“How are you?” We hear this phrase all the time. It’s a common greeting that comes after hello and it’s the polite and courteous extra tag-along that suffices for just enough small talk to appease our culture. The usual response is good or busy. Both are acceptable answers because good ends the conversation and busy means well, we are going at a break neck pace, so life must be working.
What if we asked a different question? “How is your heart” Whoa! Back up, this is getting personal. I don’t have time for that. In fact if someone asked me that question I just might burst into tears. Now where did that emotion come from? I might just stop and stare at them or I might get this empty feeling in my stomach that wow, when was the last time I asked a deep question like that of myself? When was the last time I asked that of someone else? I am all for light-heartedness and fun. I love laughing and hearing a good funny story, however there comes a time when we must go deeper.
Our hearts are critical and they are opposed. Whether you recognize it or not the enemy hates your joy and every day is out to destroy this life giving power in you. The enemy is going to whisper that our hearts don’t matter. That dreams and desires are passing and that momentary pleasure is the best we can hope to receive in this life. Even when life circumstances seem bleak, the thing that Jesus has been wreaking me with is: the power of his presence. The overwhelming sweetness of His nearness. Do we realize that we get to spend time with the King of the Universe? This revelation has rocked me.
The God who created the heavens thinks about me throughout the day to the point that His thoughts outnumber the grains of sands on the sea shore. Mind Blowing! He is after our hearts! We settle for a hamburger and a sitcom when Jesus is calling us into something so much more.
I love movies. I love how God speaks through cinema to touch my heart. Hollywood has portrayed the war between good and evil for a long time. The dream of a fairytale has long been a best seller. Love stories are blockbusters and superhero epics are a hit with millions. I recently watched, “Amazing Grace.” It’s an older movie, but it’s one of those films where you can watch over and over again. William Wilberforce fights to end the slave trade in England in the 1700’s. This movie is more than just entertainment, it moves your heart. It reminds us that life is more than the day to day mundane. It pushes us to see what one man is capable of! It’s inspiring and yet it makes my heart ache. I want to do something grand. Maybe it’s because I’m in my twenties and still trying to find where I belong, but there’s something inside of me that yearns for adventure and deep impact.
Jesus invites us into a story that is so much larger than ourselves. When we get in his presence everything else becomes really small and we realize the proper perspective.
So getting back to my first question, “How is your heart?” What has Jesus been speaking to you about recently? What has caused great joy in your life? Write these responses down or get with a trusted friend and talk about these questions. We can tell people we are fine, but why in the world did we suddenly burst into tears the other day because we simply dropped the bowl of strawberries on the floor? I’m talking more than hormones, or the occasional bad day blues. The Christian life is not about pasting a smile on our face at all times of the day pretending. If the season you are in is tough, don’t shoulder it by yourself. Your heart is important and we can busy ourselves and turn on music and muddle through, but there comes a time where we must stop and allow Jesus to minister to us.
Do we love movies because we can lose ourselves in them, for mere entertainment, or because they make our hearts sour, ache, and connect with others on a profound level? The story of Amazing Grace may be out of reach for most of us, and yet the reason I bring it up is because when William felt like quitting, he had a friend speak life into him and ask him deep questions.
When we are followers of Jesus we are in the business of restoring hearts.
So next time you say Hi, how are you? Remember that every person has a heart that needs to be touched. I’m not talking about having a counseling session with every person we meet, but rather understanding that joy is worth fighting for.