Finding My Heart
I think today’s post will be longer than 5 minutes. It’s important to me so I don’t want to shortchange it.
Have you ever lost your way? In life, that is? Some people are so sure of what they want, they set goals, make plans and never stray from the course, but I think many of you are like me and we stray from the path from time to time.
I became a Christian when I was about 12 years old. I remember going to hear an evangelist speak. He was holding special meetings in our city. I felt that strong urge during the altar call that this was what I needed to do. I wanted this Jesus in my heart. This Jesus that died for me. That loved me so much, He endured a cruel and painful death to save me so I would never face the punishment for my sins. He took my punishment on Himself. After the meetings were over and the evangelist had long since left for another destination, I continued to read my Bible, pray, go to church, Sunday school, and Bible studies, trying to learn more about the Christian life. I strayed for a time during high school as I tried to fit in and found myself doing things that I was ashamed of later. But when I was 17, I rededicated my life to Jesus and continued to try to follow Him.
All through my adult life I stayed on that path. Not always getting it right but always trying. Until a few years ago when once again I strayed off the path. The thing about straying is that it comes upon us so gradually, so minutely, that we don’t recognize it at first. I had gotten lax in my Bible reading and praying. I had lost several Christian friends to moves and hadn’t replaced them. So I was weak and my guard was down. Coupled with marital problems, I found myself searching for something I wasn’t finding here.
So I was in a vulnerable place. Which made it even easier for Satan to grab my hand and give a little tug. And that’s how it starts. With just a little tug. “Look over here!”, he calls. “It’s not so bad, just this one time”, he says. “You deserve this,” he justifies. Once my gaze turned from my Savior and I was tempted it became easier and easier to step off that path. The first time was just a half a step and then quickly back on the path. The second was a full step and then before I knew it I was following a different path. One that was well trodden and had been used by many people since the beginning of time. A Wide Path.
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” Matthew 7:13.
The Wide Path was well maintained. No overgrown branches to fight, no tall weeds to struggle through, it was easy to walk on. Unlike the path that I had been on. The path, the narrow path was well-lit, but there were obstacles and some of them seemed much too hard to try to move. I tried crawling over but they were too high, I tried going around, but they were much too wide. There was only one way to get through and that was to ask The Gardener for help. But in the time it took to look off the path and see the wider easier path with nothing barring the way, I got distracted and off I went. I forgot to call out to The Gardener. This wider path was much darker though and somehow that was reassuring. With it being so dark, surely no one would ever know that I had been here. My steps were hidden, weren’t they? Not like on the Narrow Path where you could see who was on it and who wasn’t. Sometimes on the Narrow Path, even though there were others on it, they weren’t very friendly. The Gardener had told us when we started down the Narrow Path that we were to love one another and treat each other like we would treat Him. But not everyone does that. Some are too busy loving their families. Some are too busy with their friends. And some just don’t seem to be very loving at all. On this Dark Path though, everyone was very friendly. The more the merrier. They loved company! Which made it even more enticing.
So I followed that Wide Dark Path for a while. I got involved in things that were dangerous. Things that hurt me and others. And it wasn’t until someone who loves me very much caught a glimpse of me on that path and called to me, that I was able to get off it. By that time, it was like quick sand. Not the easy path it had been in the beginning. I’d try to take a step off to get back to the Narrow Path and the mire and muck would pull me back down. There were times when I tried really hard and called to The Gardener that I was able to take 5 steps off that path, but before I could rinse the dirt off my feet, I’d get pulled back to the Wide Dark Path. Until the day I got off the Wide Dark Path with the help of some friends and found my way back to the Gardener and the Narrow Path. He had been waiting for me and rinsed me off. He washed all the dirty disgusting muck from me and my life. He washed my heart inside out and put me back on the Narrow Path. He fortified me with His strength, His love, His freeing grace, and reminded me how I can continue down this Path until I reach His mansion.
As long as I spend time with Him each day, I’m able to find my way around the obstacles that arise on this Path. I talk to Him and He gives me the instructions I need for that day.
I sometimes still hear the siren call of Satan from the other path, but I’m keeping my eyes firmly fixed on the Path in front of me. I have found my heart again. Jesus had it all along.