Deuteronomy 6:5 – And you shall love the Lord your God with all your mind and heart and with your entire being and with all your might.
Joshua 1:5-9 – As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. Be strong and very courageous…do not turn from [the Law], to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
It’s been a few weeks since I’ve written – lots of busyness, plenty of work, doing stuff around the house, spending time with family, meeting up and visiting with friends, and more. While it’s all great, I have not really taken time to process thoughts. So here I am taking time to process a wee bit (please read in an Irish accent). I’ve been refining this post for about a week now and I don’t think I’ve come to a conclusion. Instead, I see it as a running conversation, so I want to hear your thoughts.
Two weekends ago, I visited friends on my old campus, Indiana Wesleyan – surprises, lots of laughs, unexpected events, a great Over the Rhine concert, and time spent with good friends was exactly what the doctor ordered.
I had lunch with a good friend my last day there and we talked about following your heart vs. following your head. Since then, I’ve been mulling the topic over in my head and it’s been a focus of my prayers and conversations. My friend and I both recognized that we deal with things pretty logically – something either makes sense or it doesn’t. Most things I do are thought through and are fairly practical.
Following your head usually protects you from many hurts or pains. You don’t let yourself get carried away with your emotions and you have a nice, protective wall in front of you. I’ve saved myself from a lot of confusion and hurt these past 22-almost-23 years. However, through our conversation, I realized my need for allowing room to follow my heart a bit more. There is a time and place for following your head, but sometimes it’s best to allow your heart to lead, as scary as it may seem.
We are made in Christ’s image and our God is a passionate God. We’ve inherited those passions from Him and it’s good to allow ourselves to follow those passions/emotions/feelings of our heart. If you only follow your head, yes, you will be safe and will probably skip a lot of pain, but you will miss out on a lot of life. By following your heart, you are allowing God to take the reigns and take you on an adventure. Sure, this means allowing yourself to be vulnerable and possibly be hurt, but you’re also allowing yourself to experience more adventure, be surprised. God asks us to follow Him in faith and faith is not really a matter of head as much as it is a matter of heart. So often we substitute our hearts for our heads when we follow Christ.
Head and heart. God calls us to use both – there are numerous verses in the Bible talking about loving God with all your heart AND mind (see Deuteronomy, Joshua, I and II Kings, Matthew, just to name a few). Both are good and I think they compliment each other, but it requires a balance of the two. If you use too much head, you miss out on adventures and experiences. If you use too much heart, you set yourself up for a world of hurt and sometimes you can end up floundering about.
As I have examined how I operate, I have found that I do have both head and heart in me, but I rely too heavily on my head. My heart is unsafe, unsure, and risky, so I default to using my head. Deep down, I know I am very much so a heart person and I would love to use it more, but I do not allow myself to use it because it doesn’t seem safe. And the more I have discussed, prayed, and thought about this subject, the more I have realized that in my case, by avoiding using my heart, I have shown a lack of faith. I rely on my head to get me through a situation or to know what to do. So often I want to know what’s coming, I like to be prepared. I rely on my head so much that I forget to rely on God. When I use my head, I’m the one in control. But lately God has been placing me in situations where He has had to teach me how to use my heart and follow His leading in faith. When I use my heart, I have to let God take the reigns and guide my steps – I’m along for the adventure. Pretty exciting, yeah?
But I’m wondering what your thoughts are on this whole subject. Are you a head or heart person? How are we supposed find the balance of head AND heart?
It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves – in finding themselves. ~André Gide