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What Your Thought Life Reveals About Your Heart

Shadow Of A Doubt

It was another lazy afternoon, and while most people snuggle down with a good book, I just like to snuggle down and think.  Call me weird, but thinking is how I de-stress.  It is how I process life.  Everything gets a thorough think-through and then filed away where it belongs.  This particular afternoon, I started thinking, and I started thinking about my wedding.

An hour later, I was still thinking about my wedding- not the wedding night, the wedding.  No sex, nothing impure, just daydreaming about my dress, the decor, and the food.  After I snapped myself out of my little fairy tale I started to think about how I had even gotten to that place (told you, I think alot).  It wasn’t necessarily a bad place, a waste of time maybe, but no sin in imagining what my wedding might be like.  Still, I realized that my thought life was giving me key insight into me.

My thought life was revealing the desires of my heart.

Sometimes, we don’t get lost in a world of sexual lust, we just get lost in a world of desire.  Desire is not wrong.  I can desire chocolate cake.  I can desire justice.  I can desire mercy.  I can desire love.  I can desire sex.  The act of desiring is not wrong.  What we need to be mindful of is what we desire, how, and why we desire it (and perhaps how often we get lost in our desire for it).

Is it OK to imagine something?  My answer is yes.  Our imagination is part of God-given creativity.  Again, the question to ask is what, how and why we are desiring it.  Sometimes we desire a particular thing (for instance, sex) or we desire to get away from something else (anything but homework).  Unpacking the motivation behind our desires can be complicated, but I think it is an important window into our healing.

What Do I Desire?

There really aren’t many bad things for us to desire.  Sex isn’t even a bad thing for us to desire.  There is nothing wrong with having sexual desires, and nothing wrong with being a woman who has sexual desires.  So, aside from illegal activities, or obvious “bad things” – like doing drugs, having sex with a married man, desiring to hurt someone, or kill something, there really aren’t many things that are bad to desire in and of themselves.  The trouble comes when we dwell on those desires, act on some of those desires, or in our motivation of those desires.

How Deeply Do I Desire It?

If I can spend an hour daydreaming about my wedding, I might need to rethink my heart priorities. It is not wrong for me to desire marriage.  Marriage is a good and honorable thing.  If, however, it is a consuming thought in my life, then it drifts into idol territory.

Sex can be an idol.  Marriage can be an idol.  Fame can be an idol.  Success can be an idol.  Power can be an idol.  Love can be an idol.  Money can be an idol.  People can be idols.  

Are any of those things bad in and of themselves?  No.  What makes them dangerous and idolatrous is how deeply I desire them.  

If I repeatedly come back to the same theme over and over again in my thought life, that would be a good indication of an idol.  Here’s a good question to ask yourself in that moment when you are thinking of your heart’s desire.

If God never gave you {________} would you still love Him?

If the answer is yes, then do you truly trust Him with it?  That brings us to why.

Why Do You Desire It?

In most cases our desires can be good and God-given.  It is good to desire marriage.  It is good to desire justice.  There is nothing wrong with desiring chocolate cake.  This question is all about motives.  What draws you into that desire?

What happens in your life that causes you to retreat to your thought life.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with thinking, planning, or even daydreaming, but do you a notice a pattern in what makes you go there?

I find so often, in my life, my moments of wandering mind come from being discontent.  It comes from a lack of trust in His will and in His timing.  I believe He is good, sovereign, and just, but I question His judgement when it comes to certain things.  That’s not a good place to be, and that is a heart issue that needs to be remedied.

I have found that I can say “Yes, I would still love God even if He never gave me {____}” but when it comes to trusting Him with that choice, the answer is no.

Be willing to be honest with yourself in those moments.  Is this thing you desire good?  Is your desire under His control?  Do you trust Him?  The answers will give you great insight into your heart and how much you have grown in your journey of freedom.

Photo:  
Sebastiano Pitruzzello (aka gorillaradio) / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

One comment

  1. When I was about 22, there was a certain guy I liked, and I felt like God was nudging me away from him and saying no. This was the third guy in the last 3 years that I’d felt he said no to. I had a bit of a meltdown during one of my prayer times where I furiously scribbled in my prayer journal, “You always tell me no and you never say why and I never get what I want!”

    After my initial emotional outburst, I realized that it was revealing a *whole* lot about where my heart was than I knew before. I determined I was going to spend the next several months trying to live my life as if I knew that God was never going to give me a husband, and I was going to find contentment with that.

    I’m not sure I ever quite made it all the way to that stage, although I grew a lot. Eventually I *did* meet someone, and we’re getting married next month. As I go into that, I occasionally remember that outburst and remind myself that I need to be fully aware that my future husband is not God. God is God. And God should be loved more than anyone else, both in times when my life is full of people I love and times when my life is much emptier.