While zooming in can be a great asset for photography, it’s not so great for our everyday lives. For example, what happens when we zoom in on our flaws or weaknesses? Or when we zoom in on someone else’s life? When that happens, it can strip us of focusing on what’s really important, the bigger picture. Therefore, it’s important for us to remember to zoom out. Zooming out allows us to see the bigger picture that we can’t see zoomed in on the details. When our primary focus is on the upsets and setbacks of our lives, it can be not only disturbing but discouraging.
When I was younger I would look in the mirror and see only “imperfections”. My gap, lack of curves, my “nappy” natural hair. I began to weigh my worth based on my physical features, and unfortunately, that wasn’t the only worldly thing that I tied my worth to. I also found value in what others had to say about me. I was “too sweet, too sensitive, annoying, too loud, too quite, not adventurous enough”. Not only did that lead me to a vast amount of insecurities, but it also drove me to constantly change myself to match whatever beauty trend was popular at the time; it lead me to try and accommodate everyone’s opinion of who and how I should be. I looked for my worth in just about anything but God.
Guarding Our Hearts
Why is it that we choose to hold off on healing? Often times we are prone to put our heart’s health on the back burner, because we don’t feel like our personal healing or inner health is as important as the other things that God has laid out in front of us, but the Bible instructs us to:
“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”
Proverbs 4:23 ESV
What does God mean by this? He means that we should guard our hearts, because the nature of our hearts establish our thoughts, which then determines our actions, and over time our thoughts and actions mold our character... so from our hearts flow life.
In order to maintain a healthy heart, we need to guard it, heal whatever has been broken within us, and break free of anything that’s keeping us bound. The truth is that if we continue to put our heart’s health on the back burner, then regardless of how much we desire to walk along God’s purposed path for us, we will become stagnant, distracted, or mislead.
Maintaining a healthy inner life/ heart consists of us guarding our hearts by obtaining wisdom through truth, and God’s word is that truth. We have to guard our hearts from things like temptation, distractions, untrue thoughts, and doubts; we also need to fill ourselves up with scriptural knowledge in order to be able to discern what God is personally convicting us to guard our hearts from. There are numerous all-embracing things that God calls each of us to guard our hearts from, but there are also personal convictions that are specifically molded for each of us, and the more time we spend engulfed in God’s truth, the more clarity we gain about what we need to eliminate from our lives. Spending time in God’s word also reveals which internal areas we need to gain healing in, so that we can achieve and maintain a healthy heart. The more time we spend immersed in God’s word, as well as speaking to the Lord, the healthier our hearts become.
Some areas in our lives that we need to heal from may have to do with things like forgiveness, insecurities, anxiety, or depression. There are so many lies that fuel the feelings that can lead and keep our hearts in a broken state, but God’s word debunks every single lie that drives these untrue thoughts within our hearts. For example, for those of us who feel like we’ve sinned too much and strayed too far to be loved and forgiven by the Lord, God’s word states that “He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.”(Micah 7:19 ESV)
This means that God loves us despite the fact that we are sinners, and that when we lay whatever we’ve done at His feet and ask for His forgiveness, we will receive it. We also need to remember that Jesus died for our sins; He was sacrificed so that we could live. When we ask God for His forgiveness He extends His grace, mercy, and love. He forgives us, and casts our sins to the side. This means that not only is God a good good father, but the thought that we are too far gone to be forgiven or to walk with the Lord, the thought that is driving some of us into a depressive state, is simply untrue. God’s truth, will eliminate every lie that fuels our brokenness; the truth will literally set us free.
As previously stated, personal convictions are personal, which means they are uniquely tailored to each of us. Some personal convictions that we’ve been lead to by our own discernment may drive us to guard our hearts from watching certain shows, listening to certain music, drinking, social media, or even going to certain places. Personal convictions are incredibly essential to pay attention to so that we guard our hearts from all that God calls us to guard our hearts from; being obedient to our personal convictions keeps our hearts healthy.
Tips to Get and Keep Our Hearts Healthy
Read your bible. Make sure that you are getting familiar with God’s word, so that you can grow in wisdom through truth.
Pray. Spend time talking to God; Submit all things to Him, and give thanks to Him.
Remember that God’s conviction isn’t His condemnation.
Get involved in a Christian community. That will help to hold you accountable, carry your burdens, pray with you, and remind you of the truth.
Be mindful of what’s influencing you. Make sure that those things align with God’s word.
Set boundaries that will help you to stay obedient to the Lord.
If need be, seek counseling. Sometimes we need specialized help in order to heal and to grow.
Truths to Remember
“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 ESV)
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” (Isaiah 43:2 ESV)
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalms 147:3)
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:13)
Alicja Oshiokpekhai is a 24 year old graduate from Texas Woman’s University. She was born in Germany to a German mother and a Nigerian father, and moved to the United States in 2001. She is an inspirational blogger, and serves on the team as our LYBM Voices coordinator! In her free time she enjoys writing, reading, learning, and growing with her community.
One of the beautiful things about creativity is the process. The artist’s hands become multicolored with paint colors amidst the completion of the finished work they envision within. The potter’s hands are plastered with clay as he forms a vessel. The writer sits at their computer screen and types, deletes, backspaces and starts over again until the words on screen communicate effectively...