This is a look at what has been on my heart for the last several days. It's taken me about a week to process it all and put it into words, but I think I'm finally ready.
As I picked up my Bible, I just opened it and asked God to show me what He wanted to tell me. This is where I landed and I felt convicted. My heart is the wellspring of life! That really struck me! What am I doing to this wellspring of life, but polluting it? The verse even tells me how I'm polluting it:
The Message says, "Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that's where life starts. Don't talk out of both sides of your mouth; avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip. Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions. Watch your step, and the road will stretch out smooth before you. Neither look right nor left; leave evil in the dust."
If I am allowing thoughts, language, actions, things I watch... into my life that aren't glorifying God, I am not guarding my heart. It doesn't matter if the corrupt talk is coming from my lips, if I listen to it, it has gone to my heart. If I listen to that piece of gossip someone is just dying to share with me, I have taken it into my heart. That snide comment I made about someone? It's there too. I am struck by the thought that anything that our minds take in, we also process through our hearts. As women especially, everything is processed by emotions and feelings. Those come from the heart. The saying "Garbage in, garbage out" came to mind. I thought about how Jesus wants my heart to be pure for him. If I am constantly littering it with things that aren't of him, I am getting distracted and my eyes aren't able to focus on Him.
I love the thought of leaving evil in the dust. How hard would it be to stop someone who wants to share a juicy piece of gossip? Probably initially pretty hard, but if we all committed to change the subject when someone starts, or share honestly from our hearts about wanting to focus on Jesus, or even just to walk away, we would not have to burden our hearts with it. I admit I like to watch the occasional reality show. I know they aren't really reality, they are pumped up with drama for ratings, but especially those Real Housewives shows to see other people's drama. It's been a way for me to relax in front of the television and get caught up in someone else's storyline for a bit. It also soils my heart. I am committing right now on this blog to erase them off of my DVR and find other ways to detox that are not distractions from how Jesus wants me to live. I want to fill my heart and mind with good things, things of God. I don't need the burdens of other people's drama ~ real, perceived or made up. But isn't it so easy to be distracted and get caught up in it all?
What are things in your life that distract you from focusing on Jesus? I am inviting you to take inventory with me and leave those things behind. It isn't easy, part of me is dying to find out what will happen on the show this week, but I won't be tuning in. So if we know what not to do, what do we do? A few thoughts come to mind.
1. Replace old habits and behaviors with things you enjoy. Instead of watching television, I think I'll bake some pumpkin muffins or catch up on scrap booking. Perhaps I'll pick up a book I've been wanting to read and make a cup of chai tea.
2. I'll seek out people in my life who don't engage in gossip or coarse language. I want to surround myself with encouragers and people who are in the Word.
3. We all mess up and get off track. God used this verse to put me back in check. I'm thinking of asking a friend to be my accountability partner. I certainly have people in my life who would be willing to do this, but it requires opening myself up and putting my faults out there.
4. Consistent Quiet Time with God. This is the most important step! I admit that while I try to do this, there are periods in my life where I am busy and just do not make the time. That extra 30 minutes of sleep sounds better than getting up while the house is quiet. As the mom of two children, there is a lot of noise in my life. I wouldn't trade where I am for anything in the world, but I don't get quiet time when the kids are up. However, when I make the time and I am in quiet communion with God, I am more in tune with His nudgings throughout the day.