Thursday, April 28, 2011

From my Heart

In the life lessons section of my journal I have this sentence recorded, “Live from the heart God gave me”. 

Initially that was a warning for me.  It was a corrective to what I used to think gave me significance.  My significance used to be based on what you knew about me.  It was always easier to advertise to you who I was if there was a uniform that did that for me.  So in elementary school and junior high, it was my Girl Scout uniform.  In high school I was hoping it would be a color-guard uniform ~ that never worked out.  During college it was the blazer that I got to wear that communicated the sorority I was part of.

And if there wasn’t a uniform, it was a role that I got to fill that communicated to me ~ and I thought to you ~ that I was significant.  It was usually a leadership role of some sort. I mistakenly thought that my usefulness was tied to a role or a uniform.  But I’m realizing the vanity and the pride in that thinking.  Not only that, but how incorrect it truly is.

I’m learning to love the line in the song, “My Favorite Things”, from The Sound of Music that speaks of “brown paper packages”.  The idea of course is that the wrapping is not what makes the gift special, it is what is inside that counts.  And so it is with us who are believers.

Author LeAnne Payne says, “Until we learn to yield to God all our needs, cries and the desires of our hearts in petition, we will neither know Him or our hearts as we should”.  I think my desires were right.  But how I thought they would be lived out was not.

I’m figuring out what is inside the brown paper package of who I am ~ what my desires are ~ what thrills my heart ~ the heart God created within me.  And I’m also learning what sidetracks me from living out of those God-given desires.  Galatians 5:16 teaches me that my flesh also has desires.  Those desires may look good on the surface, but underneath they sidetrack me from living out who I really am. 

Asking myself some questions has helped me figure out if my desires are from God.
For instance, what is it about this desire that I think is life-giving?  And, what is it about this desire that I really enjoy?  What might God say about this desire?  Proverbs 3:5 is a good caution for me, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.”  I’m learning to allow God to speak to me and shape my desires.

Many years ago I heard the voice of God speak to me from Jonah 2:8 where Jonah is praying to God from the belly of the whale.  In the NIV, this verse is translated, “Those who cling to worthless idols, forfeit the grace that could be theirs”.  To be honest, I don’t remember the circumstance that caused that verse to speak to me.  However, in the last several months, God brought that verse back to me again as my husband and I are looking at some changes in the near future.  Change is always hard in some ways.  I want to cling to that which I know.  But the real question is, do I want to forfeit the grace that could be mine?  NO!  So I submit my desires to God.  And slowly my desires are changing.  I’m learning that the brown paper package that has been our life for the last few years no longer contains the desires God has given us.  So what is more important, the packaging or the contents of the package ~ the heart that God has given me?

Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart”.
Psalm 37:4


  1. I LOVE this post, Sue!! Thank you for sharing. <3

  2. Sue,

    Thank you for sharing! This is such as timely post as God is reminding me of who HE has created me to be. I always want to wrestle with Him and point to other things that could define me. However, God is graciously taking those things away from and showing me that HE is enough.

    Laura Beth :)