What does it really mean when someone says follow your heart?
Does it mean follow your feelings? I think for many of us it does. But, I don’t believe following our feelings is central to making our best decisions. They simply should not dictate every decision we make.
If they do, then you are probably pretty miserable right now. I know this because whenever we strictly follow our feelings we can get in a world of mess.
Sometimes we feel fed up, so we want to quit. Sometimes we feel angry and we lash out. Sometimes, rather than going through the hard stuff, we want things to just be easy so we walk away and give up. Sometimes we get offended and we feel like treating others the exact same way they’ve treated us. Sometimes we feel unhappy so we want to just pick up and move. But the thing is, our feelings can lead us down a rabbit hole. Acting on them may feel good in the moment, but many times that feeling is fleeting and what we are left with is regret. Because our feelings are not the most important thing. They are not the litmus test for how to deal with a situation.
Our best decisions don’t often come from our feelings, but from wisdom. Our feelings are like the waves, tempest tossed. But wisdom is like deep water, unwavering and still. Our feelings can be foolish, but wisdom is prudent.
Wisdom tells us that everything has a season. Wisdom tell us that those who put in the hard work now will reap a harvest later. Wisdom tells us that Spring follows Winter.
Wisdom tells us to think twice before throwing something away. It begs us to reconsider. But it also knows when to let something go. Wisdom waits, but knows when to act.
Wisdom tells us that we can feel one way and act another. Wisdom tells us that love is a choice and that we can choose to walk in it even when we don’t feel like it. Wisdom proves herself over and over.
While feelings confirm and validate our own self-interest, wisdom corrects for our best-interest.
Wisdom focuses on the whole and our feelings often focus on just us. Wisdom is far-sighted and our feelings are often near-sighted.
Wisdom is sometimes recognizing a feeling and not acting accordingly. And other times it’s doing just that.
Who do you most admire? I can most guarantee that person is someone who has made life choices out of wisdom and not merely their feelings. Depth of character is often formed in deep waters not in the shallows. Perhaps they stayed when others would’ve left. Perhaps they left when others would’ve stayed. Perhaps they spoke up when others were quiet. Perhaps they were quiet when others would’ve spoken up. Wisdoms knows which is best. Feelings just know what feels good or not. Wisdom knows what IS good or not.
God has given us all feelings. We are not in short supply of them! We are born with them. But wisdom? We are not born with it. So how do we get it?
4 WAYS WE GET WISDOM
1st We revere and honor God, which leads us to obey his word.
Only when we truly recognize the great divide that separates us from God, do we truly understand our place in the universe versus his. He has the high seat. He sits above all his creation and all nations. Yet, he came for us so that we could be with him. Having a real understanding of the all supremacy and sufficiency of God is the first step to wisdom because from it our whole world view is constructed. In simple terms, He is the potter and we are the clay.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7
2nd We gain wisdom from walking closely with Jesus.
He is wisdom and his spirit dwells in the believer, so you become wise by following him. We don’t do it perfectly and we fail many times, but we learn and grow and get up again. By his grace, we are afforded that opportunity to make imperfect progress.
In him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:3
3rd We ask!
Sometimes we make it a lot harder than God has made it to be, friends! Ask. Just ask! Many times, I have asked God for a measure of understanding on something and he has done so. In the days and weeks to follow, he illuminates my understanding. Maybe it’s something someone says. Or a personal revelation. Or a preacher on the radio. In a number of different ways, God can reveal things to you when you JUST ASK.
Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God – who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly-and it will be given to him. James 1:5
4th We accept correction and heed instruction.
If only our kids would listen to us, right? If only we had listened to our own parents? But, most of the time we think we know it all and it’s only until we’ve acted in foolish ways do we realize any different. Isn’t it funny that one of the ways we usually become wise is from being fools first!
Fools are proud and think they know it all, but a wise person is humble and realizes they have only just begun to scratch the surface of knowing. They realize that God is the only one who knows everything and this makes them in great need of his grace and compassion and therefore they extend that to others, as well. We can not begin to be wise, unless we begin to be corrected. God’s word and his Holy Spirit convict and correct us and if we are wise, or want to be, then we will listen. Many times, God will warn us when we are heading down a wrong path. He’ll throw up some red flags. A wise person recognizes his voice and those red flags and acts accordingly.
Wisdom calls out in the street…she cries out above the commotion…if you respond to my warning, then I will pour out my spirit on you and teach you my words. Proverbs 20-23
Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. Proverbs 19:20