Renew a Right Heart in Me

When it’s seemed hard to find God, it’s usually been because I’ve been looking with the wrong heart. I want him to come to me in my fear, anger, and pain—not to change my thoughts, but to validate and fix everything around them.

He will speak there. He’s rescued me out of those places more times than I can count. But he has to approach me more as an insecure, bitter orphan rather than as his completely loved son. I’m so focused on what could go wrong, rather than on who he wants to be for me in the situation, even when I do let him get me through my circumstances, I feel weak and apprehensive, instead of becoming stronger and more confident.

When I choose to live in my negativity, I distance myself from him, and lose my sensitivity to his voice. I start listening to others, even more wounded, bitter, and dark than mine. I know I should be repulsed, but they make my judgements of everyone I blame for what’s wrong my life feel justified. I never feel joy, but at least I feel a degree of hateful self-empowerment, and everything that’s hurt, confused, or longing in me, I’m able to shut down for a while.

But it doesn’t last. Strength based in fear and bitterness never lasts, and leaves me utterly empty. I can either dig deeper into the darkness for other temporary sources of power, or I can let go of everything that’s keeping me in this place, and ask God to take me from it.

“Jesus, I’m numb. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed by everything, it’s just easier to keep life at arm’s length and stuff my feelings down. But I’m so tired of that. I give you everything in my heart and mind—the good, the bad, and the really ugly.

I don’t want you to have to shout over any other voices in my head. Heal me and make me whole. Help me to be so at peace in you that nothing can tempt me away from hearing your quietest whisper. Replace my broken thoughts with who you want to be for me right now, and with who I am in you. Show me how to see my circumstances as you do, and to deal with my life from your joy and wisdom.

I want to feel again. I receive your love for me, not on my terms, but in every way you know I need it. Let me experience it in ways that will transform how I see myself and others, and empower me to bless them as you’ve blessed me. Amen.”

“You reached down into my darkness to rescue me, taking me out of my disaster and despair. Even though I was helpless at the attacks of my hateful, strong enemy, you never left me. Your love broke me out of my horrible constraints, into a wide-open, beautiful place. You rescued me—because you delight in me” (Psalm 18:16-19, paraphrased).

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