In this post, I’m exploring the idea of following your heart versus tapping into the desires of your heart.
When I’m honest, the advice to “follow your heart” has gotten me in trouble in the past.
Following my heart has led me to
- pursue relationships that were not right for me
- make poor choices for my health so I could “live in the moment”
- “speak my truth” that in a way that made me feel good but hurt other people
- commit to things WAY outside of my scope
I get the idea. Stop listening to outside influences and tap into your own desires and dreams. “Follow your heart” is even printed on a beautiful handmade sign hanging in my office, a gift from a sweet friend who sees me as someone who follows my heart.
Maybe you’re like me and sometimes question whether your heart is in the right place.
At the start of the year when I’m laying aside some commitments and being strategic with where I invest my time and attention so I can pursue my highest calling, I wonder, “What if these things I’m dreaming of are just my whims and selfish longings? What if I’m just on an ego trip and missing God’s best for me? What if I’m totally off the mark of what’s next?”
I’ve been hesitant to look at 2020 and my plans. Maybe you have been, too. Then I listened to a podcast, something I never do, and caught Kathi Lipp talking about this very thing. She essentially asked, “How do we make sure we’re not just ‘following our heart’ and totally missing God’s best plan?” On the one hand, we have these dreams and goals and want to go after them. On the other hand, we’re worried about being “out of God’s will” or landing somewhere we never intended to go. It’s easy to let that tension lead to inaction. In the podcast, her guest reassured us that if we’re connected to God, He is implanting those desires and we have to trust that connection.
I’m learning to follow my heart, but only when it’s in alignment with God’s heart.
The mindset shift occurred when a pastor friend taught on this verse in the late 1990s: “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 ESV
I’d read it many times before and I’ll admit, I saw it more like as God being my genie in a bottle. “Hey, God. Here’s what I want. Here’s a desire of my heart. Grant it.”
(insert “I Dream of Jeannie” GIF, right?)
If you’ve ever had an experience where you got what you asked for and it turned out nothing like you thought, you know how well that works.
Our pastor friend presented it in a new way: God implants HIS desires within us and equips us to carry them out.
The key phrase is IF we’re connected to God. That’s part of my 2020 vision: to draw near to God and abide with Him so I can tune into those desires. For me, that’s daily prayer and Bible study and building in time to be still and listen. That’s hard for me. But when I’m in sync with God, His Word and His will, then and only then can I “follow my heart.” That takes me to where God is already working and equipping instead of where I thought I wanted to be.
IF you are already in sync with God, I encourage you to trust that connection and step out in faith. You have those dreams and desires for a greater purpose! For me, I need to spend some time getting back into alignment before I make any big decisions for 2020.
Do you follow your heart or rely on God to give you the desires of your heart?
In 2020 I’m going to follow His heart more instead of following mine.