My life used to be very MESSY. Everything felt disheveled. At one point, my internal world seemed to be crashing and burning, and everything around me was illustrating this downward spiral. Even my house. It had reached disaster status. I was consistently over-cluttered and overwhelmed. My previous Type-A Medal of Organization had been quickly yanked out from under me.
How did I get here? What had happened?
From the clutter in my house and garage, to the chaos of my arguing children, to my overcommitted schedule—I just couldn’t seem to pull it together. Life had taken a turn for the worse. The “you know what” had finally hit the fan. I couldn’t cope. I’d had enough.
Sound like a familiar scene?
On the one hand, this could just sound like any family of six. Just by virtue of definition, four children seems to indicate a lot of physical stuff, activities, and time restraints. But for me, it was more than that. My soul was in need of urgent intervention.
When a person’s internal heart cry is muted for too long, it will eventually erupt like a volcano. Mine just erupted into mess. Mess everywhere.
A messy mind. A messy heart. A messy house.
It’s like everything had conspired to unravel and become disorganized all at once.
Mess is often what happens when a person’s heart has been unattended. It’s a natural progression that what is inside eventually makes its way to the outside. Eating is a physical illustration of this spiritual principle. What we take in eventually makes its way out.
Joy. Pain. A bad burger.
What goes in, right?
It can go both ways, really. My prior Type-A perfectionism could have been just as much of an indication of spiritual heart trouble as my later messiness. They are two sides of the same coin: pain, confusion, unresolved issues, etc. The heart can only take so much.
A heart that is hurting can pick overachievement, drivenness, and busyness or it can choose laziness and resignation. It can choose obsessively to clean everything in sight or it can feel paralyzed into doing nothing. I’ve experienced both. You’ve probably met people in both categories as well.
For me, the messiness that hit my life was just the other side of the unresolved-issues inside. It was the warning light in my heart indicating a problem. Warning. Warning. Pay attention to me. Your levels are low.
Unresolved issues in a person’s life can manifest in SO many ways.
The obsessive cleaner also feels messy internally, but she just compensates by cleaning the external in the unconscious hopes that it will somehow solve the internal—or at least stem its painful tide. It’s nothing new that someone who feels out of control in one area of their life seeks to control another. The cleaning paralytic, on the other hand, can be so overwhelmed by life that they resort to resignation and defeatedness—thinking nothing will make a difference, so why even try?
As for me, my heart had been crying out for a long time. But I was so numbed and deadened to my emotions that I couldn’t hear its cry. Logic and reason had seized the steering wheel years ago in my life and they weren’t willing to pass over the navigational control to my heart.
“We have handled your life just fine for the last 30+ years. Why change drivers now?”
Don’t underestimate the battle between mind and heart during the healing journey. Mine have duked it out quite a bit in the last few years as I have walked the road from anxiety, depression and PTSD towards wholeness. But to get to true healing, we have to access our hearts. It’s a non-negotiable part of the healing process. Anyone’s healing process. Big issues. Little issues. Doesn’t matter.
Your heart matters.
If I could go back in time and tell myself one piece of advice when I was starting out on the healing journey, it would simply be this: “Pay attention to your heart. Your heart will be your best ally in this pilgrimage. This IS the path to life and healing.”
I wish knowledge alone healed. It would be so much simpler that way. I’ve gotten a TON of head knowledge these last few years. I’ve read books. I’ve talked to counselors and other healing professionals. I’m a journalist who loves to learn, so I try to suck every learning experience dry. Knowledge has actually connected a lot of dots in my life experience. But it’s not enough. Knowledge though extremely helpful is just not sufficient.
Knowledge + brain does not = healing.
Truth + the inner man/the heart = healing.
There is no other way. Knowledge alone does NOT heal.
Logic and reasoning often appear to be the path to healing, but they are really just the starting point of the journey. We realize there is a problem. Most of us start onto the healing journey with our minds—but at some point we need to make that transition to our hearts. Because the pain resides in our hearts. We can actually know a lot of information—even truth, with our heads, but that does not mean it has trickled down to our hearts.
John Sandford, author and spiritual pioneer in inner healing, used to discuss the reality of the unevangelized parts of our hearts.
These unevangelized places in our hearts do not yet know the good news. They are places within us that are still believing lies, where the truth has yet to come. We formed a lot of these lies and belief systems as children, without even realizing it. And when the truth finally does reach those deep places, it is then that it can counteract the lies and wrongful beliefs formed early on.
God desires truth in our inner man. Not just our minds.
In order to receive true healing, we have to give God access to our hearts and allow Him to go to those fractured places with us. When His healing truth replaces those lies and false/ limiting beliefs that are occupying the depths of our hearts, it is then that we are finally healed.
The pain that is buried deep within us is ALWAYS attached to emotions, which have these accompanying lies and beliefs.
So what unexplainable behavior is plaguing your life? What is it that you just can’t seem to get rid of? Is it messiness like me? Perfectionism? A rash temper? These behaviors, among others, are just warning lights, indicating a need to look under the hood of our hearts.
It’s time to break past the barrier of our minds to access the secrets of our hearts.
It’s time to listen to what they know.
They have been waiting to share.
Freedom awaits us there.
“Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart” (Psalm 51:6).
“The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out” (Proverbs 20:5).
“For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him?” (1 Corinthians 2:11a)