an inventory of my heart…
I took an inventory of my heart this week, to see what was taking up space in there.
What I found was not so stellar.
Some of it wasn’t so bad – like the love and desire that I have to chase Jesus with reckless abandon, or the deep passion I have to share truth.
When I took an honest account of the rest, I was disappointed to find pride, selfishness, materialism, impatience, unforgiveness and anger as well.
That’s a lot of junk for one heart.
No wonder I have been a hot mess.
I’m not kidding… A HOT MESS.
Not on purpose. Not hormonal. Not because of my kids (well, maybe a little).
I just haven’t been my usual self and I couldn’t figure out why. Because I didn’t fully understand my plight, there was not much I could do to fix it. Therefore, I stayed a wreck until Friday morning during my time with God. While reading the Word, he revealed to me what the issue was: my heart.
First, I read Psalm 33:13-15, “The Lord looks down from Heaven and sees the whole human race. From his throne he observes all who live on earth. He made their hearts, so he understands everything they do.”
Right after that, I read Proverbs 15:11, “Even death and destruction hold no secrets from the Lord. How much more does he know the human heart?”
Finally, I was recapping my notes from Matthew 15 and read, “But the words you speak come from the heart – that’s what defiles you. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander.”
Clearly, my heart needed some work. Isn’t it funny when God works everything together to impart truth like that? Funny and painful at the same time. So I took an inventory of what happened this week… and found inside my heart:
- Pride. A few days ago, I received a parenting correction from my spouse and I didn’t receive it well. My pride made me defensive and it almost stopped me from making a change that I needed to make. It wasn’t fun to hear that I needed to be more gentle with my words, but it was the truth. Pride can blind us to the truth and prevent us from being prunable and moldable.
- Selfishness. I threw an amazing pity party for myself this week, wishing that I could have more time to do what I want. I jealously envied other moms whose kids are older and who have more free time than I do. I talked myself into thinking that I deserved more alone time than I get. I worried about Me. Me. Me. And it made for one crabby mama.
- Materialism. It was Valentine’s week and I desired all.the.stuff. I drooled over other people’s plans and presents and vacations and wished they were mine. I was discontent and ungrateful for what I have.
- Impatience. My timing is not the same as God’s timing… pretty much ever. I am like a racehorse in the starting gate: ready to run but held in place by a metal gate. There is so much more I would love to do with my writing, but for now, circumstances don’t allow it. I get agitated waiting for the gate to open.
- Unforgiveness. Currently, I am on the receiving end of an unfair situation. Ever since it happened 6 weeks ago, I have tried to lay it down and choose forgiveness. However, this week, I let unforgiveness creep in about the person and the situation. I justified all my frustrated thoughts and had a bad attitude.
- Anger. All of the above traits produced anger in my heart. I had outbursts, I yelled, and I cried a river of tears…it’s embarrassing to admit. I spent most of the week feeling angry and it paralyzed me from being useful.
You know what struck me about the inventory of my heart? Two things.
I’m a hot mess, obviously. I need so much grace.
I also realized that if someone saw me last week, they couldn’t tell by looking at me what was raging inside my heart. I looked the same last week as I always look: same messy ponytail, same baggy sweatpants. But God doesn’t look at the outward appearance, God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). And he saw right through my baggy sweatpants into a heart that needed cleansing. You might be able to fool others, but you can’t fool God. Jeremiah 17:10 explains, “But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives.”
Friends, when is the last time you took an inventory of what is taking up space in your heart?
If you take an honest look, what will you find?
Are you growing the characteristics of a sinful, human nature, or are you cultivating the characteristics of the Spirit? This week, my heart was full of more human nature than I care to admit and it poured out into my actions.
If you were to take an inventory your heart, what would you find?
Here’s the simple method I used to determine what was happening in my heart:
- I read Galatians 5:16-24 and Colossians 3:5-15. Both detail the difference between a heart that is full of the sinful, human nature and a heart that is full of the Spirit.
- I made two lists: one for sinful nature characteristics and one for the characteristics of the Spirit.
- I asked myself these questions:
- Which of these behaviors am I manifesting in my life?
- Am I exhibiting any of the behaviors classified as sinful? Which ones?
- Am I exhibiting any behaviors that are fruit of the Spirit? Which ones?
4. I prayed and asked for forgiveness for the condition of my heart and asked the Spirit to come and fill me up with more of his presence.
You know what happened? My heart started to feel better almost immediately.
It was a little like heart surgery: painful but necessary, life-giving and healing.
Thankfully, it also brought clarity. As I have processed what happened in my heart, I’ve realized that I am weary. The last couple of months have been full of adversity and I have fought the good fight. However, now that we are coming out the other side, I am exhausted. I think that in my fatigue, my defenses were down and I unintentionally let my human nature take over. Because of it, things I usually guard against went unchecked. It happened so quickly!
I encourage you, my friends, to humbly examine your heart. Ask the Spirit to help you remove your sinful, human nature. Pray for his power to fill you. It’s vital for the health of your heart and your faith.
As always, I love hearing from you. Email me or comment on the blog and I will get on my knees for you. Let’s do this faith journey together.
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