Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Heart

{Seaside, OR} June 2010

I am really really enjoying my book club read, "Strong Women, Soft Hearts" by Paula Rinehart. Last night I got together with three other gals (the rest of our group was busy or couldn't come) and we shared some really great thoughts amidst coffee. I wanted to share some of my thoughts will you all so grab a cup of coffee and let's chat! :)

This book is offering a whole new perspective on my "heart". I have believed for a LONG time that you shouldn't really "follow your heart" in many senses. Your heart is very full of emotions and emotions are fleeting, temporary things, often based not on logic but on what feels good or sounds good or worse, hormonal. ( I am pretty sure that sentence is not puncutated properly, commas and semi-colons and their placement confuse me. Anyways, I digress)

This book is all about following your heart and so I am having to re-shape my opinion on this issue. And I love what that is doing to my head, my thoughts and of course, my heart. :)

The first chapter is called "Awakening: God Calls Our Hearts". Paula starts the book with a quote from Lee Smith. Here is an excerpt "Your life is nog going to start later. This is it, it is now. It's funny how a person can be so busy that they forget this is it. This is my life". So true are these words and this is actually a concept that I don't struggle with. Because I am not in what I would label my *ideal* situation, I have to make the most of every moment with my daughter and not wait to enjoy life until things become more *ideal*. That would be such a waste. I have lived much of my life like that already and it is unfortunate.

Rinehart goes on to say that "the underlying premise of this book is that we must have our hearts intact in order to make the journey of life well. We must have access to the inside stuff- the longing and desires and dreams and vulnerabilities that make us who we are. God placed those in us. He means for us to live from the heart. It's the palce where we first hear His voice and respond". (I seriously could write out this entire chapter, it was so so good. I am pretty sure that is against copy right laws though, hee hee).

We must have our hearts intact....something to ponder. What does that look like? How do I align my heart? I have gotten up with Brett for the last two mornings and written in my prayer journal. I am aligning my heart with His and choosing to start my day intentionally. I need to fill my heart with good things in order for it to be intact and protect the images and content that it comes into contact with. This challenges me.

Rinehart writes, "How we slowly drift from the domain of the heart to a focus on efficiency and performance- as though this whole thing was mostly about doing and duty". So so so true. Efficiency is something I strive for constantly. I don't want my life to be described as efficient though...I mean, that is a nice word and complimentary in a sense but I don't want it to define me. I don't want to only call my mom on my way home because I need to kill time anyways. I want to be intentional and make her special. I don't want to only have meaningful conversations with my husband while I am folding laundry or doing the dishes in an effort to multi-task. I want to sit down, hold his hand and look him in the eye when we talk. Efficiency and multi-tasking are something I pride myself in greatly, mainly because of the place of life I am in. And that is okay sometimes. It's great to empty the dishwasher during the 8 minutes it takes to boil Emersyn's mac and cheese. But I don't want to strive for efficiency in my relationships or the matters of my heart. I feel guilty of doing that too often with friends and that isn't fair, nor who I want to be.

The rest of the chapter goes on to talk about the importance of being in tune with our hearts and following it, even though that may pose some risks. Following your heart can lead to heartache in the event that things don't work out. However, "trust is our gift back to God" (quote by Phillip Yancey)

The next chapter is called "Desire: The Language of the Heart". This was the chapter we discussed last night. Instead of quoting a lot of the book, I will share what I came away with.

Desire is an interesting thing. Rinehart states that "the heart is actually a bundle of longings and desire". Desires can lead to feelings of being incomplete and misplaced passions.

Right now when I ask myself, "what do I desire for my life" my answer consists of mostly events and milestones that can be put into a box and labeled easily. I desired to get married. Check. I desired to have a child. Check. I desire to stay home with her full time. This box is blank. I desire to have a one level home someday with a large yard. Another blank box. I desire to get a small dog for our family to enjoy. Again, blank.

Upon reviewing my list, I am troubled because nothing I desire matters in a way. It's all fluff. Of course, I desire to do much more in life then what I listed, like raise a happy, healthy daughter, etc. But initially when I think of desire, it's about stuff or even social status. (Becoming a wife, mom, SAHM, etc.) What about my desires says, "Lord, use me". Nothing.

I am challenged to strip away my titles and find out who what I am working towards as a woman, as Patti. Not as Brett's wife or Emersyn's mother.

Last night we discussed misplaced passions, a way that we deal with desire. Desires can fuel addictions and voids are meant to be filled. Some of us struggled with watching too much TV. Some of us struggled with dwelling on past relationships. Some of us, myself included, struggled with being online too much. I have a desire in my heart to connect with people. I can misplace that and only maintain relationships via Facebook, blogging, etc. Instead, I need to take that desire and figure out a way that the Lord intends me to use that for Him, not for myself. Sending someone a quick Facebook message isn't nearly as meaningful as handwriting a note. This reflection isn't intended to make me feel bad about myself, just to be in tune with my heart and be wise with how I spend my time. Rinehart says that "psychologically, addiction uses up desire" and that is why we numb ourselves with addictions be it TV, substances, or even something like shopping!! God has put desires in our hearts, what are we going to do with that?

The challenge that we walked away with last night was to form a recovery plan from any of our misplaced passions and tune into the desires of my heart. I want to have goals that I working towards that don't have anything to do with being a wife or mom. I want to have a heart that longs to be used by God and bring Him glory through my life. Someday when I am able to stay home with Ems, is that all I will have worked for? Will I somehow *arrive* at that point? Certainly not. My life has to have more meaning then that and those are the kinds of thoughts and goals that I am wanting to tune into. It's an interesting place to be in and I am looking forward to diving more into it!

1 comment:

sister sheri said...

Dear Patti - You may think there is nothing on your list that says, "Lord, use me" but I see it differently. I think you are an amazing young woman of God who is a true born leader. Much love, dearest.