My heart is bent toward worry. I would say my mind, but my worry knows no logic. It’s impressive, really. My mind can remember all the statistics and likelihoods of something happening, but my heart will shout WHO CARES?! and go about its merry way worrying.
You know what helps that? Children. If by “helps” you mean expands and expounds and rewards a black belt in worry. Did you know that dry drowning is a thing? Did you know that if their car seat belt buckle is an inch below their armpit level, your child may not survive a car accident? (I did. Because someone “informed” me on Facebook after seeing a pic of my kid in a car seat. Yay.) Did you know that terrible things can happen at any second of any day anywhere and at any time? I did. Because worry.
My worry-bent heart doesn’t even let my husband utter the word “taxes.” We usually have to pay, and I’m pretty sure I’ll make a mistake on the return and be sent to jail. And then who will be able to clip my four-year-old’s fingernails because there are VERY specific steps you have to follow or she flips out?! (Oh my sweet word, the worry is SPREADING generationally.)
Basically, my heart is able to leap over every reasonable conclusion with a single bound and land at the worst possible conclusion. Every time.
This past year God has basically ripped my chest open and exposed my little bent heart. Does that sound painful? It was. It was humbling and scary and vulnerable. And the best thing that has ever happened to me.
Left to its own devices, my heart had led and would continue to lead me astray. I had looked for security in all the wrong places. I looked for security in our bank account, in my husband’s job, in the doctor’s report, in my own self righteous actions. If I do this or have that, we would be okay.
But none of that solved the problem of my bent heart.
“Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.” Psalms 20:7
What was I trusting in?
When you plant a young, tender tree, you have to bind it to stakes. These unmovable stakes in the ground help the tree grow straight and strong. Left to its own devices, the tree would be susceptible to strong winds. It would bend and yield to surrounding forces. Left to its own devices, my heart would bend and yield to my flesh. It would surrender to worry, and bend and twist, trying to repair itself.
I realized I had to bind my heart to strong, unmovable stakes.
In David’s day, it was tempting to trust in chariots and horses. The more chariots and horses you have, the more likely you were to win the war, right? Not exactly. The Bible is full of battles between Syria and Israel under the rule of King David. Syria had a huge amount of chariots and horses compared to Israel. But David knew that wasn’t the key to the war. God was. And is.
Today, I’m not tempted to trust in chariots or horses. I’m tempted to trust in money. I’m tempted to trust in the approval of others. I’m tempted to trust in doctors reports and job security and insurance policies. But those aren’t firm stakes.
“My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.” Psalms 73:26
So I have learned to bind my heart to His. To tie myself to the Word of God. To trust in His promises. To rely on His unfailing love. His eternal kindness. His thoughts of hope and peace for me. His unchanging, unmovable, undeniable, unmeasurable, unquestionable Authority.
Now, every time I open my bank account app, I see little chariots instead of digits. I tell myself “some trust in chariots, and some in horses.” When the numbers look low, it reminds me that my security isn’t found there. When the numbers look high, it reminds me that my security isn’t found there. When the doctor runs a blood panel on my little one who’s not growing, I remind myself that the report isn’t my heart stake. When the heating unit fails in the winter and the air conditioner fails in the summer, I remind myself that my belongings aren’t my heart stakes. When we receive an unexpected check in the mail, I remind myself that money isn’t my heart stake. When I hear “good job,” I remind myself that others’ opinions of me aren’t my heart stakes.
I’m staking my little bent heart to His. What are you staking your heart to?