As modernity and secularism have taken over some of our hearts, we have ignored our deepest longings, living only in the extraneous world of performance and productivity. Today’s culture frowns upon the practice of listening to our heart. Instead, we are encouraged to seek beauty, wealth, intelligence, and acceptance. But what if your heart stopped beating and you felt your life ebbing away?
For the people who’ve divorced themselves from the heartbeats of life, they may feel themselves disintegrating before their very eyes. They aren’t aware, until it’s too late. Certain episodes in our life may clearly demonstrate our inability to listen to our heart. When we finally listen—it’s too late—we might be near death. We’ve been living our life story externally. And although people don’t get to see our internal story, it was there. Sometimes we’ve replaced a loving God relationship with a working for God activity when we live only in our external story.
The point is that our true stories are not what people see. They are the journeys of our hearts. Let’s face it, God knows everything about us so it helps if we agree with his assessments. Furthermore, looking at our life as a calling from God gives it cosmic importance.
When the empty nest years of marriage started, my husband and I focused too much on each other and ourselves. We had business arguments over whose idea was the best. And although we had accepted God’s call to follow him, we failed miserably. We had put our business life, our limited social life, and our church life in conflicting spaces. Through trial and error we eventually concluded that we needed to eliminate the competition for our souls and put everything—all of our life—under God.
Imagine that you are filling a vase with decorative stones to keep a single long stem rose in place before putting the water in. After filling the vase you try to shove the rose stem into the stones, but the stem breaks. On the other hand, if you put the rose into the vase, hold it steady, and then carefully put the stones in around it, the rose stands upright. It’s the same way in life.
Once my husband and I put God into the center of our marriage, we could easily fit the rest in. Every morning we sat down and read scripture or a faith based book together. And even though our reading time might last only a few minutes, our morning ritual morphed into a new set of priorities. We began to listen to our hearts, we identified our longing for a deeper faith, and our relationship to each other became less important than our individual relationship with God. Putting our relationship with God first, and our marriage relationship second, we entered into a magical and new marriage relationship. Instead of missing the heartbeats of life, we cherished them, knowing that when one of us left the other behind, it would be okay, because the one left begin had a flourishing love relationship with God.