Have you ever experienced the agony of having to confess something you’ve done?
The act of confession is already hard. When the person you are confessing to already knows the details makes it even worse.
I recall a time when having to admit to my dad something he already knew I’d done. There was a party the night before, and choosing to drive home drunk, I missed an exit on the highway. I steered into the grassy median, trying to get to the exit, thinking my car would be fine. It was not fine, and by the grace of God, no one else was on the road.
My friends picked me up at the exit and dropped me at home. I was prepared to admit that my car wasn’t there. So, when my dad asked, “What happened?” the following morning, I explained, “I got a flat tire on the road.” He nodded slowly and grabbed his car keys. We climbed into his car, and as we approached the exit, it was obvious the cause was not a flat tire. Instead, the damage was enough to have totaled the car. My stomach dropped, and I remember looking down, not wanting to meet his eyes to confirm what my dad already knew.
I ignored their warnings that partying and driving after drinking was dangerous. Then, after the crash, I listened as they explained why this path would lead to destruction. Peace came from them knowing the truth and understanding their unconditional love for me.
In comparison, God has revealed how I close my heart off to Him, choosing to take control of my own life. This leads me down a path not planned by God. In response, I have learned how to humbly open my heart to Him, giving Him back control. I am gently put back on the path God has laid out for me. Through this, I experience God’s perfect love and constant grace.
Telling God – who already knows my whole heart – that I have closed it off to Him is the most humbling thing I have done. We cannot fool God into thinking “everything is fine.” He already knows the areas of our lives we have closed off to Him. We must open our hearts to live fully through the Holy Spirit dwelling within us.
Opening my heart to God is a daily prayer. I am constantly finding myself closing my heart to God and taking back control areas in my life. I could be fully open to God, then plans go astray, and I am back to my old ways. My mind starts racing with ideas of how I can fix things, and suddenly, I have taken control from God and lost His deep sense of peace within me.
Reclaiming control from God can look like worry or fear. This closes your heart off to God in a deceiving way. Usually, worry and fear are connected to self-protection, safety, or fairness, which sounds like good things, right? But Jesus told us in the Parable of the Sower that worries in life can distract us from God, killing His work within us (Matthew 13:22). He reprimanded the disciples for worrying about the storm while He peacefully slept in the stern of the boat (Mark 4:39-40). Or when Martha complained to Him how unfair she was doing all the work. Jesus points out to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42 NLT).
Jesus warns against closing our hearts by seeking to control what is out of our control. Instead, He asks us to open our hearts by giving Him back control. This allows us to experience peace. I don’t know about you, but I want to be sitting at Jesus’ feet soaking up His words, resting during the storm, and becoming soil that bears good fruit.
Try asking God today to change your heart. First, ask Him to show you the areas of your life you have closed off. Then, humbly give it all over to God, opening your heart and giving Him back control. Finally, ask the Holy Spirit to provide you with His peace.
God knows your heart, and He is the only one that can change it. So, give up control and feel the peace within you grow.
We are still taking submissions for Hearts Open. Click here to learn more about this quarter’s theme. If you would like to submit a blog post, send one in a Word Document to email@example.com. We can’t wait to hear your story.
JJ Young is a Christian blog writer, wife, and mom of two. Through her journey with God, she learned how much she tried to control everything around her, only reaching out to God to fix problems outside of her control. Her passion is sharing the different ways she has learned to pray, wanting everyone to experience the peace and joy that comes from daily giving your life to God. She loves reading, loathes laundry, enjoys playing tennis, and sits at the dinner table laughing with family and friends in her free time. Find her on Instagram @changedchanging, and blog changedchanging.com.