Habits of a Healthy Heart

A few wise words from Pastor Steven Furtick’s 3 Habits of a Healthy Heart:

Real lasting change has to happen in your heart. It can’t just be in your behavior, you really just have to change your beliefs.

Your habits create the condition of your heart.

Healthy habit #1: Know what to hate

Healthy habit #2: Know where to hide

Healthy habit #3:  Know how to hope

Healthy habit #1: Know what to hate

Sometimes before you can make a change, you have to be motivated by…I know it’s a strong word. It’s not very pastoral. You have to hate it!

So as I continue to embark on my journey of recovery and self-discovery, I’ve decided to have a good think about what it is I hate in order to ensure I keep from doing just that…so now, for a little brainstorm:

I hate procrastination.

I hate to lie.

I hate to cause pain.

I hate apathy.

I hate to sell myself short.

I hate giving up.

I hate injustice.

I hate mistreatment.

I hate selfishness.

I hate broken promises.

So that came out rather smoothly. Looks like I know what it is to build on.

Healthy habit #2: Know where to hide

The expectation of no attack is a setup for disappointment, but the psalmist said, “I set myself up for success because I designated in advance where I would hide when the attack came.”

Where do you hide when it gets hard? You’d better set it up in advance. I’m running to the places where there’s real protection, not the illusion of protection because some of us hide in places that seem safe…Elijah went and hid in a cave because it seemed safe. It was far away from Jezebel, and she was threatening his very life. This is an Old Testament story that’s worth reading if you haven’t read it because the whisper of God came into the cave as Elijah ran from his calling. Are you running from the conflict or are you running into the conflict? Because the place of conflict is the place of calling, but you have to be comfortable hiding in the midst of hardships to know that God is your refuge, your strong tower in the battle, not from it. And Elijah ran south as far as he could go. He went into a cave and spent the night, and the voice of the Lord went in the cave and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah? Why are you hiding here? Why would you choose to hide in the place that would keep you confined when your calling is out there? Did I not protect you on Mount Carmel? Did I not send down fire from heaven? You can hide in plain sight when you trust in the goodness of God. I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living, but I won’t experience life in dead places so I got to know where to hide.

Blame was her hiding place. What’s yours? Elijah had a cave. She had blame. I wonder, do you hide behind low expectations? This one is really common because if you don’t expect much, you can’t be disappointed. And so you learn how to hide behind this fake smile. You don’t really have a whole heart. You have a fake smile to cover up your half-hearted interior life. And we hide ourselves from even those closest to us. And we hide ourselves, because if I hide behind an image I present, I don’t have to deal with who I am. And the call of God is coming forth like the voice of the Lord went into the cave. The voice of the Lord is coming into your heart today, saying, “Come out. Come out of hiding. Come out of fear. Come out of low expectations. Come out of hypocrisy. Come out from this fake spirituality. Come out, come out wherever you are. You know when you hide in the shadow of the Most High, you can abide under the shadow of the Almighty! I have a shelter! I don’t have to hide behind anything but God!

So I get that with this habit, we’re supposed to embrace the conflict that we’re in instead of running away or avoiding it and to trust in God as we do so…though I’m not exactly sure what that entails. If I’m attacked again, do I recite scripture? Pray? Simply trust in God? If God is my shelter but how do I hide behind him? With…hope? With faith? That’s what I grasped from it. Then comes knowing where it is I currently hide when the going gets tough so that I can know not to retreat there. Where do I hide…I hide behind fear. I think that’s my main hiding place. I hide behind low expectations. I hide behind a lack of belief in myself and so I don’t push myself out of my comfort zone. A sucky realization I now note, but hey it’s a realization nonetheless! It can kinda sting to be so honest with oneself, but if anything it helps me to become more self-aware and as a result, contributes to a boost in my confidence.

Healthy habit #3: Know how to hope

The psalmist doesn’t say in this particular instance, “I have hope”. He says, “I hope.”…It’s not just something I have; it’s something I do. It’s an active hope…It is a way of living…What does hope do? Hope puts its hand to work! Hope, not just in my heart. Have you put your hand to what you’re hoping for?”

Hope. It’s not just something I have; it’s something I do is how Furtick has summed this up…so what do I currently hope for? Well, I think it goes without saying that I hope to recover from my mental illness and prevent a relapse. That’s the first priority.

So how do I put up a hand to work for this? As I have been doing I suspect, with therapy, medication, books on my condition that help me better understand and learn strategies to manage it, through socializing, going to church, and to keep pushing on with the day despite the adversities I face. This is a difficult one, for sure. Because it’s something that needs to be activated, and not left to stagnate.

Well, this talk has given me some food for thought that I’m grateful to be able to mull over. So I guess it’s a good thing to ask and check in with yourself. If you’re set on change, what is it that you hate? If you feel attacked, where is it you hide? Is it where you truly find refuge? And your hope…do you act on it?

Source: 3 Habits of a Healthy Heart | Pastor Steven Furtick

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