How to let truth trickle from your head to your heart
Jesus loves me, this I know.
I also know that gravity keeps me from floating into space, that our girls need to go to bed by 8:30 p.m., and that the earth revolves around the sun.
I put the truth that Jesus loves me on the same plane as fundamental facts, but shouldn’t every inch of my life be drastically impacted by the fact that Jesus loves me and gave Himself up for me?
I know about God in my head, but the issue is that the knowledge isn’t trickling down to my heart to impact my right-now life.
Many days I feel tossed by the wind of emotions and my circumstances instead of being rooted and established in love. It bugs me that this head-knowledge doesn’t impact my heart-reality. I lead Bible study, serve in Sunday school, and have my quiet time, yet there’s no application in how I talk to my people, how I treat the least of these, and what I do as I see a hurting world.
Why in the world doesn’t the truth that we are loved by God trickle down from our heads to our hearts and into our right-now lives?
I can’t internalize Christ’s love unless I know it, so this is a good first step, but it’s also where I’ve stopped. My relationship with God has been fact-based, rational, formulaic, and sequestered to my brain. And it’s left me feeling empty.
My heart longs for more because my heart longs for Him.
I want to live an integrated life, the kind of life where my mind, soul, heart, emotions, will, and body all live in and breathe out the reality that I am loved by Jesus. To live any other way seems cheap.
I’m beginning to recognize what keeps knowledge from trickling from my head to my heart.
I value rightness over connection.
As an Achiever, one who lives the try-hard life and not the grace-filled kind, I view knowledge as the ultimate. Knowing begets doing, and doing is the best. But knowing often neglects feeling, and I end up living disconnected from my body, emotions, and friends.
I give in to fear.
If I internalized the fact that I was loved by Jesus, I could take off the mask, forgive, and live lightly. Abundant life is unknown to me, therefore scary. Then I chase down that fear with another: What crazy, wild, uncomfortable thing will God ask me to do? I like being in charge and safe, thank you very much.
I prefer sin.
I’m preoccupied with my safety, comfort, and satisfaction, which leads me into valleys of anger, jealousy, and anxiety. As Thomas Merton said in New Seeds of Contemplation, “How can I cherish the desire of God if I am filled with another and opposite desire?”
I believe lies.
We’ve got an enemy who insinuates that we’re unworthy of love, that we earn love by doing, and that Jesus loves us only when we’re obeying all the rules. On top of that, we speak lies to ourselves through our own constant critiques and negative narration. Some of us have had people tell us how awful and undeserving we are. Believing lies is easier than believing truth.
Breaking the knowledge out of our heads takes two players: God and us.
God’s role is to give us His power.
We cannot “grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge” (Ephesians 3:17–19) on our own.
Cassia Glass writes in New Woman, New Clothes, “It takes power to grasp how big and strong and mind-blowing that kind of love is… Because of our sin nature, it’s like a short circuit in our nature keeps us from being able to fully receive and respond to that kind of love… We still need Jesus to re-wire our hearts and then flip the power switch that lets us understand His love.”
Our role is to decide to believe the truth that we are loved by Jesus.
This decision reminds me of a scene from Disney’s Tangled (of course it does!), when Rapunzel decides to disobey Mother Gothel and leave the tower so she can experience the lights. She feels guilt then exuberance; she’s fearful then frolicking.
Leaving behind our Rapunzel-tower of selfishness, sin, fear, and lies will give us emotional whiplash too. It’s scandalous to believe that Jesus loves us even when we yell at our kids, skipped quiet time, and opted out of volunteering. And yet, believing the truth in our hearts leaves us free and joyful because we know that whatever happens, God’s love for us is unwavering.
To get information from our heads to our hearts means that we choose to believe that what Jesus says is real and then live as if it’s true. We miss out on the abundant life and settle for a cheap one when our hearts don’t believe what our heads know is true.
Jesus loves me, this I know.
And I choose to believe it’s true.