Heart Matters: Garbage In, Garbage Out

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

1 Samuel 16:7, NASB


Garbage In, Garbage Out

The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.

Luke 6:45, NASB

file371235865874The Florida sun was beginning to get the best of me-as were the large crowds and the sea of selfie sticks we were dodging everywhere we turned. It was the last day of our week-long summer vacation at a popular theme park in the Sunshine State, and I had reached my quota for crowds, overpriced food, and humidity.

While waiting in line for one of the major headline attractions, a woman tapped me on the shoulder and politely asked if she could cut ahead in line and join her family in front of us. “Of course!” I replied as I moved my kids to the side to let her through…and the 13 others that were with her. Thirteen people! I counted them!

I was mad. Furious. Could have spit nails, mad! My husband tried to talk me off the ledge, but that made it worse because then I was mad at him too!

I stewed for a while and made some snarky comments, and my husband asked, “Why does it matter? It is going to delay our plans by about 30 seconds?” True. He had a point. I hate it when that happens.

That’s when I came back to reality and realized that my angry (and ridiculous) response was completely out of proportion to the “slight” that had just occurred. I have come to realize that a disproportionate response of anger to a minor situation is always a red flag. It tells me I need to check my heart and see what is really going on.

The problem was easy to see. My normal time with God each morning had been replaced with simply scrolling through devotions on my phone before falling into bed exhausted each night that week. My prayers had become superficial and not much more than an item to check off my list.

The reality is, I can’t pour out what I’m not filled with. That week I had more than my fill of the world instead of God, and that’s what came spilling out the first chance it got. That left me looking, feeling, and acting like the world: selfish, angry, and somewhat hostile. My attitude screamed, it’s all about me!

If I want others to see Jesus in me, it’s crucial I meet with Him myself.

It’s foolish to believe we can survive physically by eating only once a week or even once a day. The same is true for our spiritual nourishment. We can’t be nourished spiritually if we aren’t feeding ourselves a steady diet of God’s word and the things of God.

Seeking Him,


Take Time to Remember: “God is enough.”

I co-parent teenagers. The daily dilemmas, disputes and doldrums can leave any parent feeling pretty defeated by day’s end. If I don’t carve out time to remember who He is and who I am in the midst of my week, the frequent storms will wear me down.

Together, let’s take time this week to recount a few basic yet extraordinary truths to help us stay emotionally and spiritually afloat as we cling to Him in the midst of the mundane and marvelous tasks of the day before us.


“God is enough.”

The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want.

Psalm 23:1

God_is_enoughRecently, I met with a good friend at a favorite coffee shop. I love meeting with her because of the respite and renewal it always offers me. Once we arrived we found the perfect spot in a quiet corner. Within minutes of talking to my friend, an aroma filled the place. My grumbling tummy kept trying to convince me that I needed to go check out what was cooking behind the counter. Alas, overcome by desire and curiosity, I finally excused myself.  When I got to the counter, freshly baked pumpkin muffins with cream cheese icing sat on a platter. These were my favorite treat—surely, a sign that I needed to buy one. I bought one for the two of us and returned to our spot.

Minutes later a group of women laughing and chattering nearby pulled my attention away again. Even though I loved being with my friend I found myself wanting to know what they were talking about as well. How awful! Several times my dear friend graciously reeled me back in. Yet, every time we got going, something else seemed to vie for my attention- a cellphone, other conversations, or even the cars buzzing by. Here I was finally sitting with the friend I had longed to see all week, yet everything around me battled for my attention.

Sadly, the struggle I had with my friend often mirrors my time with the Lord. I crave intimacy and insight from Him, but too often I allow mental and physical distractions to take precedence over our time together. To combat this tendency I have started to repeatedly remind myself of one simple truth when something begins to lure me away from Him. I whisper or mentally repeat the words, “God, you are enough.” I find myself saying this over and over again to help me fix my eyes solely on the only One who can really hear, understand, lead me, and empower me while He lavishes His unfailing love upon me.

The Enemy of our hearts wants us to forget this so that we are drawn into the frivolity that surrounds us. Commit today to mentally or even audibly reminding yourself that God is enough. He is all you really need. Nothing else compares.

“The greatest lesson a soul has to learn is that God and God alone is enough for all its needs.” Hannah Whitall Smith


The Still Small Voice

So He said, “Go forth and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing.

1 Kings 19:11-12, NASB

“Do you want God do send you a postcard?!”

fireMy husband has asked me that more than once when I’m faced with a big decision. My answer is always the same. “Yes! Actually, that’s exactly what I want! Gideon got the fleece, Moses got the burning bush, why can’t I get a postcard?!”

It seems silly as I write it, but it’s honest. Sometimes my faith feels so small and my circumstances seem so big. I just want God to tell me what to do!

Elijah, fleeing for his life and desperate for death, was told by the Lord to go to Horeb as He would be passing by. Elijah, a prophet of God, was no stranger to the miracles of the Almighty. Elijah, having been fed by ravens and witnessing fire fall from Heaven, knew the Lord would deliver. Expecting God to show up, Elijah went as he was told. Today’s verse tells us that a strong wind, an earthquake, and a fire came, but the Lord was not in any of them. This time, the Lord showed up in what the King James Version refers to as a “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12 KJV).

What if Elijah had only looked for God in the big and miraculous as opposed to the still and the small?

Make no mistake, God still uses miraculous ways to communicate with us, but if you and I are only looking for God in the big and the powerful, we set ourselves up to miss His divine guidance. God may not speak to us in the same manner as He did to Elijah, but He still speaks in countless ways. He speaks to us through His word, through conviction and prompting deep in our hearts, and through the words spoken by others. There are no limits to the ways He can and will show up in our lives.

It’s difficult to hear His guidance without spending time with Him through worship and the reading of His Word. It’s in our hearts—our humble and submissive hearts-—that the still small voice of God is heard.

Humble and Hearing,