Let’s talk real for a second. We’ve got the most flimsy, emotional, wayward hearts out there. We swing one way only to swing in the opposite direction just as quickly. It’s exhausting. And we have to get intentional if we want to know joy in this life at all.
I learned how to fight for my heart at 12 when I was deep in the anxiety that has blindsided me at 3 separate times in life, but the older I get…the more I have to fight for what is true, real, right, and good. I have to walk my heart into right thinking or I drown continuously. And I’m guessing you’re just as bad at heart swimming as me. So I’m sharing 3 effective ways that I’ve learned to fight for my heart and seek joy in my God.
Listen to music about God.
I can’t tell you how much this has helped me. In fact, while I write this post, I’m listening to music about God…because not even 15 minutes ago, I was starting to drown. I told you…emotional, wayward hearts! The words to the song I’m listening to right now are about God being my strength over everything, my Savior, and my Deliver. I don’t know about you, but when I’m drowning, these aren’t the truths readily coming to my mind. Sometimes, I fight valiantly, but many times, I have to force-feed myself truth.
Go make a playlist specific to what your heart needs, and add songs that highlight who God is. Listen to it over & over again, especially when you’re mind wanders, when you’re alone, and when you’re overwhelmed.
Carry a Truth Book
This is one of the most effective ways to fight. Find a little notebook small enough to fit into your pocket, carry it around, and as you hear truth, read verses, listen to songs, fill this notebook with those real, right, and good words. In the deep end of the fight, you’re going to desperately need this. And you’re going to be in the deep end a lot.
I’ve been serious about my truth book since October, and one of my favorite verses from that month was shared by my Grandma during a Women’s Retreat (thanks, Grandma!).
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. -Romans 15:13
I have also written out quotes from God Is More Than Enough by Jim Berg. The thing he said that propelled much of my heart change was,
A world where God is heavy-handed and mean-spirited does NOT exist
This simple phrase shook me out of a dark time. There were a handful of months that I lived pretty beat up. I subconsciously lived as though God was just being hard-hearted toward me. I knew of His goodness, but I wasn’t believing Him or claiming His goodness to me. But that soon changed as I wrote down verses in my small book, poured over each truth continuously, and began to see reality separate from my perceptions.
Even still, I’m learning about Who God is and my truth book reminds me when I cannot think for myself. Every verse or phrase is specific to what my heart needs to move out of my despair, self-pity, grief, the why questions…etc…you name it, I’ve been there.
The cool part? You can completely personalize this. Mine is nothing pretty. I’ve got pages that are bled-through with ink, cut up construction paper tacked on with scotch tape, and post it-notes littered throughout. I bring it to work, add to it periodically, and often read through the pages before bed. Bottom line…don’t be afraid or ashamed to carry a truth book everywhere you go if need be!
Take a Walk
It’s no secret that exercise is good for the mind, body, and heart! Couple this with listening to music about God or thinking about a verse and you’re set to win! Recently, I woke up one Saturday morning after having a disconcerting dream which made everything I’m working through so much worse. When you start the day disoriented, there’s no way you can fight well.
I remember deciding that I was going to take a morning walk, because I needed my mind to reset. And it did! There was frost covering an old Anne-bridge and it was beautiful. Having the dog along provided entertainment and reprieve from the mind fog, and fresh air from God Himself has a way of getting to your heart. My day went much better after that walk.
So walk outside, pray out loud while you go, choose a special place along the way that you stop and enjoy every time you pass it. It’s so simple, but very effective.
Healing is a process, and walking toward God and into joy is an intentional battle. AND YOU HAVE TO FIGHT. Because you’re a human and you’re heart will swing far left and far right. Instead of getting frustrated with yourself, give yourself a means to succeed.
There are many other ways to fight effectively. You’ll find them. Start with these, then personalize your strategy. But you will get nowhere if you don’t start now. So, fight.
And know that I’m fighting too.