What is it that draws our hearts to the beauty of Christmas? Why is it that we are so sad when it’s over? It’s not the overcrowded malls, or the message of Hallmark’s movies to find the “spirit of Christmas”, or even the delicious treats that come with the holiday. There is something so much deeper, so much more beautiful than our hearts realize.
We live in the age of dream-seekers. Of heart-followers. We’re told that in order to be happy in life, we must follow our hearts and chase after our dreams. Then, and only then, will our lives truly have meaning.
“Follow your heart.” It’s Disney’s mantra. Nearly every princess ends up with a dashing prince because she was listening to her heart. She found that fulfillment came from being true to herself.
Wouldn’t it be lovely if it worked out that way? If we listened to our hearts, and ended up with a fairy-tale ending?
But there’s a just one flaw.
Recently I was praying fervently for something. I had dreamed about it for a long time. But it seemed like God was saying no. Again. I was crushed. Then it clicked. I had missed the point that God was trying to show me. He doesn’t withhold Himself. If I walk uprightly in the Spirit, the desires of my heart will be in accordance with Him.
We want to feel satisfied and loved. But so often we look to the world for it. What does it offer us? At the surface, the Instagram Façade seems harmless. hBut underneath it is a boatload of filth.
Running isn’t easy. You can’t run a marathon and expect it to be smooth and easy sailing. There will be blood, sweat, and tears. Likewise, the Christian life isn’t easy. There are many obstacles in life, and we must be conditioned for the task set before us like a runner is conditioned for his task.
I remember the day when I received my purity ring. As a thirteen-year-old girl, I was mesmerized by the glittering of the garnet stone in the sunlight. My parents explained to me what it meant to be pure, and how the ring was a symbol of a commitment.
I don’t think I fully got it. Even though my parents did their best to help me understand the holistic design for purity, my young mind oversimplified the concept of purity and made it solely about the physical aspect. As a brand new teenager who hardly even spoke to boys, I thought that the whole “purity deal” was easy. Of course I would be abstinent! I had been taught that sex before marriage went against God’s Word. I didn’t think that I would need a reminder of my commitment to purity.
I wasted so many hours striving after things that ultimately led to heartache. I spent so much time, effort, and energy on my desires, but thing after thing would fail. I wasn’t able to live a life full of joy. Instead, I was bogged down by seeking things that the I thought would bring happiness. And the truth is, what I wanted would bring me happiness--temporarily.
Ever since I was a young girl, I dreamed of having a prestigious career. There has always been something in me that has desired to have the status of a successful career woman, a woman who has done something with her life. Intelligence and prestige had become so important in my life. Being a wife and mother didn’t really appeal to me all that much. Honestly, it was pride in my heart that told me that being a wife and mother wasn’t good enough. Sure, eventually I wanted to have kids. But in my mind, the end-all goal was to be successful and to make a name for myself.
You know you’ve messed up. How could anyone love you anymore? No matter what you do, there is nothing that can atone for your mistakes. Yet your husband comes and pursues you, like you are priceless. What kind of love is this?
You’re not good enough. You’re ugly. You’re not thin enough. You’re not smart enough. The voices get so loud that I can’t focus on anything else. As I stare into the mirror, the feeling that I’m worthless plagues my mind and suffocates me. My joy is gone. But what if our perspective meant more than our perfection?