Down and Dirty: When God Looks At Your Heart

Woman with broken heart.

You’re no stranger to TMI here on Predatory Lies. I subscribe to the belief that if God is teaching me something, no matter how painful or humbling, there’s likely someone else in the world who’d like to hear the lesson without learning it the hard(est) way.

Just this week, the Holy Spirit took what began as self-pity and legitimate hurt, and turned it into a lesson about my own pride and the state of my heart before Him.

No matter how I control my actions and words, no matter the “holy” impression I give to others, or how “justified” my feelings, I am responsible for a heart that loves God exclusively and pursues His own.

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

I love how He speaks to us, that he’s faithful to continue speaking and teaching and admonishing and explaining even when I get it wrong over and over and over.

My husband has been working maddening hours lately and we’re approaching a six-week training stint where he will be in another state. We’ve had recent weeks when he hasn’t come home at all due to overnight training. So, when we’d just sacrificed another weekend, I was actually looking forward to Monday evening, but he didn’t get home until almost nine. As he debriefed me on his day, he mentioned that the commander had just added a leadership development event to the calendar and he was going to be gone overnight on my birthday the following week.

Tears. Water works. I complained and groused until he was frustrated too. We did finally get over it, I pulled myself together and we went to bed. Then I erupted again. This time, I took it to the Lord alone while my hubby snored. For an hour I cried to God, “I’m so tired of this. I miss him. I feel like I and our coming baby are forced into second place to the Army. I feel alone and hurt. Why God? And what about our baby? What if he’s too busy to enjoy her?”

Additionally, I felt terrible for making my husband feel bad, for complaining about something he couldn’t control and making a crappy situation even worse for him.

Finally, I went to bed—cried out. The next morning, as I sat to do my quiet time, the Holy Spirit flooded me with verses about complaining. Phil. 2:14 came to mind. “Do all things without grumbling or disputing.” He pointed out that even though I hadn’t yelled at my husband or sinned in my words or actions and my hurt was valid—my heart was not right before God. God sees the heart. And my grumbling and complaining did not bring him honor or glory.

Psalm 19:14 says, “Let the words of my mouth AND THE THOUGHTS OF MY HEART be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.”

Our Father is just as interested in the thoughts of my heart as He is in my words and actions.

If you’re brutally honest, what would God say about your heart right now?

A Much Need Verbal Slap In The Face

By Deanna Davis

Eccl 4: 9-10 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!

Pr. 27:5 Better is open rebuke than hidden love.

I was doubled over in grief and trying desperately not to vomit on the sidewalk. The news of my second miscarriage in a few months was more than heart breaking – it was soul shattering. How could God let this happen? What on earth had I signed up for in becoming a Christ-follower? And if this was my present, what was in store for my future?

Barely intelligible through gut-wrenching sobs, I cried out, “I guess this happened because there is some lesson out there God wants me to learn. And I must not be getting it.”

I could run through all sorts of theological reasons why that statement just might be true. God is sovereign and nothing is ever out of His control. Had He wanted to, He could have stepped in at any moment and stopped the loss. God does indeed use all our circumstances for good and continually teaches us through whatever happens. I knew all the church answers, but…

In that moment of honesty, when all my filters of self-restraint were stripped away, when unimaginable pain squeezed me beyond what I thought I could endure, out popped a deep seated lie that had been hidden in my heart for years. I thought God was a terrifying cop, waiting to pounce on the slightest infraction, a heartless teacher, rapping my knuckles to drive a lesson home, a taskmaster more concerned with what I did for Him than how I received love from Him.

“Deanna, that is a lie! That is a lie from hell!” As my good friend spoke, she grabbed my face in her hands and pulled me so close, she was looking right into my tear-filled eyes. And I instantly knew her words were true. She was verbally slapping me in the face, showing me greater love than any hug could have in that moment and opening my eyes to something I was incapable of seeing myself. Evidently I had internalized some pretty severe lies about God’s identity and intentions towards me. Wow! What bravery for her to go there with me and say what I really, really needed to hear in that moment!

Where these lies came from, why they were so powerfully lodged in my heart, how God used this event in my life and the resolution of the theological questions it raised is too much of a story for this post. Those things will pop up on my blog Intersections before too long. But one thing I learned is this: having a truth-speaking friend who is courageous enough to wade into very deep relational waters with me is invaluable, life-giving and something EVERY believer needs.

Deanna is the author of INTERSECTIONS.  In an effort to briefly explain the depth of her writing, I can do no better than to quote her, “Pain, nature, ideas, culture, choices, emotions, creativity, relationships, the scriptures, significant conversations. These are the places where ordinary intersects supernatural. What happens during and after those moments is worth a blog.”

P.S. You can see what I wrote today on Deanna’s blog at http://www.deannadavis.wordpress.com