“The posture of your heart.”
This phrase has been consistently on my mind the last few days. It might be an interesting phrase if you’re not used to it. I heard it all the time in my spiritual formation classes and in chapel and from my mentors in college. So much so that I never stopped to actually think about it…
Right now, I love what it implies.
Here’s the definition of posture:
- the position in which someone holds their body
- a particular way of dealing with someone; approach or attitude
“Posture of the heart”…this implies that the position of my heart, the attitude and approach of my heart toward something, someone, the Lord, anything really, can be adjusted and changed.
I decide my posture.
Only I can commit to improving my posture. To sit up straight, to walk with my shoulders back, to keep my chin up. You can give me a brace, you can even try to force me to wear it, but it’s ultimately my choice. I choose to slouch my way through life, or to stand tall. I get to choose if I’m going to go through life with bitterness and anger and an I-deserve-more-that-this attitude in my heart, or if I’m actually going to position my heart in love.
I think the posture of a heart is actually kind of a scary thing—only you and the Lord know it.
I can be THE BEST servant, friend, worker, pastor, missionary, doctor, social worker, etc., but if my heart is postured incorrectly, all of that really makes no difference…
The intentions of my heart actually matter. The way my heart is positioned in whatever I am doing actually matters. Paul says it in 1 Corinthians:
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.”
Sometimes I focus so much on what I’m doing outwardly: how much I’m serving, how much I’m giving, how much I’m caring for others, how much I’m showing up, how much I’m doing whatever, that I forget that the posture of my heart is where I should focus my attention.
Our heart space—that’s where the hard work is happening. In that unruly, full-of-weeds garden of my heart, the Lord is constantly at work.
I have been made increasingly aware of the ‘weeds’ lately. The ugliness inside my heart. The way anger has been ignored, now a tangled mess with the flowers. Bitterness, little weeds with deep roots that sprouted long before they were noticed. The wild things that grow rampant, easily mistaken for flowers—my desires. The things I want. The things I want the Lord to give me now. The slow, yet consistently growing lies that remind me that I’m going at this alone, one day I’m going to loose all the community that I love.
I can recognize the weeds.
I’ve been in the garden enough to know what should be there and what shouldn’t. The Gardener is there with me always, able to offer me all the assistance I could possibly need.
But the thing is, I want to be The Gardener sometimes. I want to decided what seeds to plant and what to prune and which weeds to avoid and ignore.
I’m the Self-Righteous Gardener that looks around and says, “Well, at least some of the flowers are blooming. Something is growing here unlike that one over there…”
I’m the Lazy Gardener that says, “What’s the hurry, what’s the need to get any of this done? The flowers will wither soon anyway. The next season just means more work.”
I’m the Anxious Gardener who says, “I need everything to grow right now what if something goes wrong why hasn’t that sprouted yet what am I going to plant next how do I get this to go my way?”
I’m the Existential Gardener who thinks, “What is the point of all this anyway? Can’t I just let nature take it’s course?”
I’m the Bitter Gardener that complains, “Why is this so hard all of the time? Why do I always have to work so hard? Why do these weeds keep coming back? I don’t deserve this”.
I still think I can be The Better Gardener, but The Gardener already knows.
He kneels next to me as I angrily tear at the weeds, missing the roots. As I hopelessly water flowers, as I get distracted by the other gardens brimming around me.
Gently, He works beside me. Slowly. Methodically. Pointing out the places I need to focus my attention. Reminding me of seasons and cycles, and that my “hard” work is useless without Him and without the right posture—attitude; positioning of my heart.