Posts Tagged ‘open my heart’

When God searches my heart, I believe it’s a cooperative effort. In other words, I don’t think God is lurking around my heart and soul without my acquiescence (not that God couldn’t, but doesn’t). If I practiced more mindfulness and stayed in tune with the Holy Spirit, the process would be deeper.

I Chronicles 29:9a
And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought.

I don’t believe God searches my heart like an airport full-body x-ray scan, where I am humiliated and exposed by the discoveries God might make about me. God is not looking for weapons of mass destruction or examining my heart just to find the mistakes and evil lurking there. Instead, God is teaching me about myself and about my Spirit-self. God is lighting up my interior.

Depending on my willingness to learn, God will do a basic search or a more advanced one. If I am closed off to the idea of transparency and truth, if my fears about my past and future are more powerful than my desire to know, then God’s search is less invasive. Holy Spirit, as teacher and guide, operates at my pace. I can choose to remain at a cursory level or I can open the closet doors, the cellar doors, and the attic drop down ladder.

This is a trust issue. The more I can trust God, the more likely I will go deeper into the heart of God within.

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In the end, there is only one person who can “make room” and that’s the individual herself. If someone else does it for you, it’s usually a violation of space. It’s no different with the heart.

II Corinthians 7:2a, 3
Make room for us in your hearts. . . . I do not say this to condemn you; I have said before that you have such a place in our hearts that we would live or die with you.

I’ll never forget the time I moved down to Atlanta from Indianapolis. Mike and I were engaged and although we had hoped to find a temporary living arrangement for me, it turned out I had to move into his house. While packing up, I could tell there was a lot of stuff. I tried to warn him. He would have to “make room” for me and my belongings. It was a small three-bedroom house but I insisted he clean out one of the bedrooms for me.

But, like most men, he couldn’t foresee the amount of boxes I would bring or the chaos that would come from merging two adult households. Did he make room? He did not. So, the very next day, while he was at work, I cleaned out one of the rooms and put all of it in the TV room. I created space for myself.

Needless to say, he was not a happy camper. I thought he would be thrilled. I did all that work. I organized and moved and emptied almost all of the boxes from the living room and dining room and integrated my kitchen stuff into his (he only had 2 knives, 2 forks, and 2 spoons anyway). But I was “creating” room for me instead of allowing him to “make room.”

Friendships are the same way. There comes a point when we have to “make room” for another person in the heart. Sometimes, we have to open the doors and sweep out some of the old stuff to make room. We may have to get rid of things we’ve been holding onto for a long time.

When it comes to the things of God, it’s the same thing. We have to open up. We have to invite. God only takes up as much space in the heart as we allow. Unlike the dark side that creeps and steals and occupies wherever and whenever we’re not minding the space.

Help me today, oh God, to make room for more of You. Help me to make room for others. It’s time to clean house.

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Acts 16:14b
… The Lord opened her [Lydia] heart to respond to Paul’s message.

Revelation… truth… understanding… none of these can happen without an open heart and it is God who makes this happen. It’s not that we can’t open our own hearts, we can. Unfortunately, we usually don’t realize how closed off we really are. We assume our hearts are open… after all, what does a closed heart even look like?

I imagine a closed heart like a fortress, like the keep of a castle, the last line of defense… it is the stronghold. The heart can be like an entire castle for our normal activities and relationships; we open and close the drawbridge, we let people and ideas come in and out. But the stronghold is not open to just anyone. And sometimes, no one is allowed inside at all. And if we have collected assumptions, secrets, memories, untruths, misconceptions, pain, and prejudices, they are stored in there to keep them “safe.” If the storage areas are full, some of this stuff will pour out through the window slits and cracks and affect our daily lives. But generally, we manage to keep all that stuff inside. It is, after all, way too dangerous to let anyone inside, just opening the door may let too much out.

When I hit forty, my stronghold was so full that it was not just leaking out, it was spewing out periodically like a volcano. I often felt like I would explode, literally. I would sob uncontrollably. I would walk outside in some lonely place and just scream and scream until my throat was raw. My thoughts were jumbled up. I was like a lone survivor in an ocean trying to hold on to a life boat, but with no clue how to get in. I really thought I was going crazy.

I am grateful for the counselors, pastors, and friends who held me up during this difficult time of my life. The very thing I feared the most was the very thing I needed to do: open the keep… open the stronghold. Finally, I asked Jesus to do this work. I could not. When the door finally opened, it was not pretty. Eventually, equilibrium was achieved.

And after awhile, I thought the work was done. The proof was in my fresh energy and sense of renewal. It was during these healing years that we adopted our children, moved into a different house, changed jobs, I got a second master’s degree, I met new people and allowed new ideas to filter in.

But what was considered new then has become somewhat entrenched in my stronghold again. It is not as full as before. It is not as volatile. But I am aware that the door of my heart/my stronghold has been swinging shut more than I would like. And so, I ask my God this day, to keep my heart open. Give me courage to embrace people… all different kinds of people… authentically. Give me faith that you will sift ideas for me. Give me revelation knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. Give me trust that Jesus will always be my doorkeeper.

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Luke 24:45
Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.

Today, I reached the final verses of Luke, in my tortoise-like study of the scriptures. I have intentionally read only 8-16 verses per day, reviewing their intent and seeking an application for me that day. From these daily readings, I have asked the Lord to build these meditations.

But I realized today that we can read and read, we can listen to sermons and teachings, we can write and write about we read and hear or see, but none of it will touch the heart or light a way without the Lord’s opening of our minds for understanding.

In the same way that Jesus opened the eyes of the two disciples He encountered on the road to Emmaus, He opens the mind. It is a healing!

Acknowledging that the mind or the heart or the eyes need to be opened is part of the process. In John 5:6, Jesus asked the invalid who had been lying on a mat for a long time, “Do you want to be well?” I believe Jesus is asking me (and all of us), “Do you want to understand?” Do I really want my mind opened? I do.

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