“He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, but not wholeheartedly.” – 2 Ch 25:2
My mentor once challenged me to look through scriptures and note any places where there is a command ending with “with all your heart”. There’s a theme, he taught me, that God wants your obedience with all your heart, not just some of it or half of it. Being a grammar geek (though I confess my grammar is far too rusty these days, probably need to skim through my “Eats, Shoots, and Leaves“) I also pay heavy attention to any “but”s. In fact, I love them and break the rule taught in second grade by using it far too much, but whatever. King Amaziah did was right in the eyes of God… BUT not wholeheartedly. I can’t help but freeze and reflect on the implications of that. For the nation of Judah to have a king that did right by God was a big deal; there was a see-saw of kings that obeyed God and those that blatantly disobeyed. As if one chapter in the nation’s history was dark, the next bright, the next dark, the next bright, etc as the reader feels a glint of hope with each light chapter. So here’s a bright chapter and yet there’s a shadow that streaks across the page because despite doing right… he was not wholehearted.
And I unfreeze as fear begins to melt through my moment of reflection. Now I have to journal and ask myself where are the areas where I am not wholehearted? And then I go down a rabbit’s hole. Not just in my daily worship to God, but ineach area of my life?
I think about my husband, and my goodness I love this man. As cranky as I can get at times, each day I am thankful for the ways he has sharpened me and continues to sharpen me. However, the more he sharpens me, the edgier I get, ready to fight back more and more. And he has to deal with that because he wants me to fight for myself, even if that means at times fighting him. But am I wholehearted with him? When I’m with him, do I note his words, his sighs, his hopes? Those who are familiar with our story know the painful doors we opened and closed concerning our careers and dreams. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t for at least a moment wonder what if. What if things were different or what if I was different or what if the woman he chose to marry was different? The dangers of what ifs taunt the mind with endless possibilities that lead the mind into a disarray of hopelessness, a danger I have to intentionally avoid. And so instead of ruminating over the past, I focus on the present and ask myself, am I wholehearted with my husband? When I’m with him, do I reveal to him my honest and vulnerable words, my sighs, my hopes? And if I do reveal such things, is it to be wholehearted or is it for my own gain? Do I only give myself in order to retain the love I’ve been given? Because if so, then I’m not wholehearted. To be wholehearted in my marriage requires a trust. A trust that he will continue to be there (something I struggle inherently with even before meeting him once upon a dream), a trust that he will be honest and vulnerable back, a trust that he can keep the vows he made almost 6 years ago.
Because I don’t want to just “do right by him”. I don’t want our marriage to have chapters that are dark and bright and yet the bright pages have shadows that dance across them. No, I want to love… with all my heart.