During this Lenten season, I will be blogging a reflection, a thought, or a devotional each day. The theme over the next 39 days will be “the road to whole heartedness”. I hope you will join me!
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
I want to love the Lord with all my heart soul and mind. I have often prayed and asked the Lord to even increase my heart soul and mind so I have more to love Him with. But recently I was reflecting and believing that I do – at least to my fullest capacity right now – love with him all my heart.
All of my bruised, confused, crude heart.
The obstacle is not that I don’t love Him with enough of my heart; the obstacle for me is that my heart is battered and tired and crushed in some areas. Some parts are just tainted. It’s like trying to give you a cookie that fell on the floor. Some pieces have some dirt specks on it, but hey, can’t all be bad… right? So my heart that I pour out many times is selfish, self-seeking, fearful, and anxious. I still am giving Him all that I can, but all that I can and all that I have is not fully… clean yet.
I say this as someone who has graduated from seminary with her Masters in Divinity. As someone who has flown off to spend three months to pray nonstop at a house of prayer. Someone who has gone through various prayer and inner healing sessions including theophostic. Someone who has witnessed signs, wonders, and miracles. Someone who has gone through therapy. Someone who has mentored, coached, discipled. Someone who has been serving in vocational ministry for almost ten years. As someone who “should” be good.
Yes, on paper, I should be. But my goal and hope is to be as transparent and authentic in life that I could possibly be. And to be transparent means to say, as a leader, as a pastor, as a mentor and coach – I’m still very very very broken. I still serve my own fears at times more than my Jesus. I still worry about the next day and the next day and the next day. I still get unrighteously angry when someone has stood in the way of what I feel entitled to. And I know the right verses and the right answers and the right stories. I know.
Because in the same way I know I shouldn’t eat a cookie that fell on the floor, I still do. In the same way that I get a stomach ache after, I still feel the pain in my soul by not being able to breathe in and out all that I should know. In the same way one small bite of that cookie gives me food poisoning because I live in this imperfect body, I still wrestle with the reality of the “not yet”.
And yet as frustrating as this all can be, the beauty is not being able to have a smooth and shiny heart to deliver. The beauty is the journey we decide to embark on to meet Him. It’s easy to look at ourselves, look at each other, and simply see the areas that aren’t healed yet. The areas that still need redeeming. But these are the very cracks in our lives that shine the brightest when we bring our whole broken hearts before Him. The very cracks that we tried to hide away and keep in the dark are the very areas that display even brighter His majesty in our lives. The very areas that need to be seen and brought into the light.
I usually try to give up something during Lent – movies, secular music, some hobby – that allows my gaze on Him to be a bit more concentrated. This year instead of giving up, I’ll be giving out – pieces of my journey, my prayers, my devotions (and I know I’m off to a rocky start, but hey, isnt’t that the irony of this whole thing?). It’s my journey towards whole-heartedness. A journey that isn’t just the next 40 days, but a journey that’s until we are in our perfect bodies and we can say we now healed. And maybe it’s the journey itself that reflects loving Him whole heartedly.