A Change of Heart
Have you ever made up your mind about something only to discover that you were wrong or even that you suddenly have a change of heart? Of course you have, it's human nature. We like to stand firm in our convictions, make decisions and stick with them, and prove that we know what's best (or what's "right.") And the tricky thing about human nature is our own ability to deceive ourselves. In my experience, for myself and others around me, it's a very difficult thing to change someone's mind. We like to look for information that supports our way of thinking, which solidifies that decision in our minds. And encountering someone with a different opinion than you does not sway your opinion but actually makes you resolve to believe your way of thinking even more stubbornly.
We're like that with people, and we're also like that with God.
God knows that the way to change our minds about something is to get to the root of the issue. When we have a change of heart, we release our stubborn hold on our way of thinking and begin to reconsider our position.
In November, my husband and I both experienced this in a way that we have never experienced before. We woke up one morning as a family of 5--knowing that our family was complete--and by the end of the night, we were trusting that God wanted us to have one more child.
Time and time again, older couples with grown kids would tell us how quickly time passes and how they wished they had more kids. When they were young and their kids were young, life was hard. The thought of having more kids seemed chaotic, crazy, and completely unmanageable. But as that window passed and their children grew up, life got easier, quieter, and sometimes even lonelier. Their family suddenly felt so small.
But on this particular day in November, I had the opportunity to listen to the wisdom of an older woman with three grown girls. She expressed that she didn't want to have a fourth child because she dreaded hearing people say "Oh, are you trying for a boy?" like having another daughter would be something a mom wouldn't hope for. And in hindsight, she regrets that decision.
It hit me right in the heart, because my husband and I talked about that very same thing. We didn't want people to look at us like we were missing something--like somehow having a boy would complete our family in a way that having daughters could never do. We stand firm in our belief that having three daughters is an incredible gift from God! He has not left us lacking in any way. In fact, we both felt like our family felt complete.
It only took one conversation, that I truly feel was a message God spoke directly to my heart through this woman, to soften my heart and open my mind to the possibility that maybe God's plan for me was different than the idea I had in my own head.
There are three roadblocks in my heart, and in yours, that often hold us back from following God's plan for our lives:
We often make decisions based on fear. We fear change, we fear the unknown, we fear judgement, we fear failure. We get good at making our choices so that we can avoid facing our fears, but that means we also avoid a lot of great opportunities to experience putting our full faith and trust in God.
We think about ourselves first and foremost. How will this affect my life? How will this make me feel? We get caught up in making all our decisions based on what we want or don't want. But what we think we want doesn't always line up with what God wants for us.
Our pride also gets in the way a lot of the time. We actively try to avoid the possibility of judgement. We want to look good all the time and so we avoid doing anything that might possibly put us in a place where we feel "less than" someone else. But if we actively seek out God's plan for our lives, knowing that His opinion is the only one that matters, we can make decisions free of our pride.
If you ever find yourself stubbornly holding on to your way of thinking, consider the possibility that it may be time to have a change of heart. If you feel secure in your decision, knowing that it's God's best for you, then you won't feel the need to justify it, fight for it, or grip it so tightly.