My husband and I have had many a conversation about whether or not people ever fundamentally change. He’s not so sure; I, on the other hand, am certain they can.
Changing “me” is difficult. It takes work. It takes time. And, it takes a heart change.
The wise, old troll’s comment to Anna’s parents in Frozen says it all, “Your lucky it wasn’t her heart. The heart’s not so easily changed…” Isn’t that the truth?
The word “heart” is mentioned over 700 times in the NIV translation of the Bible and over 800 times in the KJV. And Scripture’s not referring to the organ that pumps blood through our bodies; it’s referring to the heart, figuratively. The Greek word for heart is kardia, meaning the heart, mind, character, inner self, will, intention, center.
I’ve always been a listener and a learner. I take it all in and I take it all to heart. Maybe that’s why, throughout my life, words impacted me so profoundly. Words have power, power to better and power to belittle.
For years, I allowed the unkind, angry, and judgmental words of others belittle me and change my heart. I went from an emotional, touchy-feely girl to an angry, jealous, judgmental, woman. A soft heart became a hard heart.
At least a hard heart’s protected from harm, no pain, no disappointment, no doubt, no nothing or so you’d think! But sadly, this kind of heart aches, and it’s heavy and empty. It’s worse than the one that’s squishy.
When I first encountered Jesus, I wasn’t sure I could change. I was comfortable with my righteous anger, picking people apart, and pushing them away when they hurt me. My husband said I was like a queen sitting on a throne casting judgment on my subjects. Ouch!
Jesus wouldn’t let me be. I listened and I learned; I took it in and I took it to heart just like I’d always done. Jesus’ words were different and they were powerful. Matthew 11:28-30 spoke volumes to me:
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
That was it, Jesus’ words got into my heart. Day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year God’s word starting changing my heart into a heart that resembles his. The worldly words became less and less meaningful.
Jesus will change our hearts if we let him. But we have to let him…
This is our life as Christ followers, to be transformed into the likeness of Jesus. Our hearts become his heart. Our words become his words. Our actions become his actions.
John tells us we have all we need to overcome the worldly things keeping us from experiencing a change of heart.
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. ~ 1 John 4:4
I’ve come a long way, but change comes slow, and yes, it’s difficult. I still have a temper, sometimes I still pick, and I close myself off when I feel hurt. These behaviors, I admit, disappoint me and drive me crazy.
When I sense the hardening beginning to happen, I:
Do a heart check.
Ask Jesus to help me work on what needs work.
Don’t judge myself too harshly.
Focus on becoming the woman God wants me to be.
Remember just how precious the heart is.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. ~ Proverbs 4:23
By sharing her personal faith experiences, her thoughts about following Jesus and what it's like being part of his church, she hopes to help some navigate a new journey and challenge those already on the journey as they travel the faith road together.