Last month I preached at my church. To be honest… I didn’t want to.
I have been struggling with things in my own personal life and my feelings towards a whole lot of stuff that’s been going on.
Leading a church can be painful. There are those who don’t like how we do things, those who don’t want to be responsible for their own faith walk, those who don’t want to change, those who want to blame us for their mistakes, those who are offended at life in general but we’re their favourite target, and those whose expectations of us are so astronomical that even Jesus himself would disappoint them.
Then add to all of that, the current legal matters with my ex-step mother-in-law regarding my deceased father-in-law’s estate and the full financial and emotional weight that we are bearing. Then add to all of that, the financial strain I’m under because companies don’t keep their word. All the while trying to raise four beautiful children to love people and to love God with all their hearts.
It’s been a bit much at times…
So when God laid it on my heart to talk about the issues of the heart… I knew He was asking me to preach to myself.
Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly perverse and corrupt and severely, mortally sick! Who can know it [perceive, understand, be acquainted with his own heart and mind]?”
Proverbs 4:23, “Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.”
Life begins or ends with your heart, not just physically but also spiritually! The condition your heart is in will impact what kind of life you live. The condition of your heart will effect your hopes, dreams and ultimately… your destiny!
Loss – Death – Betrayal – Disappointment – Failures…
Those things can leave you angry, bitter, sarcastic, selfish, and even mean spirited at times. Trust me, I know first hand! When those things happen, it can mar your heart and it’s hard to envision happiness and true joy in the midst of that, it’s hard to see the forest through the trees…
When your heart is hurting, just like the commercial that informs you on how to know if you’re having a stroke, your vision gets cloudy and your heart gets sick, metaphorically speaking. During these times, it’s hard to see straight let alone think straight. People begin to lose sight of their dreams and when they’re in this condition impurities in their heart begin to surface.
Life is not like a box of chocolates… it’s more like a tube of toothpaste… you never know what you’re made of until you’re squeezed.
Gabby Douglas: US Olympic Gold winner in Gymnastics at the 2012 London Olympics said, “Life is not easy, you have to fight and refuse to quit” … “hard days are the best because that’s when champions are made, so if you push through the hard days you can get through anything.”
James 4:10 tells us that we need to humble ourselves before the Lord so that He can lift us up. If you want to get up, you need to get down. The key word here is HUMILITY and it’s something this world is lacking. We have to get it out of our minds that to be humble is to be weak, it’s not… it’s a strength! It will help you push through the hard days!!
What will hinder any success in your life is PRIDE, which the Bible tells us God hates. It is pride that will keep your heart from healing.
Pride will keep us from achieving the great things God has planned for us. Pride blinds us to the true condition of our heart and keeps us from dealing with the truth. It causes us to view ourselves as the victim instead of the victor. It causes us to believe we are not worthy, or that we won’t amount to much. It causes us to not see ourselves as God sees us. We are created in His image, we are more than a conqueror, we are the head and not the tail, above and not beneath…
Pride will tell you not to consider what is going on in your own heart. Pride will cause you to defend your behaviour, your reactions, your words, your impulses, your thoughts… Pride is the barrier between you and your destiny!
I do not believe that anyone “has arrived” – we are always in need of alterations… constant growth or change, forever moving forward. I don’t know about you but I want to lead a life that even though I get put through the fire, I come out refined… better, improved, stronger… not bitter, angry, resentful or indifferent.
I want to be useful, responsible, and compassionate. I want to matter, to count, to stand for something, and to have made a difference! This is the life I was created to LIVE.
So now I have to ask you… how’s the condition of your heart?
I give, give, give. I don't expect anything in return(it would be nice for it be acknowledged once in a while) but a couple of weeks ago I got overwhelmed and through myself on the couch as sometimes finances can be hard and everybody wants my me and resources for free. I just hope on my end, good things will come with my good intent.
Beautiful post Shannon.
I always give without expecting anything in return I give because I am supposed to give. I love to help others and I will continue to give as long as I can breathe.
so important to keep our hearts as clean as possible by helping others, being an overall nice generous person
You know this resounds with me…..love it, thanks for sharing
There is that word again PRIDE, it bothers me to see so many suffer all due to pride. Love your saying about the toothpaste – so true!
I think I am often jaded due to my legal and financial problems – much like you. I enjoyed your post and shared:)
This was such a beautiful post! Thank you for sharing it and being so open and honest
I am amazed by how God works. Word-for-word, I needed to hear this message. I cave often to bitterness and insecurity, but I am learning to submit to God's Truths. It takes practice! Thank-you for sharing.
Beautifully written Shannon. Im proud of you for speaking when you really didn't want to.
I'm sorry I missed it.
I have been going through so much pain and disappointment in the last few months, that I'm sure I would have greatly benefited from hearing you speak that day.
I love you. Be strong. You're an amazing woman and a definite role model.