I can go about my days assuming my current state is just who I am. Have you ever said, “It’s just my personality?” I would often make that reference when talking about my negative personality traits. It was a way of justifying the negative aspects to myself and others. I would even think, “God created me this way.”
A statement in an email this week got me thinking about this again. Here is the statement, “If I am living this then it is okay with God.” It was in reference to the emotional state of her heart like it was a burden God intended her to carry forever. She had begun to think that God was okay with the emotional rocks in her heart, the rocks that prevent her from loving fully.
Scripture reminds us that God is continually refining us. He is teaching us how to be more like Him. He wants to help us remove the rocks from our hearts and replace them with His love and grace.
God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. (Hebrews 12:7-10 MSG).
My favorite saying which comes from later in this chapter from Hebrews is, God is not an indifferent bystander. He cares deeply about our circumstance and wants to move us through it. So, how do we get rid of the rocks in our hearts? There are three steps I follow to continue to clear out my heart.
First, God gives me an awareness that I have a rock to clear out. I will notice that I have overreacted to a situation and begin to wonder why. I will notice that certain irritations are no longer minor. I will have a sudden awareness that my reaction is not about the current situation. God has a variety of ways of making me aware that he want to do some cleaning in my heart.
Second, I pray about it. I ask God to reveal the root of my anger, irritability or fear. The roots are never what is happening in the present. They are usually a learned reaction from a long time ago. The true root is usually fear or shame.
Third, I repent. I ask God to forgive me for misunderstanding His love, grace and mercy. I ask Him to forgive me for not trusting Him in the situation. This expresses to God my genuine desire to have Him change my heart. I, then, ask him to replace the rock with His love and grace.
Believe it or not, this practice has brought about lasting change in my heart. It has allowed me to grow in compassion and love for others. It has helped me be a better wife and mother. One of the rocks that has been gone for over a decade now is rage. My anger no longer feels out of control, and it takes a lot to make me angry.
God wants to remove the rocks for your heart, as well. Will you let Him, or will you continue to say, “It’s just the way I am?” Share your experience here and breathe life and bring hope to others.