“Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” Colossians 3:23 This, I think, is the key to happiness and peace. To be doing the right things, for the right reasons, for the right person, and whole-heartedly. In order to do things whole-heartedly, we need to have a heart that is healed/whole. We need to go to God for healing and tend to/nourish our hearts as well.
What nurtures your heart? What makes you feel whole, complete, and strong? The answer is probably a little different from person to person, but for me, some things that feed my heart and soul are prayer and meditation, doing inspired creative work such as writing, dancing, playing, singing, or listening to beautiful music, reading inspiring books, being outdoors and appreciating God’s creations, giving compassionate service (from my heart, not out of obligation), good, positive conversation with close friends, being playful and physically affectionate with my kids, and taking time for quiet solitude each day.
Strengthen your heart and give it wholly to life. This is the goal I am focused on. I feel like it’s the remedy for the stress and ‘torn’ feelings when I’m halfheartedly trying to just get through all my responsibilities and feeling scattered and pulled in a million directions. There are times I feel I’m running from one thing to the next and never really living or being present at any place. Even if I get a lot done, my family feels the lack of my true presence, and I feel like a shadow of who I really am. It’s a stressful way to live. Sometimes I’m afraid that if I put all my heart and focus into where I am now, I won’t ever get to all the other things I’m ‘supposed’ to be doing. But I am ineffective at best and hurtful at worst when my mind and heart aren’t in the life I’m living. I may be physically there, but I am missing it by trying to be everywhere else.
What does it mean to be whole-hearted? Is there part of your heart that isn’t whole? Part of you you’re holding back, hiding, or ignoring? Part that is broken and hurting? Most of us have something that needs mending in us every day. That’s one reason we need time with God every day so much. We bring our souls and give our will as an offering, being willing to show him everything (and let him show us things we may not want to see) and in return, he heals the broken parts and gives us strength to accomplish our missions.
Part of offering our whole souls and our wills as an offering means being in possession of them in the first place and knowing our own will. We can’t give to God or others what we never really owned. I went for many years trying to do what I thought others expected of me, what was right, but not knowing what my will was. While I did good things, I wasn’t giving from my heart because I hadn’t given my heart any choice. Taking time to discover what my heart really wanted helped me to realize how much I really did want and choose to do most of those good things and why. That helped me to do them more powerfully. It also helped me to discover where I needed help to change my heart, in cases where I struggled to desire what God wanted for me. I asked him for help to change and heal those struggles so I could give my whole heart to those areas, too. And lastly, I found out that some of the things I thought were essential for me to do, that I had done out of a feeling of obligation and not love, were actually not for me to do. The most important things became more clear when I knew myself and listened to my heart, and took all my thoughts and desires to God rather than ignoring the ones I thought I should condemn. We can’t hide anything from Him anyway, but we often hide things from ourselves because we are afraid. Seeing ourselves clearly is crucial to becoming clear and purposeful.
Empowering Action: Think about the things that nurture and feed your heart and soul. Write them down and make time for them. Go to God each day and strive for honesty and transparency with Him. Let him heal the hurts rather than hiding them and ignoring them. As you care for your heart, you will be able to give more of it to life and your family and do what you do ‘heartily’ and with Joy!