I’ve had my fair share of broken hearts and, if I’m honest, probably been the cause of one or two along the way. But the only GOOD broken heart I’ve ever experienced came from the most unexpected source – GOD.
I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed.
Ezekiel 36:26, MSG
(art and photo credit: Tammy Miller, 2016)
Without a broken heart (or maybe a better way to put it would be a “softened heart”) it’s impossible to let God’s word penetrate the calloused layers that often protect it.
How do those callouses get there in the first place, what happens? We weren’t born with them. It’s just that life happens.
“The soul is covered by a thousand veils.” Inayat Khan
In other words, layer upon layer, our true purpose get covered up by the circumstances and situations and experiences of life. Disappointments hit, layers get added. Slighted by someone we trust, more layers. Fearful moments, hard fought – but lost – arguments, hurtful comments, scary circumstances. Layer. Layer. Layer. And we eventually begin to wonder if we’ve honestly been put here for a reason.
The obvious question we begin to ask is something like, “If God put me here for a purpose, why didn’t He clue me in on it?” The answer is, He did. Scripture tells us that He ordained it even before we were conceived and that He places that purpose deep in our hearts from the moment of our conception.
We come into this world knowing our purpose, even if it’s at an infantile or immature level.
Think about your kiddos and the first time you start asking them what they want to be in life. Have you ever stopped to think they know what they are here for, but may not be able to articulate it fully? If you ask kids what they want to be and why, they are pretty darn insightful. So, I thought it’d be interesting to take a little survey with some of the children I know. I used the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, and followed up with, “Why do you want to do that?”.
I LOVE the answers I got…
Five year old: “I want to be a doctor so I can make people better on the insides.” (Translation – I am here to heal people.)
Six year old: “I want to be president because I know important things that people should hear.” (Translation – I am here to lead people in the way they should go.)
Eight year old – “I want to be a teacher because I am smart and other kids like me so they would listen to me.” (Translation – I am here to share wisdom and show others how God wants us to live.)
Nine year old: “I want to be a model because I’m pretty.” (Translation – I am here to share the beauty of God’s creation! Ahem… 😉 ).
Twelve year old: “I want to be an actor because I’m funny and make people laugh.” (Translation – I am here to boost the spirits and heart of people when they are down.)
Fifteen year old: “I want to be a therapist because I’ve experienced that life can be really hard and I know how to get through it.” (Translation – I am here to use my experiences to show people the way out of the dark and into Light.)
Twenty-One Year old (this one is priceless!): “Anything I want to be.” (Translation – I’m a cocky college senior.) 😉
I realize I might be taking a bit of poetic license here, but I bet I’m not too far off the translation.
But now listen to these:
Thirty year old: “I have no idea. Ask me when my youngest turns 10!” (Translation – I’ve lost touch with what I’m supposed to be doing and I’m too turned around to see it right now – no worries, I figure out later.)
Forty year old: “I need to get back to that, but I’m too busy volunteering.” (Translation – I’m sure it’s important but I can’t take the time right now to figure it out because helping people is taking up too much of my time.)
Fifty year old: “I’m a little freaked out about that right now! What in the world AM I here for?” (Translation – I need a purpose, I’m sure I had a purpose, but has it passed me by?)
Elizabeth Lesser, who is sort of a new age thinker with a Christian bent says that “True , honest, spiritual work is about uncovering your soul and peeling back all those veils. And, prayer”, she says, “is a tremendous veil buster.”
I agree with that 100%. The only way we are going to remove all those layers of veils keeping us from returning to a place where we can begin to remember God’s call on our life is to talk directly to Him.
Prayer. The first step in this process of remembering why on Earth we are here is to return to the Source – to GOD – and ask Him to remind us. To help us break the layers that keep it hidden and enlighten us once again.
I recently heard a story about an old rabbi who ended every sermon with this affirmation, “…now let the words of God rest upon your heart.” One day, a member of the congregation asked him, “Rabbi, why don’t you ask us to take those words INTO our hearts. Wouldn’t that be more beneficial? Better for our hearts to absorb the words than to merely have them sit on top of it.” The rabbi replied, “Only those who have allowed their hearts to be broken can let His words IN. Most of us refuse to let that happen because we fear it might hurt. But for those who dare to try, their hearts are reborn and soften enough to grace them with the humility to become what they were always meant to be.”
“Your heart will continue to break until it finally opens.” Rumi
This journey we are taking together right now is a chance for us to throw off any veils that have been tossed on top of our souls. It’s an opportunity to let our life-hardened hearts break just enough to let a little light shine through. It’s a time of possibility in meeting God in sincere prayer to glimpse even a sliver of what He has planned for us here, this side of heaven.
This whole thing about “figuring out our purpose” is just another way of saying “figuring out how to return to God”.
So let me leave you with one more – “What do you want to be when you grow up and why?” example. I asked a dear, 80-something year old woman those questions, and just listen what she said:
“I’m here to bring glory to God by sharing the love of Christ with everyone I meet, and to enjoy every moment He gives.”
Yeah. I want what she’s got. Amen?
I’m excited to do this with you. To unveil our souls, to soften our hearts, to hear God speak over us and to us! So if you are following along with our study, read Days 8-14 in our main book, A Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren. Complete Week 2 in your Inspiration Book. (Our scripture for the week is that one waaaaaay up there at the top of this post from Ezekiel 36:26!). Our Inspiration Quote for the week comes from Charles Spurgeon:
” A Bible that is falling apart probably belongs to someone who isn’t.” Charles Spurgeon
And, finally, check out this awesome song by Natalie Grant, “Be One”!
Peace, love, and JOY!
Up Next Week: “Delightful!” – and why it’s one of my favorite words (thanks, Mom! 😉 )