What we believe, what we think about actually affects our actions, the things we do. The Bible says Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it (Prov 4:23).
I’ve talked about the heart before – the heart is
- The inner man, the conscience, the soul
- The mind, the place where we understand, think, reflect and know things
- The place where we have inclinations and make resolutions to determine our will
- The place where our character springs from
- The seat of our passions and our emotions.
Our actions are determined by our passions, emotions, character, inclinations, by the things that we know and understand and the things that we believe. Therefore it is really important that we focus on truth, that we feed our heart the stuff that will bring life. When we focus on a lie we get a distorted view of life. It reminds me of those horrible apps on phones these days that can twist your face to very weird images. That is not how you are supposed to look, and when we don’t focus on truth, we don’t see life as it is supposed to look either.
Check what goes in your Heart
In our language we have these little sayings, we don’t even think about them when we utter them – but maybe we should. These little sayings may subtly set the wrong information in our heart – which as I’ve said, affects our actions.
And they lived happily ever after
Not only does this myth play with our own marriage relationship it is a concept that we have to debunk in our little girls (and maybe boys) head as well. Disney movies are full of this lie – the story ends (with a happy ending) at the wedding – we presume the rest. But the road through life is always going to be bumpy. Not only are we human, but we are married to a human as well. When humans interact, especially when they get close to one another as is bound to happen (that is, should happen) in a marriage there is going to be some friction. The idea ‘and they lived happily ever after’ also tells us that everything will be okay if we are just married. This is not true. One person, even a very nice person, whom you love, will not make life okay. Only a complete trust in Jesus can do that.
Better Safe than Sorry
We are parents and so we are going to worry about our kids – we want them to be safe. But if we start making decisions based on this little quip – better safe than sorry – then we are going to inhibit our kids. We will restrict their curiosity, limit their potential, and truly clip their wings! They will explode like a volcano or bolt like a wild horse. You will have lost or at least damaged your relationship with them. Or they will comply and they will be never blossom into all they can be (maybe one day resenting you for it). Better safe than sorry is a way of thinking that says we can control circumstances. We can’t control circumstances. We can teach and train them to have the skills they need to manage risk and explore life, we can expose them gently so they have experiences when we are still around to catch them and guide then. But ultimately we need to trust God that he will look after them.
Have your Cake and Eat it too
This line of thinking tells us there are no consequences for our choices, that we can have it all. Well, that simply isn’t true – we can’t have it all – and there certainly are consequences to our actions. When considering my role as homemaker this saying really does play with my head – it tells me that I can sit at the computer, blog or browse, and there will be time for the housework later. It tells me that I can ignore the housework and clean up quickly before the visitors come, that muffins can be cooked in 15 minutes, and that the kitchen will clean itself if I just ignore it!! We cannot go out of the house every day and expect the laundry to be caught up. We cannot spend the morning on the phone, and expect the groceries to be in the fridge. We cannot spend money freely without realising it will run out. We need to shake off this idea – we cannot have it all. One of the principles that helps me keep this in balance is the recognition of seasons in my life. I need to make decisions, based on my priorities and I need to be diligent in working on those priorities knowing that the life changes and there will be a time of different opportunities at another time.
Sticks and stone may break my bones, but words will never hurt me
I think this is one of the biggest porky-pies that our parents ever told us. I can’t imagine what they were thinking!! True, sticks and stones may well break our bones but words certainly hurt us. If we go into a relationship – be it our marriage relationship, or a friendship, thinking that we can say whatever we want, in the guise of friendship, then we are in for a rude awakening – people will be hurt! We need to guard our tongue, and instead live by the saying: If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all! Of course, sometimes we are going to have to talk about hard stuff, we are going to resolve conflicts, discuss hurts and so forth, but whenever we go into a conversation, we should remember the Bible verse from Col 4:6 – Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Salt is used in the Bible as a preserver – our words can preserve our friendships or destroy. We must believe there is power in the tongue, and choose carefully what we allow it to say.
Better late than never
Is this true? Are things better late than never? In a sense I guess so, but the thing that concerns me about living with this proverb is that it is an excuse for slackness. We drop our standards, and then give an excuse making it all right. But we need to be aiming for excellence, not perfection, we can never attain that, but we can aim for excellence. Excellence is a hard word for us to describe but I found these words today in the dictionary: Excellence is the quality of being outstanding or extremely good. The synonyms for excellence are: distinction, quality, superior, brilliance, greatness, merit, calibre, skill, talent, mastery. We’ve all heard of the tall poppy syndrome – Australians are inclined to ridicule and make small the idea of a job well done, of any standard of excellence, but why would we settle for anything less than the best we can do. Don’t let this these subtle attitudes affect how you approach your daily tasks, be it work at home, or in business.
Garbage in, Garbage Out
This little ditty we know is true. The Bible says – Proverbs 4:23 Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. What we believe will shape our actions – we need to make sure we clarify and believe what is true for only then will we have actions that will honour God.
What words are affecting your Choices?
Are you living by some of these ideas? These sayings, though quirky, though we may chuckle, when put under the microscope there is a twist there that isn’t straight truth. If we live by these sayings then our life is going to be a little wonky. These culturally accepted sayings, may well be feeding your heart false expectations and prompting you to make false choices.
Do you want to be Heart Focused in all you do?
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