Monday, August 13, 2012

Accepting the Feelings of the Heart

“The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge,
for the ears of the wise seek it out.”
—Proverbs 18:15 (NIV)
For the many sensual desires, those that tempt and trap, there is one desire that unlocks the door to blessed sanctification—growth in the things of the heart, and understanding in the things of the heart.
What we seek to grow is the capacity to reach into the heart; into our hearts initially, and then into others’ hearts.
The heart, we learn from Proverbs 4:23, is the wellspring of life—from where all our life force comes from. We may be able to change what we think about, and how we think, but we cannot help how we feel about things. Feelings are much more organic than thoughts are. And our feelings influence our thoughts so very much. So we are wise to work in the heart-space; to attempt to understand it.
Getting acquainted with the heart, then, is a great advantage in life. It is a licence to discernment, and the key to wisdom. To know and understand what people feel, empathically, and even why they feel what they feel, stands us in good stead to love like God.
Falling in Love with the Heart
It isn’t a hard thing to fall in love with the heart, even though it may be more of a challenge for the thinker than the feeler. The truth is hearts are true, unlike minds. Minds are often twisted by unknown and unkempt motives of the heart, but the deeper heart, the vestiges we hardly access, is true to the core of us.
Deep inside every individual lays an essence that only God knows.
This essence is true to the person; true to their experience, psychology and biology.
In this way the heart reflects absolutely who this person is, from where they have come from. Within this essence is God’s vision of purity, and it’s only interrupted by the brokenness of sin.
So the heart is split—the person’s essence is interrupted, diluted, and muddied by two facts: there is brokenness in their DNA, and there is brokenness that has brought them through the passage of life, damaging their heart.
How each person feels is as a result of who they have become. Again, the process of feeling is tremendously organic; we feel what we feel and struggle not to. And when we don’t give credence to what we feel, we betray ourselves. If we cannot give credence to what we feel we cannot give credence to what others feel. The trouble is we betray our feelings, and therefore our hearts, with monotonous regularity. This is a learned trait from our brokenness.
It is time to begin the process of undoing the guilt and shame implicit in our disconnectedness with our feelings.
Our challenge is to reconnect with our feelings; with our heart; to be a friend accepting our feelings, and not a judge disparaging ourselves for what we feel. God is with us in this; we are free of condemnation.
Learning to fall in love with our hearts is accepting our feelings and not judging them. This gives us more peace regarding what we feel and why we feel the way we do; we are less fearful and much more capable as a result. Then freedom approaches.
When we are home within our own hearts we are more home within others’ hearts too.
Accepting our feelings without judging them is peace. When we have such peace, because we have reached into our hearts, we are able to reach into others’ hearts. Our keenness for judgment dissipates when we reach into the heart. Love becomes us.
To truly understand we must reach the heart.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

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