I have a Facebook account and find that my “Wall” (where my friends write their thoughts and messages), gives me a wealth of funny, absurd, even thought-provoking material for my blog. Just the other day I saw someone comment to another FBF, “Just follow your heart.” And it was as if I could hear the angels above singing a chorus as those words floated out into cyberspace.

Our society seems to love that phrase. It’s rather romantic, is Oprahesque (yes, there really is such a term in the Urban Dictionary), and most of all, sounds affirming. But is it really true?

In this post and in random future posts, I will be addressing certain goofy cultural or Christian beliefs that we tend to swallow, like a doomed fish—hook, line and sinker.

Here’s what I think:

Even if I don’t consider what the Bible has to say (which I will consider in a minute), the idea that we should follow our heart doesn’t make much sense. If I followed my heart there would be many things I would just be giving myself permission to do that would be irresponsible and self-indulgent.

Don’t get me wrong, I often wish that I could just rely on my heart. There are things in my life right now that I am struggling terribly with and if I followed my heart, I know I would be making some big mistakes. Here’s some examples of what listening to my heart might cause me to do:

  • Yell at the cashier who was just rude to me in the check-out lane.
  • Throw in the towel when my marriage hits a rough patch.
  • Buy that expensive pair of shoes I love, even though I really can’t afford them.
  • Only do what I want without consideration for other people’s hearts.

Do you see where I’m going?

Here’s what the Bible has to say about the heart:

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9-10 (NIV)

If that’s true (and I believe it is), then following my heart can be one of the most ridiculous things I would ever want to do!

Here’s what I believe the Bible does not say . . . that our hearts are worthless. If that were true, Christ would not have died to rescue our hearts. The bottom line is that we don’t have the ability, in and of ourselves, to know if what we feel is true or a lie. Thankfully, God can help us if we will let him.

So if there was ever a statement I would like to strike, it is follow your heart, and instead I would like to say, follow God who knows your heart.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV)

Today’s post is linked to Tuesdays Unwrapped at Chattingatthesky blog

tuesdays unwrapped at cats

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Comments on: "Goofy Things People Believe – “Follow Your Heart”" (11)

  1. Beth:

    So right on! I often think of that scripture when I hear someone say that cliché. One of my daughter’s friends told her that and I about screamed.

  2. Exactly! I think you said it perfectly.

  3. You did say it perfectly. I dislike that little phrase.

  4. Thanks to all! It’s just been a pet peeve of mine and I think there are a lot of people who romantically believe that little phrase right on down to their destruction!

  5. Connie Hunt said:

    so “write” on!

  6. I think for me, a “heart” thought is different from what you describe. It’s a deep thought, that involves feelings and compassion. So, yelling at a clerk wouldn’t be following my heart–just the opposite. It would be acting like I don’t have one.

    I love the phrase, because to me “heart” is compassion, conscience, and love and care of others.

    I can’t go wrong when I follow my heart and when I see other people’s hearts I knew I really “see” them.

    gloria

  7. I understand where you are coming from. I also think there are intuitions that people often attribute to “following your heart” that might not be considered a bad thing.

    But I disagree that my “heart” cannot contain negative or angry thoughts. I think both good and bad can come from my heart–everyone’s hearts. That’s why it is so dangerous to “follow your heart” instead of following God who knows my heart and softens my heart to be compassionate.

    Thanks for weighing in!

  8. A very interesting take, indeed! I love this:

    “follow God who knows your heart”.

    I don’t know about “heart”, but as far as a gut instinct, I believe that’s our God-given common sense and the urging of the Holy Spirit. I feel like what our gut tells us is right, most likely is.

    But then again, that might just be the the naivety of a gut that’s been ingrained with the Word since birth. 😉

    At any rate, I love this post! Thank you for sharing!

  9. Jennie, So glad you enjoyed reading about my perspective. I do think you have a valid point about having been ingrained with God’s Word. Not many people have had that privilege. The Holy Spirit uses those truths you’ve internalized to point you in the right direction at the right time. But I still feel that for me, I’m prone to self-deception, and never just rely on what I “feel” when looking at a situation.

  10. WRITE2IGNITE! said:

    I completely agree! so many times “our heart” is the “heart of the matter”! We want what we want without thought to the true consequences of such feelings. But if we follow God’s heart, then we can’t go wrong.

    I’m not saying that God’s way is the easy way or that we always hear His heart perfectly. But if we are seeking His heart instead of our own, then our love will be perfected in Him.

    I sure have a long way to go, I know that. I follow my own heart far more than I follow the heart of the Father. I’m so thankful for His mercy and Grace!

  11. Anonymous said:

    I thought what you had to say was wonderful. Too often people believe following their hearts, though it destroys the family, is the right thing to do. My daughter-in-law, just tonight said that about homosexuality. I said perhaps homosexuals should repress their feelings. She said no that would be awful. “You don’t want them to be who their not.” and I answered that they are just repeating what is the latest thing to say.

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