For those of you who live in the Brentwood and Franklin areas of Nashville, did you hear all the commotion last night??? Gunshots, helicopters, artillery fire, flashes of light from IEDs, what sounded like a brigade of foot soldiers… it was crazy! Something straight out of an Oliver Stone epic, I tell you! It was nearly deafening! Surely you heard it and were wondering what in the world it was! I’ll tell you what it was… it was the war in my heart.
When I decided to start blogging again, I purposed in my heart that I wanted to be very honest. Since much of what I’m writing is very much what I am experiencing present-tense, it helps me weed out a lot of potential pretense and just share what is happening in my life and heart right now. So, when I write about things like being in “the middle”, it’s because that is very much where I am. The “middle” is rarely pretty or glamorous, but it is often the tension of “the middle” where the battles are fought, ground is taken and enemies conquered.
In his book Waking The Dead, John Eldredge said:
You won’t understand your life, you won’t see clearly what has happened to you or how to live forward from here, unless you see it as battle. A war against your heart.
As I’m walking out this “middle” season of my life right now, it is very much a constant heart battle between two realities… one that brings faith versus one that brings fear. What I am learning is that both faith and fear produce worship. Where my heart focuses, that will it also esteem. Faith is a focus on the unseen, on God, which produces a heart posture of worship directed toward the object of my focus. In that same way, fear is also focus and a form of worship as well.
I am not someone who is prone to much anxiety. Quite the contrary, actually. By nature I’m a very passionate, but also very easy-going, guy. As I was laying in bed last night trying to sleep, I was overwhelmed by an unrelenting barrage of “what ifs” and imagined outcomes. I was restless, breathless a few times and consumed with an over-all sense of helplessness, not knowing what “the middle” may hold for me. Through prayer and some time in my Bible, I regained my focus on God and found great comfort in 2 Corinthians 4 and Hebrews, as I reminded myself who God was and that He is in absolute control of what I’m walking through.
As I was recounting this experience to a friend this morning, I said something that gave me great perspective on what was happening. “I know what this is,” I said. “It’s the process to wean my heart off dependence on everything and everyone but God.”
Wow. There’s a visual for you.
I remember once hearing a preacher talk about the Hebrew roots of one of the names we use for God, El Shaddai. “El” points to the power of God Himself, while “Shaddai” is derived from another word meaning “breast”, which implies that “Shaddai” is “the breasted one” who nourishes, supplies and satisfies. It signifies ultimate sufficiency.
By definition, to “wean” is to:
accustom (someone) to managing without something on which they have become dependent or of which they have become excessively fond
When trouble or struggle comes, our my tendency is to latch onto what may be comfortable or familiar. These are usually things or people where we I have previously found a degree of solace, but which are ultimately insufficient to the anchoring of our my heart. These things may pacify, but do not satisfy. I know for myself, when life happens and throws a curve ball, my heart can tend to latch on to anything but Jesus. Meanwhile God, El Shaddai, the breasted one, stands by patiently desiring to wean my heart off what I can see in exchange for what I can’t see, the ultimate sufficiency that is found only in a heart that trusts and depends exclusively in Him.
So… what is your heart latched on to today?
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