Does my heart tell me the truth?
People say that the things we feel are not to be trusted. Our emotions are fickle and fleeting; they come and go within a short amount of time. The lower parts of our brain begin chain reactions that often don’t hold up against the higher brain’s processing center. Feelings are not facts.
Except that they are.
The things we feel can’t be ignored. Dallas Willard taught that the Biblical “heart” was the control center for our whole mode of being. We often ignore the instinctual nature of our emotions and pay the consequences of not listening to our hearts.
The things we feel are real, but they don’t tell the whole story.
We have been meeting a lot of people and encountering a lot of feelings as we navigate our new realities. Sometimes we feel great about someone we’ve met or something we’ve done. Sometimes not so much. We accept the things we feel as one data point in discerning the will of God. They don’t tell the whole story about a person or situation, but they also aren’t irrelevant.
Admittedly, Leslie is much more instinctual than I [Charlie]. She is more in tune with her inner experience and more attuned to the way God is using that to speak. We’re trying to take more time to journal, reflect and discuss our experiences to better understand how God is shaping our hearts.
We’ve been talking a lot about the parable of the sower and the four types of soil in Luke 8.4-15. Many have referred to New England as rocky soil, but our experiences have revealed more thorns and thistles than shallow souls.
Paying attention to this changes the way we interact with people. Rocky soil evokes images of shallow people, but thorns and thistles speak more of distracted people. The landscape of New England is one of the most beautiful parts of the country (especially with the autumn colors). The soil of this region is rich with life if the roots go deep enough and if the organisms have enough time to mature.
Jesus said that those who hold the word in an honest and good heart bear fruit with patience. The feelings of the heart may be fickle and fleeting, but the heart is where we receive and hold the gospel. It can be honest, good and fruitful when rooted in Christ.