I have a selfish heart.
Life -especially in marriage and mothering, I suspect – is a training ground, an opportunity for such learning and growth. That stuff isn’t comfortable, however. It’s painful with a kind of joyful satisfaction when you can step back and say ‘I can see how all things were working together for my good’ even though ‘all things’ weren’t very comfortable or pleasant. I can’t zoom out all the way yet and see the big picture of how God is using and shaping my life for good- maybe even at the end of my life I won’t be able to see it, but hopefully someone else will, and it will be able to encourage and help them in their own story.
As for this tiny little snippet here, these every days I’m walking through in this chapter- I chose ‘heart’ as a word, or a focus for this year. Yet last year’s lessons haven’t gone away, nearly filed and stored as ‘nice to know’ – rather they are blending and merging through all these things I am learning and growing in.
Today I was flicking to today’s #30daysofbiblelettering verse (a challenge that I’ve been doing on Instagram) and found some notes and paintings from January when I read the end of 1 Timothy and the start of 2 Timothy. The thing I love most, I think, about painting/ writing, engaging visually with my bible, is that I have these constant reminders. Coming back to these pages and words just three months later, I am being convicted by them afresh and challenged about how I am living them out.
Another word or focus that has come from the idea of heart has been ‘give’. I knew really early in the year that my selfish heart needed a refocus in lots of things, and just to remember that word ‘give’ would prompt me to look beyond myself and to others in everything. When we focus on what we can give to others joy is reflected back to us, but more importantly we are growing, going beyond ourselves and natural concern for self and seeking a better way. I need reminding of this so much it’s almost embarrassing! Of course I am other focused in looking after my home, children, loving my husband- but it’s the heart of how I do those things that can often betray me. Outwardly I might be doing what needs to be done but I need to have a joyful heart, a motivation to love and serve, not a desire to tick it off the list so I can get that bit closer to doing something I want to do.
2 Timothy refutes the world’s riches and wealth, encouraging the Ephesians to go after God, knowing that he ‘richly provides us with everything to enjoy’. The world can offer possessions, money, maybe social standing and career paths, but will any of that really satisfy or last? Chasing after it, will we ever really get what we long for? Giving richly to others brings lasting treasure for us, and of course we all love it when others are generous and loving towards us- so why not do that for someone else? Get there first, be one step ahead, be different and not chasing what everyone else in the world does. And if you don’t know what to give? You have time, gifts, skills, love to share. Even if you’re poor in the world’s eyes you have so much richness in your own heart- even just your presence or being available to someone may not seem much but can make a difference.
I’m musing on all these things lately and looking for ways that I can be generous and giving- not to make myself feel good or to say ‘hey look at me!’ but because it’s a better way. I’m not sharing these words here so I look good ( I’m having to do a lot of heart checking with things I share these days!) and I am not wanting to make you feel bad or discouraged either- but I want to encourage you to think about your heart in your different roles and moments of your life, see where you can give.