Tears were streaming down her face as she let out her frustration in the form of screeches. She took every pillow and fiercely threw each one with all her might onto the floor. She forcefully yanked the comforter and sheets off of the bed.
We were in the middle of a huge melt down.
Doing what sisters do best, I calmly entered the now massacred and disastrous room with a big smile on my face in an attempt to calmly talk about the choices that were being made.
I sweetly said, “Friend, it looks to me like our heart isn’t in the right place. What do you think? Maybe we need to take a look at it.”
And with a red face full of frustration and tear streaks she looked right into my eyes and said, “My heart is in the right place. It is right here,” as she annoyingly pointed to her chest.
And with that, I walked out of the room and shut the door behind me.
In time, after pouting in the bathtub, she decided to come out and join the family. She sat in her seat at the dinner table and began eating like nothing had happened. She was back to her spirited and joy-filled self.
Although the situation was over, the words exchanged between her and me stuck.
Here I was asking her to look at where her heart was. Truly, I was asking what the condition of her heart was. What Fruits of the Spirit it was reflecting. If it resembled her Heavenly Father’s heart.
And out of complete annoyance she took my question and answered it without thought. She gave me the easy and obvious answer. Clearly ignoring my actual intentions. Knowing her actual answer to my question would be far from acceptable.
Let’s be real, who wants to answer that question honestly: Is your heart in the right place?
Two weeks ago I walked across the stage and received my college diploma. In a blur full of hugs, smiling for pictures, and packing my college career ended.
As I was sitting in the Tennessee sun waiting for the graduation speeches to end, I was struck at how ugly my heart had been so many times in the last three years. In that moment it became so obvious to me how wonderful Lee University had been and how richly blessed I was all throughout my college career. And then I thought about the words I spoke, the thoughts I thought, and the attitudes I had throughout the experience and was taken aback.
In so many moments of frustration, homesickness, and anxiety my heart turned cold and dark. Full of negative thoughts, I would complain about everything. I complained about the Lee bubble, which in essence was the safety net that allowed me to safely grow. I would complain about the classes, which in essence were the avenue through which I would receive my teaching license. I would complain about being away from home, which in turn was the reason for my extreme amount of growth.
More times than I want to admit, I chose to look at my life through the eyes of me without Jesus. And looking back, me without Jesus, His saving grace, and His everlasting love, is not a pretty sight.
The negative thoughts only polluted my soul more, and in time I reeked of selfishness and ungratefulness.
And in many moments when my Father would whisper to me, “Daughter, is your heart in the right place?” my answer was far from acceptable.
With pride standing in my way knowing my honest answer was far from acceptable I would roll my eyes and think, “Of course it is. I mean I can’t be perfect.”
And just like that I would turn down the opportunity to fall on my knees and let it all go. Let all the heightened emotions go to instead be flooded with His grace, peace, and joy.
All too often I let myself get away with this. I allow my heart to fester in the ways of the world while the Fruits of the Spirit and the ways of my Father evaporate into thin air.
Knowing I am not perfect, knowing I am forgiven, and knowing my Father loves me tends to be my excuse for not ridding of my rotten attitude. When I don’t feel like doing the right thing, I excuse myself from His expectations knowing He still loves me.
And as we all can assume, this leads to nothing good.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23
You see, the condition of our heart determines just about everything. It determines how we interact with others. How our day goes. What we get accomplished. How our words are spoken. How we prioritize things.
From the moment our eyes open until the time they close, our focus should be on our hearts. Nurturing them. Cleansing them. Growing them. Filling them with goodness and love. Making them become ones that resemble our Father’s. This is the key to life.
In order to further His Kingdom, we must be people that resemble the God we are representing. We are His hands and feet. He chose us to be a part of His mission. And it all starts with our heart.
So let me ask you: Is your heart in the right place?
Right now you might say “yes” and in an hour you might say “no”. As imperfect humans in an imperfect world we are prone and guaranteed to fail. But in those moments where the negativity, anger, pride, and jealousy come rushing in, listen to His soft whisper that says, “Child, is your heart in the right place?”
And without missing the opportunity, fall to your knees and let it all go. Admit to your sinful heart and let your Father fill you with mercy, peace, and love. It is with this act of surrendering, you can be a part of His mission. You can truthfully and gracefully represent the God we serve and the Father we so greatly love.
About the Author
Hi! My name is Morgan Colander. I am a senior at Lee University in Tennessee studying to be an elementary teacher. I am attempting to survive these college years as I learn to rely more on God and less on myself while being surrounded by new opportunities and decisions. College has presented itself with its difficulties- college budget, college dorms, college food, an endless list of things to do, and plenty of homesickness- but through it all, I have never been more dependent on God and realized how incapable I am to do life without Him. God, family, and friends are all I need to survive in life but some junior mints, a hike up a mountain, laughter, and some sarcasm definitely add some joy to the journey.