To treasure is to love or value greatly. If you want to find my treasure, follow my heart. It’s tempting to store up earthly treasure, but Jesus warns that earthly treasures are physical in nature and do not last. He suggests a different treasure that involves a change of heart.
“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”
“Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light.But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!”
“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matthew 6:19-24)
In The Message, Eugene Peterson translates verses 22-23 this way:
“Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have!
I can relate to the terrible image in verse 23 because I pulled the blinds and stayed hidden in the dark for too long. God is opening my eyes wide in wonder and taking the blinds off my heart so I can see the true treasure of His Son’s precious love.
Dark cellars are safe places for hearts and treasures. I learned to hide my heart at a very early age and kept it hidden for most of my life. Jesus knows love only grows in openness, and I’m learning the same.
If you had followed my heart during most of my life, you would find a safe, dark cellar. If you follow it now, you’ll find an open window.
I didn’t realize when I started a new exercise class on Wednesday morning that God would use it to teach a very important lesson. The class, called Release and Restore, is designed to find and release stress in the lymphatic system. It involves using various balls, one with sharp spikes, to work out the tension in muscles and release built up toxins that cause soreness.
The exercises look innocent enough, and the music is meditative; but the pain that comes when the balls meet the stress is excruciating. I had the urge to scream, but my instructor bid me to relax, breathe, and push into the painful area. It’s a lot like the truth when it hits a spot in my heart. I want to cry, scream, and avoid the pain; but I know I can’t.
My muscles will never be sore if I don’t exercise, and my heart will never hurt if I don’t love. Both will atrophy and eventually feel nothing at all. My instructor is a beautiful young woman filled with lots of compassion. She looked at me with sympathy and said, “You didn’t realize you had so much tension, did you?” She was right; I didn’t, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to know at that point.
The exercise class worked the tension out of my muscles and left me sweating and sore. God’s lesson worked the tension out of my heart and left me crying and tender, but both workouts left me breathing easier and understanding my need to heed the hurt in all my muscles. Since the heart is the strongest and most important muscle in my body, I have to pay very close attention to its sore spots. My exercise instructor is giving me the tools and techniques to help me work out the toxins and relieve stress in my body, and God is giving me the same for my heart.
The Holy Spirit is an amazing Instructor, and Christ’s precious love works God’s Word into my heart in a way that allows His grace and love to bring peace that’s even sweeter than the release I felt in my shoulders, hips, back, legs, and neck on Wednesday. God knows I am a visual learner who needs an object lesson, and He had a powerful one this week. I hope I remember to let Him release my pain and restore my heart every single day. If I should forget, I’ll get a powerful reminder every Wednesday morning from my new little blue friend 🙂
Lilly and Mylah made a beautiful little birdhouse for me. My heart just melted when they gave it to me yesterday. There’s no way the girls, Gina, or Tyler could have know the significance of that sweet little house. Lillyann did most of the painting, but little Mylah helped. When I thanked the girls, I made the mistake of saying, “Thank you for the beautiful bird cage” and was immediately corrected!
Lilly said adamantly, “It’s not a cage Gigi!! It’s a house!” I had to smile as I realized my heart was no longer in a cage. Throughout my journey, my heart has gone from one cage to another. No matter how beautiful the cage, it isn’t where a birds or hearts belong. Fear drove me to those cages, but my heart has recently been set free. I feel like that little yellow bird sitting on the roof of her house singing outside of a cage for the first time.
It’s appropriate that the little house should be from the girls because they have helped to free my heart. God never ceases to amaze me, and this little and last Christmas gift was not just the icing on the cake; it was all the lessons in love set into one beautiful reminder that hearts, like birds, are meant to be free and made to sing. God’s ways and timing surprise and delight me, and I pray they always do.
Thank you, Lillyann and Mylah, for the sweet gift. I plan to keep it and you very near my heart so I don’t wind up in any more cages. Thank you, Gina and Tyler, for sharing your home, your love, and your sweet babies with me. You made this my best Christmas ever. Thank you, God, for making all things work together in a way that will always make me smile as I remember the Christmas my heart was set free.
What goes up, must come down when it comes to both gravity and my heart. I was reminded this week that the heart and the hypothalamus gland have much in common. The hypothalamus controls body temperature, hunger, thirst, fatigue, sleep, circadian rhythms and more. There is a delicate balance in the gland that must be maintained. Envision a straight line being the perfect balance for the gland’s function. If I take a stimulant such as caffeine, the line will go up – think of a seismograph. In order to get back to that place of balance, the line must go down in equal proportion to the stimulation. What goes up…must come down before getting back into balance. It forms the basis for addiction and is one of the most important glands in our body.
Love is a lot like that hypothalamus gland. It affects body temperature, hunger, thirst, fatigue, sleep, rhythm, and much more. A high is followed by a low that is equal in proportion to that high. What goes up, must come down. The trick with both the heart and the hypothalamus gland is to find and stay in a place of balance. The Holy Spirit’s peace passes understanding and is that line for me. When I am in God’s presence, His peace fills me as nothing else can. Balance comes to my heart there, and I want to stay forever.
The trouble is life happens, and that causes the ups and downs that are inevitable as I love my way through this incredible journey we call life. When I’m in heaven, I’ll be in that state of sweet peace forever. Until then, I’m learning to ride out the waves on that seismograph and stay as close to the center as I possibly can. I wander off the path when it comes to my heart and my hypothalamus gland, and that gets me out of God’s rhythm. It’s so tempting to grab for a sweet treat and feel the high it provides for a moment, but the corresponding crash brings me down to earth and reminds me to be careful.
The great news is that God created both my heart and my hypothalamus gland to auto-correct unless damaged or broken. A healthy heart and a healthy hypothalamus gland come from taking the time to make good decisions that will keep both on the path that leads to peace. I’m human and like those sugary treats, but as I get older, I’m learning that peace is the ultimate high. It’s not exactly physics, and it sure isn’t rocket science because I know better than to mess with the sweet balance God provides for both my heart and my body when I take His advice 🙂