What do you long for from others and from God? What are the motives of your heart? These are the hard, and let me be frank, terrifying questions I am learning to ask myself, the questions God has been prompting me to grapple with so I can entrust all to Him. He asks the questions that get to the root of my heart with such precision, if I let Him in.
C.S Lewis writes, “ the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride […] Pride leads to every other vice: it is completely anti-God state of mind.”
Prv 11:2 (NCV) “Pride leads only to shame; it is wise to be humble.”
Pride is so deadly because it is blinding. I was blind to the fact that I wasn’t so in tune with what’s in my heart, my motives. As I sharpen this learned skill I am so humbled by what I can see so much more clearly now. Sometimes what I see just leaves me feeling ashamed. Yet God knows my heart and accepts me anyway, He always has, and He hasn’t gone anywhere. He has not cast judgment, He’s extended grace. He exposes my deepest longings, losses and where I strive to get my identity when it’s not in Him. When I allow Him to, He exposes all the hidden and broken places.
Ps 139:3 (NIV) “Search me, God, and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts”
And when I finally see everything, and bring them before Him, He accepts all my shortcomings and loves me still.
Ps73:21-23 (ESV) “When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you […], 23 Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand.”
I am learning to accept that I am powerless. For a long time I applied self-control, obsessiveness and my own way to try and solve my and others problems. When those relationships broke down, I just tried harder – my battle was futile.
Pv 16:2 (HCSB) “All a man’s ways seem right to Him, but the Lord evaluates the motives”
When Adam and Eve rebelled against God they became their own gods, and as a result, also became separated from God and the partners He made for them. They still needed the other, and God, but no longer trusted that their needs would be satisfied. They believed the lie, that God was withholding and things fell apart when they took matters into their own hands. The longings of their hearts remained but the assurance of them being satisfied by Him was gone.
Over time, and through experiencing painful losses and disappointments I too started to pull back trust from God. My longings remained but the assurance of God satisfying them were gone. I took control into my own hands. Yet when I was willing to not only bring, but feel all my longings and losses before Him, I allowed him to begin healing me and depend on Him once again.
Jer 17:10(NLT) “But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives.”
Accepting my powerlessness is just the first step but it’s an important one. It allows me to see what is really in my heart, to search my heart to answer who He really is to me, why I am so afraid, and if I want to get well. He exposes the secret motives of my heart and brings me back to Him.
1Peter 5:10-11 “The God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast. To Him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”
When my answer is, “Yes, I want to get well.” I relinquish my false power for His empowerment. I admit that I AM powerless, and so are you, we are not alone but in this together.
He does restore me and make me strong, but not in the way I thought or strove for before. Ironically, this strength comes through humility, transparency, accountability and surrender. It comes through the acceptance that God heard my pain and knows the deepest longings of my heart. It’s the difference between exhibiting compulsive, controlling, or perfectionist behavior in order to feel some semblance of power, rather than accepting I am powerless over others and many of my circumstances. And that is OK.
Is26:3 “You keep in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”
When I let go of others I no longer have to carry the consequences of their decisions, I can instead focus on my decisions. He gives me courage to examine my heart and question my motives. I can let go of fear by focusing on God’s love and mercy. He then becomes the source of my empowerment. I am free to be authentic, to embrace my shortcomings and accept others’, to once again accept and trust His ways, even when I cannot see where He is leading me. When I see and accept what is in my heart, what motivates me, I can be true to myself – longings, losses and all.
Ex33:13 “Now if I have found favor in your sight, please show me how your ways that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight.”
Is26: 4 “Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.”