The Heart Wants What The Heart Wants…

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“The heart wants what the heart wants.”

I believe Emily Dickinson was the person who coined the phrase. Generally there is a tired-soft-sigh released into the universe when this is spoken. Why do people say this? Well this incantation is intoned when you believe someone made a bad choice that fails the test of reason, rationality and intelligence. Sometimes people have a broken chooser.

Maybe a better way to say it is “The will- will choose whatever the will wants regardless of the advice given.” But that is not as pretty or poetic is it?

The prophet Jeremiah had some thoughts about the heart too:

“The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful,
    a puzzle that no one can figure out.
But I, God, search the heart
    and examine the mind.
I get to the heart of the human.
    I get to the root of things.
I treat them as they really are,
    not as they pretend to be.” 17:9-10

Leaders make decisions every day that confront what the heart wants.

When you make a decision that goes against what the heart of someone wants, you generally are labeled as bad, evil or wrong by the offended heart and the friends of the offended heart who have heard a partial and perspectively limited rendition.

This is when the sigh is exhaled, and the words “the heart wants what the heart wants” mystically fill the air.

Truly, this is a daily reality for those in leadership and it takes more than thick skin to lead through the brokeness of life.

There are three things that every leader needs to employ while navigating the minefield of people’s perceptions and opinions.

1. SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT

I recently was leading through a no win situation. When you find yourself in a no-win situation the worst thing you can do is simply look at your pros and cons list and go with the best potential outcome. If you lead in this fashion, you will always second guess yourself while having all sides mad at you.

Practicing Spiritual Discernment is the best way to lead when all your options leave you with angry people. Listening prayer finds God in extended-focused-silence and intense awareness. Discernment moves you into the heart and mind of God to seek His will and direction rather than your best decision on a matter or issue. God will speak, give an impression, and/or reveal Himself in such a way that you and those with you will experience a unified sense of what to do. When you are in a no-win decision-making process, a unified discernment eliminates second guessing your best decision. Your soul senses a peaceful confirmation of what you need to do no matter how hard it will be. This is a powerful ally when you must have hard conversations. If you are finding consensus elusive, stay with practicing discernment until you reach it…this is both powerful and faith building.

2. GRACE

Grace is the great equalizer of all things. We give grace when it is least expected and least deserved…and this is why grace has always been scandalous. It defies the norm, it goes where no man has gone before. Hard conversations need to be bathed in grace before and after. When your decision causes anger, disillusionment or discouragement, practicing grace is critical to creating the space for healing to happen. Without grace, combat will be the only outcome. Grace does not guarantee receptivity though…it simply ensures that you stay on the high road when you are taking some blows.

Jesus spoke into the lives of many who didn’t want to hear the truth He was delivering. When He said, “he who has ears to hear let him hear…” Although He knew that many hearts were not ready or receptive to what He was saying, His response was never tit-for-tat, generally, He asked some questions that caused people to think deeper about their situation.

I have found that grace-filled conversations have kept the relationship alive even while tensions were still alive and well.

3. RELEASE

You can’t control people…
You can’t control what they think…
You can’t control the circumstances of life…

The only thing you can control is you, and even that is hard! When leading through no win situations you must practice spiritual discernment bathed in grace. After you have received what you sense is God’s direction…say what you need to say and release the person and situation to God.

The problem is…

We want to justify our decisions when people are angry or disagree.
We desperately want people to like us, but that isn’t always possible.
We want to rehash and re-explain until they understand what we were trying to say…but that is often impossible.

So, breathe deeply, trust ferociously and release…
Believe and trust the confirmation you sensed from God…
Pray God’s healing presence into the situation and the people involved…
Stay rooted in God and in love…

Most importantly, stay available because God is always at work and things are never as they seem.

He just might give you an oportunity to experience the miracle of restoration and reconciliation as you continue to discern and release through the power of His grace.

 

Launching and Landing

There are  many factors that affect the way we engage in and experience our daily life. Conscious and unconscious forces are at work and we are responding to their taunts, whether good or bad, throughout the day.

Conversations that you had before you left the house, or  the motorist who cut you off on the freeway causing you to spill you 1/2 caff caramel machiato are a couple of examples of events that shape our attitude, and as Zig Ziglar said, “Your attitude, not your aptitude, determines your altitude.”

Have you ever wondered why sometimes your mood just tanks and you don’t know why? Or, sometimes you feel great for no apparent reason? There are invisible forces at work that are shaping those feelings. Once you understand that you have the ability to affect those forces, the journey of life takes on a radically different, more positive, form.

Here are three simple things that you can do today to begin changing your sense of joy, peace and happiness throughout the day.

1. First Thoughts

The attitude and shape of your day begins before your feet even hit the ground. It begins before your first perceived thought. Your first perceived thought is intimately linked to your first semiconscious thought. It is here, the moment of your first thoughts, that you have the ability to shape how you will feel and engage the day.

Do you remember what your first thought was today? This week, keep a journal or spiral notebook by your bed. As soon as you begin to become aware of the place the exists between dreams and awake, write down what those rapid fire thoughts were in your notebook.

As you begin to see what thoughts you are thinking as you begin the day, you can choose to change and replace them with better, more positive and more powerful ones. This is also a great time to have a good morning conversation with God where you can speak a creative word with Him about your day. Developing this powerful habit will change your attitude and outlook. Instead of saying, “Good Lord, it’s morning…” we change it to “Good morning Lord.”

Invite God into the journey of your day asking Him to empower you to think, act and speak differently.

2. Last Thoughts

The last thoughts you think before you go to sleep are also attitudinal and life shaping thoughts. Many of us go to sleep battling the anxieties, stresses and worries of the day.  If you go to sleep with those destructive thoughts, they will invade your subconscious dream life which sets you up for a miserable “First Thought” the next day. It truly can be a vicious cycle.

An end of day review is a powerful way to look over the events of the day. Note the good moments, the moments when God was most present in your actions. If there were some interactions that were hard or painful, this is the time to release them to God, placing them in His care and ability to heal.

The end of day review can also help you see what you need to do differently tomorrow, and with God’s help, you will begin moving in that direction even as you  enter the world of dreams with a healthier plan for the next day.

Intentionally reviewing your day… setting your expectations for tomorrow….Releasing all your thoughts to God will prepare your mind for restful sleep and positive thought resetting while you sleep.

3. God Thoughts

Perhaps what is most important is that a relationship with God is the ultimate need of every human being in order to experience true peace, true joy, and a soaring attitude. We try so many things to find joy and happiness. You are aware that there is circumstantial happiness and joy…when we buy something we have wanted…when someone gives us an “atta boy”…or even when we find that extra 20.00 in our pats pocket. However, the downside to circumstantial happiness and joy is that it is tethered to an object or thing that is limited and short lived…in otherwords, the happiness and joy always fades.

There is, however, an intrinsic sense of happiness, joy and attitude that comes from a divine source, not  a circumstantial happening. I think that C.S. Lewis said it best:

“God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”

In order to experience true, lasting, intrinsic joy…you must be tethered to God, who is by very nature, joy and goodness. To tether to anything else will affect our first thoughts and our last thoughts.

This week, note your first thoughts and change them into God-saturated positive thoughts.

This week review your day, celebrate the good moments and determine with God’s help to do better tomorrow. Then, release the anxious thoughts to God.

This week, tether your hope to God and nothing else, for God longs to give you happiness and peace, but in order for Him to give those to you, He must give you Himself as the source of all things good.

Monty