The words are painted on canvases. The words are written in pretty calligraphy. The words are tattooed to skin.
“Follow your heart.”
We’ve been taught this concept since before we were even old enough to understand what it truly meant. It’s served as advice in all kinds of situations for all kinds of people.
Deciding between marching band and the basketball team? Follow your heart.
Deciding whether you should go out with a boy/girl that your parents disapprove of? Follow your heart.
Deciding what your major should be? Follow your heart.
Deciding whether the man you’re about to marry is really the one? Follow your heart.
Deciding whether you want to divorce your spouse? Follow your heart.
Deciding whether you’re truly ready to give birth to a baby? Follow your heart.
In every decision, follow your heart and you’ll end up exactly where you’re supposed to be. Right?
The “follow your heart” myth has continuously catalyzed the unending cycle of pleasure and fulfillment-seeking, leading to pain, and back to seeking contentment again. We rely on our broken selves to lead us away from brokenness and wonder how we end up burnt out and empty.
The concept of following your heart is the same as following your feelings and instinctual desires. We have this idea that our instincts are most reliable and that’s why they’re engrained in us. As followers of Christ, we tend to forget about the continuous fight against our flesh that is waged every day.
When we accept Christ as our Savior and receive the Holy Spirit, we gain His extraordinary power to overcome the flesh in our life, but we must consciously choose to follow the Spirit. Too often we try to guide our own lives instead of relying on the Spirit that is inside of us.
The problem in following our heart is that those feelings lead to destruction. Instead of training ourselves to listen to our hearts, we need to train our hearts to truly listen to Jesus. We need to be intentional about denying our instinctual flesh and instead seeking JESUS in His Word. Apart from the Word of God, we are wholly unequipped to make decisions that glorify our Savior–and is that not our entire purpose for living?
We need to take a step back from what’s comfortable in society and start realizing that the cliche, pretty, feel-good advice that we give out left and right is only promoting selfishness and, ultimately, destruction. We need to take a step out of our comfortable bubbles and actually SPEAK LIFE and TRUTH–the truth that we must deny any feeling that is not in line with the Word of God. We are human beings and these feelings are rampant–they’re as frequent as breaths in our lungs. There is absolutely NO SHAME OR CONDEMNATION, but we have to start choosing to consciously deny them and pursue those things that bring glory to Christ.
We need to stop trying to be our own doctor when we are sick. We need to stop relying on our broken selves to bring joy. We need to stop following our hearts and start following the One who wants nothing more than to guide our every path. We need to start advising others to do the same. Only then will we truly experience the fullness and joy that can be spread throughout nations by the power of Christ.