Attached at the Heart

1 Corinthians 7:29-31 invites me to look at my attachments and see how they affect my focus. Paul isn’t just talking about relationships in his letter to Corinth; he’s talking about accomplishments, regrets, possessions, or anything to which I may be too attached. There’s nothing wrong with a happy marriage, an engaging job, a time of grief, or nice things as long as my heart isn’t attached so tightly that my focus is misdirected.

But let me say this, dear brothers and sisters: The time that remains is very short. So from now on, those with wives should not focus only on their marriage. Those who weep or who rejoice or who buy things should not be absorbed by their weeping or their joy or their possessions. Those who use the things of the world should not become attached to them. For this world as we know it will soon pass away.(NLT)

Unhealthy attachments cause my heart to fuse, and fusion leads to confusion. God isn’t controlling, or I would be a mindless drone in His field or a heartless statue at His feet. God has the power to make me do exactly what He wants, but He will not use His power to make me love or obey Him. He knows obedience is worthless without free will, and love will never be forced or coerced.

Self differentiation is necessary for love to grow as God desires. Fusion appears to forge a powerful bond, but it only confines and defines in negative ways. Self differentiation frees my heart and leads to healthy connections. God is the ultimate example of self differentiation. He is the great “I Am.” He is who He is, and He wants me to be who He created me to be. That requires putting my focus upon His love and getting away from unhealthy attachments.

I love being a daughter, sister, mother, mother-in-law, Gigi, teacher, friend, etc., but if I cannot have an unhealthy attachment to any role. I am me, and if I fail to be the true me, no relationship, title, or possession will fill the void left in my heart. I believe it’s what Paul is trying to tell the Corinthians.  This world is not permanent, and nothing in it will last. Rather than making me sad, I should find great joy in knowing that the essence of my truest self isn’t about the things in this world. I am created for eternity, and I am free to live and love in a way that reflects that beautiful truth.

Heart in the Sand

Still Ready

To be ready to do God’s will, my heart must be still. The human heart is never physically still, and the healthy heart will beat anywhere from 40 to 100 beats per minute depending upon age, size, condition and activity levels.  It is the strongest and most important muscle in my body. The stillness God requires isn’t about motion or muscle; it’s about focus and love.

Worry is the biggest obstacle when it comes to my heart being still. The Greek word translated as ‘worry’ in Matthew 6:25-33 means “split attention or divided concern.” That makes perfect sense when I think about my own tendency to worry. If I think about God and truly believe He is who He says He is, then my attention is no longer split. If I pray “Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done” with my whole heart, my concern is no longer divided. When I read the beautifully reassuring words from Matthew, my worry turns to stillness as faith replaces fear.

 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”NASB

What other words do I need? I am learning to read God’s Word with a stillness that centers my focus and so centers my heart and life. The stillness lasts as long as my focus:) I’m doing better in many ways, but I have a long way to go before I stay still. Perhaps that will only come when I am in heaven. When I experience the sweet stillness that comes when my focus is completely upon God, I get a tiny taste of what is to come. It’s more than enough to make me want more!

The world is great at grabbing my attention and taking it away from the sweet center Christ provides, and my concern is easily divided when I fall into the trap of listening to voices other than God’s. Knowing I can do nothing without Him and everything with Him reminds me to keep my focus upon Him and seek His kingdom and righteousness first, last, and always with a single-heartedness that will help me be still and know He is God. It also helps me to eagerly await His return in a way that helps His kingdom come and His will be done. That’s what walking in God’s kingdom is all about:)