Decide with your heart. That's common advice many hear when they are trying to make a difficult or big life decision. What do you want?; what does your heart say?; or lead with your heart; are all variations of this belief that suggest, deciding with your heart will lead to your desired outcome. The problem with this advice is that our heart can be wrong. Filled with wrong filters, biases, root issues, and sometimes even wicked agendas, our heart doesn't always know best. On the contrary, our heart can very easily lead us astray.
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it" (Jeremiah 17:9)
Deciding anything based on our feelings will often lead us in the wrong direction. So today I want to present you with a new variation of the age-old "decide with your heart" advice, today,
I want to give you a new perspective on making heart-choices.
A heart-choice, is making the decision to lead your heart rather than letting your heart or feelings
lead you. This is an intentional choice to be present with yourself and God and to live proactively rather than reactive to the feelings of yourself or others.
A heart-choice, is an intentional belief to align your feelings with God and His will. This is a daily prayer and walk with God. Ask the Lord daily "Lord, align me with your heart and will. Help me to see as you see. I submit my thoughts, feelings, desires, and plans to You."
A heart-choice is not the same as deciding based on your feelings. God didn't create us to live by feelings, He created feelings to help us understand the state of our soul. Sometimes those feelings will lead you to a deep revelation. Sometimes those feelings will lead you practice the fruit of self-control, patience, or denying yourself.
A heart-choice, means taking negative, chaotic, rebellious, or confusing feelings as indicators or a flashing yellow light, to pause, seek the Lord, and to proceed with His guidance.
A heart-choice, means choosing to believe and live by God's Word as the final authority in our lives.
A heart-choice, means letting the Lord deal with your heart issues, lies, or wrong beliefs before you make a big decision. Doing this, will give you the confidence and peace to move forward with certainty no matter what you decide. This type of certainty and peace will guard you from any doubts or disbelief of the enemy.
Ultimately, a heart-choice, is choosing to be obedient to God and submitting your desires and feelings to Him. When we put our trust in our feelings, we allow those feelings to become our God and our guidepost instead of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. This is not to say that our feelings should be ignored, but rather they should be brought into submission to God's will. We should examine our feelings, understand the source, and then submit them to God in prayer. By doing so, we invite God's wisdom and guidance into our decision-making process. James 1:5 says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him." When we seek God's wisdom, He will provide it, and we can have confidence and peace in the decisions we make.
Now that we've identified the difference between feelings-based decisions and heart-choices, let's talk about the how. The next time you are faced with a decision, small or large, or you have a volcano of emotion erupting inside, try these simple steps to process through making a heart-choice:
Recognize and reflect: recognize what you are feeling. Identify and name those feelings. Are you sad, angry, bitter, happy, joyful, excited? Recognize what you are feeling and ask the Lord where these feelings are coming from.
Expect God to speak: Once you ask God for insight and wisdom, expect to hear from Him! Sit in a quiet place with a Bible, journal, and pen, eagerly expecting to hear from the Lord.
Sort it out: You may have big and scary feelings, now is time to sort those out. Or as I like to say "wrestle through it". This is a time when you are talking out (or writing out) all of your feelings. Tell the Lord what you're feeling, why you're upset, what you were hoping for, and why you want ___ over ____. Sort through all of those feelings. The purpose here is not to make a decision, the purpose is to sort through your feelings so that you can have clarity in what God is calling you to do.
Test it. Once you sort through your feelings, you should have clarity and know what decision needs to be made. But it's always good to test it with the Lord, the Word, and sometimes another person of wisdom. You can test your decision by making sure it aligns with God's heart and His word. Is it wise? Is it loving? Is it righteous and obedient? God gives us all of the wisdom we need through the Bible, the Holy Spirit, and wise counsel. If your decision is not checking out in one of these areas, you may need to go 'sort it out' again.
Finally, making heart-choices, isn't about making perfect choices, it's about making righteous choices. Trust in God's sovereignty. We will likely make a bad decision from time to time, God accounts for this and He will redirect us as needed. Seeking Him above all else is the heart-choice and the heart posture (or #heartstance) that He is after.
"Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Psalm 139:23-24
"But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere" James 3:17