Thursday, September 1, 2011

the status of my heart.

Being back at JMU makes my heart so happy. Everywhere I go, there's beauty. Sunsets behind the tiers of foggy mountains, big old trees towering over the sunny quad, Wilson Hall standing proudly at one end, seeming so regal and prestigious. There's no shortage of gorgeous places around Harrisonburg.

There also is no shortage of awesome people. Walking through campus, there is just this sense of community that you can't escape, nor do I think you'd ever even want to. I know I belong here, I know this is home, I know these people are my family.

Anyway, enough about my love for JMU. I could go on for days.

I just finished reading "Desire" by John Eldredge. Not totally sure I'm obsessed with everything in this book, but there were several good points made that really stuck in my head and got me thinking. The whole topic of "desire" is something that is extremely relevant in this stage of my life, and something that I think culture views in a very different way than Jesus intended. I do recommend reading this book, if for no other reason than to provoke some interesting introspection into your own heart's desires.

There is a quote in the first chapter that I underlined and starred, and it really resonates with me.

"To desire is to open our hearts to the possibility of pain; to shut down our hearts is to die altogether."
-John Eldredge, "Desire"

Since being back at JMU, this whole idea of guarding my heart has been really prevalent. I'm a control freak, I'll admit that readily. Being vulnerable with my heart has never been something I've enjoyed, and I've always struggled with it a lot. It seems to always follow a pattern: I grow close to people. I slowly start to open up, let them in, share my heart. Something happens, trust is broken, and I'm left feeling exposed and foolish for ever letting my guard down.

"Because of its vulnerable nature, desire begins to feel like our worst enemy."

-John Eldredge, "Desire"

This book, and recent events in my life, have reminded me that having desires and passions and feelings comes hand in hand with the risk that pain might follow. On the contrary though, if I just shut everyone out and lock my heart up to the world, no growth or life will ever come from it.

"God is a deeply, profoundly passionate person. Zeal consumes him... In other words, his profound desire for something greater sustained him at the moment of his deepest trial. We cannot hope to live like him without a similar depth of passion."

-John Eldredge, "Desire"

If seeking to live like God is my goal, living a passionate, zealous life is necessary. It's not a bad thing that I care so much, that I feel things so deeply, that I love intensely. But there needs to be a balance between total zealous passion and total exposed vulnerability while seeking after the desires God has placed on my heart, and I'm still trying to figure out exactly what that looks like in the reality of my life.

"To live with desire is to choose vulnerability over self-protection; to admit our desire and seek help beyond ourselves is even more vulnerable. It is an act of trust."
-John Eldredge, "Desire"

My goal for this year is focused on the heart:
Learning to trust that while things in my life seem big, God is bigger. Learning how to guard my heart yet let people in without a fear of vulnerability destroying me. Learning how to have humility and hold back instead of being quick to speak and quick to anger. Learning how to passionately live for Christ and seek after the desires He has set into my heart.

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