A Message for the Heart...
February 17, 2021
Wants, Needs, and Denials
Pastor Timothy Hogan-Palazzo
Dear Church Family,
Have you ever heard the phrase: "the heart wants what the heart wants?" Yet, so often, we are programmed by society, maybe family, friends, even our way of thinking to not talk about or avoid talking in "heart" language. However, when we speak from the heart, feelings of the heart and the language we use around it may seem vulnerable and can make us seem weak or powerless. Yet, that is how we are truly created. Now, before you brush this off as just a mushy message, stay with me a moment if you will.
When I share that my complete soul believes we are created in God's image, I mean it. I mean that we have a picture of love and connection of the thumbprint of God, which is upon all our hearts. As a society for many years, decades, and even centuries, we have put a distance between ourselves and God. God is otherworldly, ethereal, apart from, when God, I believe, is anything but those things. God is a part of our very being. God is as close as the breath we breathe in and out; God is in us.
This message is not just an, "oh, ain't that nice" message. For me, and I believe for us all, it is a message of conviction.
For years many have told us we are not to show our feelings, don't let people know our heart, and be strong and look out for number one. Yet, the most damaged and hurting people I see and know are the ones struggling between being assertive and not allowing their hearts to speak.
The time during the pandemic has emphasized this for many. I see so many people right now just wanting to connect, just wanting to be a part of, just wanting to be able to share in their stories, their joys, their concerns, their hopes, their dreams, and yet we must be strong and get through this, and together we will.
How many have realized God's got us and this? How many have loved so much they have allowed themselves peace during this time? No, not saying, "Well, it's really nothing," or, "We've been through this before," or asking, "What will happen to us?" I'm talking about respect and love, deep care and concern for one another—respecting opinions, keeping one another safe, doing all we can for one another, and trusting in God.
All of life, this work is work of the heart, it is trusting in God, and God is in our heart. The same heart we try so hard not to expose to others.
I know from many experiences, if we do not act on what is in our heart or we try to repress it, deny it, whatever it is, will come out "sideways," so to speak. We do and say and act in ways contrary to who God created us to be, what God placed on our hearts because that's what the world around us expects of us. But what does the God within your heart want for you? David, after struggling throughout his life, wrestling with God, begins to realize God's closeness and writes in Psalm 139,
"O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away. You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it. Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there, your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast. If I say, "Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night," even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you."
David, after being so out of sync with the God of his heart, his Creator, after ruling over wars and his own desires, after destroying so much and so many began to realize who God was.
I'm writing this piece today because I see so many hurting and longing to be together, "If we can just be together, all will be well." And it will be fantastic, and I am praying that time is much sooner now rather than later; however, I don't want us to be so concentrated on getting together that we miss this Lenten journey. Lent, this time is a time to examine our hearts, a time to connect in intimate ways with God and God's love for us. I pray we take time and listen to God speaking from within us. That we pay attention to our hearts and let the denials melt away and our relationship with our Creator, the One who is closer than the breath we breathe, be in control. That we begin to let God fill our want and desire for closeness to one another, and that our relationship with our Creator becomes first and foremost the focus of our heart. So, with that may we fully interact with one another in ways of love, grace, and respect.
That's not much to ask for on a Lenten journey, is it? I say tongue in cheek; however, I also know this deep in my soul, none of us are alone on this journey. We have one another, and we have a great connection. We have a relationship of our hearts.
Listen to your heart and let us journey together to the close relationships God created us for.