by the one who knows what you could be and fears it.”

 

He most certainly doesn’t want us to discover whom we can be and were designed to be by the One who created us. He can live with us being shaped and molded by our own ideas of what we should be or the ideas of others to whom we give too much power to shape us as they desire, but the truth is never something he wants us to discover.

 

To regain my heart would mean a journey to discover the lost parts of it. It would mean laying aside my view of myself, my lack of worth, my self-verification, and lies I believed as truth. The healing would begin in the office of a pastoral counselor, but would come into fullness over time with other means and ways the Lord brought into my path.

 

What did I discover?

You are not what you think you are. There is a glory to your life that your Enemy fears, and he is hell-bent on destroying that glory before you act on it.” (John Eldredge in Waking the Dead)

 

Next time I will finish this short series with the other discoveries that restored my heart to what He had always designed it to be.

 

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22 thoughts on “Here A Little, There a Little

  1. Pam, I was just counseling a minister’s wife who may be walking into the role of pastor’s wife very soon. Her struggle is with trying to be me, her pastor’s wife. She is afraid that she won’t be able to walk in my shoes. It’s amazing how we feel the need to be what God has created someone else to be. We try to get to him by stepping into the foot prints of others. It will not work. We are each drawn to him, and called by him differently. He, the potter does the molding. He determines the use of the vessel. That’s a hard lesson to learn. Thank you being confirmation for me today. Blessings to you!

  2. A restored heart… the journey for the lost life of a heart… I love this, I love that it authenticates the depth of God’s salvation meant to not just bring us close to Him but to restore, to heal, to take back.
    Sometimes, we just don’t understand the weight of heart grief and as a believer I have often felt guilty for having it knowing what I know… that God is with me and I am never alone and He is always good and His plans are also always good. 🙂 Still my heart needed a little more time than my head. And your words today, verified those thoughts and lifted a little more of the burden that I allowed to stay uninvited.

    Looking forward to the next post on this! Thanks for sharing at #GraceMoments!
    Blessings,
    Dawn

    1. You bless me with your reflection here, Dawn. I am so blessed and humbled the Lord used my lived experience and words to affirm your own journey and experience. I had not intended to write a three week series when I began three weeks ago and somehow feel a bit poignant laying it down with the last of the series tomorrow. I confess my ear is turned toward the Lord to listen for whether or not He will have me delve deeper into any part of what I have written or will lead me elsewhere.

  3. Pam – Well, this post could be titled ‘here a lot’ – lots and lots of beautiful truth! I love your descriptions of rediscovering your heart – God’s truths unfold as we allow them ‘in’ to heal the wounds in our hearts. May God continue to bless you in your journey, Pam.

    1. Ah, thanks, Sandra! This series has been a continual nudging by the Lord as I never intended it to run for three weeks. In some ways, I will lay it down with the last one tomorrow with my ear to the Lord for what next or if I return to delve deeper on some of these points in the future. It was enriching for me to look back over my shoulder to over 35 years to the beginning of the journey to wholeness.

  4. Pam, every single paragraph? I could sit with each one for hours. You’ve offered so much food for consideration and contemplation.

    I’ll be back for a re-read. Probably more than once …

    I thank God that He uses you to speak into my life.

    1. Linda, you humble me. Thank you for finding in my life and words opportunities for insight and blessings. One more in this series and then we’ll see where He leads me next!

  5. I think one of the biggest and most effective tools the enemy uses is busyness. Even doing things FOR God can get in the way of a relationship WITH God. And all the while we think that we are doing well only to pause and discover a great emptiness inside. Isaiah reminds us that “In quietness and trust is your strength” thanks.

    1. You are so right, Karen! The challenge for each of us is often to discover what keeps us spinning in busyness because most often even if we know we should stop, we rarely do. Blessings and thanks for stopping by!

  6. Yes! Thank you for this series, and the beautiful truths to let God begin the process (or to continue it, if we’ve stopped somewhere along the way,) to restore HIS wholeness to our hearts. I’m finding it’s a lifelong journey for myself. Just when I think that He’s uncovered the last layer, He moves me into another season, and I discover a deeper crevice than before. Thank you for the encouragement you have offered to keep walking with Jesus through these places. –Blessings to you!

    1. I am blessed you have enjoyed this series. I agree about it being a lifelong journey and sometimes there are certain things He cannot show us until we are older and had more lived and Christian experience. Tomorrow I will lay this series down and then we’ll see where He takes me next! Love to you!

  7. Hi Pam! I am so happy for you, and in awe of the work you are doing to uncover your heart, and God’s life in you. The books you are reading sound wonderful from the quotes you have here. I really do agree that the good life we have in being wedded to God is constantly being attacked by evil.
    Sure, we can do all the perfunctory things, as long as they don’t mean much. But acting as a bride, and a partner of God? That’s going to be attacked for sure.
    You inspire me!
    Ceil

    1. My friend, I had no idea the Lord would have me look back over my shoulder to describe the path of healing and wholeness that began more than 35 years ago. The books are among my very favorite and very best despite so many I have added since then. Upon retiring, I gave many books away, but these will never be given away. They are underlines, highlighted, and full of notes and exclamation marks throughout. Love and blessings, my friend!

  8. “The enemy can tolerate religion such as he did with the Pharisees, but he cannot accept the complete connection with our hearts or a deeper understanding of the truth of our relationship with the Savior, the expanse of His grace and love.” I love this perspective: that the enemy can let religion slip by to some extent, but he is always going attack true relationship with God in Christ. So good to think about just as I am starting a Bible study all about the enemy and the armor of God. Thank you for sharing your words and heart…stopping by as your neighbor at Women With Intention!

    1. Thanks, Elizabeth! The battle for our heart is crucial and too often we miss how many tactics he has and how he uses them in ways that cause us to miss his mischief. Blessings on your study and day!

  9. It’s no mistake that God intends for us to do a daily sifting of our hearts in His presence — and we fill our days with noise and activity to drown out the quiet voice of His Spirit calling us into relationship. When I neglect the daily disciplines, I only create a mess for myself (and God) to sort out later.
    Thanks, Pam, for this series (which I”m sure is taking a lot of effort) — I appreciate it (and you!)

    1. I could not agree more, Michele about the daily challenge and the results that too often occur for all of us. This series has been a good discipline for me. I never expected it would be three weeks, but I am glad I took the time. Hope to see you Friday!

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