Think twice if you think our own hearts can be unequivocally trusted. Our hearts often do their own things and then show their cards to us. We hardly even know our own hearts. They are living, beating, feeling entities that surprise us when we find out what’s inside. But when what I see in my heart surprises or shocks me, I won’t shame it or squelch it, but care for it, talk to it, guide it, and lead it. At any given time I follow or lead my heart, but there’s no neutral ground. You’d think that we are creatures capable of knowing ourselves, but here we find ourselves with hearts that selectively choose when to show us what they’re really feeling and thinking, and they surprise us.
I got a glimpse inside my heart the other day while I was waiting on the bus. And what I saw was ugly. My heart showed me some ugly cards. I stood behind a girl while in line for this bus. I didn’t know her but had crossed paths with her several times before and she is lovely, well-dressed, and put-together. And knowing nothing else about her, I felt insecure and threatened and in that space of two seconds, I compared her body to mine and made a judgment about her body. What an ugly thing, bringing down another woman just to feel better about myself. But bringing her down didn’t make me feel better about myself. My ugly heart showed its cards and I cringed. Belittling another human being is despicable, no matter how that belittling manifests.
Dale Partridge recently posted this on Facebook: “A lesson I’ll teach my girls: Just because she’s pretty, doesn’t mean you’re not. When you compare your body, your possessions, or your life to others you reject the intrinsic value God has for you. You are perfect. A masterpiece. Irreplaceable. And loved. Instead, let gratitude turn what you already have into more than enough. Let contentment fill your heart and vow to celebrate the wins of others girls even if you feel like you’re losing. A good life is controlled by good choices. And while you won’t always get to choose what happens to you, you do get to choose what happens in you.”
Little girls aren’t the only ones that need to be taught those lessons. So I talked to my own heart about the value and identity I have simply because I am created by and loved by God. I reminded my heart that that girl on the bus has the same value. She is a masterpiece and I am a masterpiece and both deserve to be celebrated in our uniqueness. Instead of judging her, how could I celebrate her? I talked to my heart about joy and gratitude and contentment. Our hearts are powerful, with much potential, and they need our help. Lead. Take your heart gently by the hand and tell it where you’re both going. I’m trying to lead mine toward contentment in Jesus Christ, joy, and selflessness.