Do you live life from the outside in, or the inside out? Many messages in our culture support living from the outside in. We are told that the right position, profession, relationship or possession will bring happiness. We try to fix our problems by changing our circumstances. And in the Church, we expect God to fix our circumstances. But that’s not the way it works. I believe that living from the inside out is the only way real change can happen.
How’s your heart?
There is a life-changing principle taught in the Bible that is seldom talked about. Proverbs 4:23 sums it up: “Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.” (HCSB). Another translation (TPT) says it this way: “So above all, guard the affections of your heart, for they affect all that you are. Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being, for from there flows the wellspring of life.” I wonder how many of us are paying attention to the welfare of our innermost being? Our hearts are the source of our lives, and out of that source flow our actions. The condition of our hearts influence every relationship and everything we do.
Your Heart is a Garden
How do we ‘guard’ our hearts? I like to think of my heart as a garden. Every thought I have is like a seed. Some of those seeds are planted by myself and some are planted by others. But it is my responsibility to choose which weeds to pull out, and which seeds to water and fertilize. Whatever thoughts I agree with and rehearse over and over become feelings and habits. Like any seed, it may be underground and have no visible growth for awhile. But over time, whatever is in my heart will grow, eventually affecting my external circumstances and relationships.
Do your “Heart-Work”
Heart-work is hard work! But I am also realizing how empowering it is. There are many circumstances I can’t change. And I know I can’t change another person, not even my kids! Blaming others, or waiting and praying for circumstances to change makes me a victim. Nobody’s perfect, least of all me. But as I mature I realize that living from the inside out is vital to my fulfillment and to the quality of my relationships. It is my hope that as I do my ‘heart-work’, I can become a place of healing and refreshment for others.