Perhaps one thing that my little journey has taught me, is the power of prayer. The weekend before Thanksgiving I attended a school of worship. It was an amazing time of worship and teaching, but the part that resounded with me the most were the moments "between the cracks", the times that were not planned or found on the schedule. One of these moments happened during worship the last night. I literally fell uncontrollably to my knees and repented before God in tears. I remember exactly what I cried out.
"Search my heart O God, make it ever true"
These were the words of an ancient praise song my old church used to sing. I found that these lyrics are taken and adapted from Psalm 139:23 which I think is a little truer rendition of what my heart was crying out for:
"Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts" - New American Standard
but just for fun, here's a version that really speaks to my experience even more...
"O God, let the secrets of my heart be uncovered, and let my wandering thoughts be tested" - Bible in Basic English
Now, what I didn't realize at the time I prayed this was the process that God uses to accomplish this relatively simple prayer. In fact, based on the powerful and immediate response I received, I am now, more than ever, a firm believer in the power of prayer from a heart crying out to God. That's because God systematically revealed all the evil things and gunk I had in my heart. He uncovered all the secret things that even I had fooled myself into believing were under control. He also put my thoughts and philosophies to the test and proved to me that I'm not as smart as I think I am. At the end of this process, I was left completely humbled before my God and others, asking for forgiveness. The amazing thing is that this all happened in about two short weeks. So praise be to God who is alive and hears our prayers!
But one thing I'm left with now, is an overwhelming acknowledgement of a little condition I have. I think I'm aware of this because I asked God to make my heart "true". Because of that little suffix I added on to that prayer, He revealed to me something about myself that I had ignored, and that causes my life to be out of alignment. That revelation is that there is an internal conflict in my heart and soul that needs resolution.
I don't think I'm the only one with this condition. Simply put, I have two natures. The first nature I call my "logical" or "practical" nature. In that nature, I know who I am and how I should act. I know just what to say to impress, or to calm. I am really agreeable with everyone I meet. I'm outgoing and do the right things. In a nutshell, I strive to be the perfect person, husband, employee, youth leader, musician, pretty much anything I have to be. I think when this part of me is working well, I'm good at it.
The other side of me is part hides in those darker recesses of my heart that are hidden away from view. There is a subconscious part of me that is based on feelings and emotions. This part dwells introverted in the background and mulls over things for long periods of time. It's the part that writes poetry and music. It's the part that takes deep interest in people and solving problems. It's the part that talks in my sleep. It's also the part that speaks to the body and prevents it from doing what the logical knows it should do. It is the irrational and spontaneous part of myself that I let outside to play every now and then.
My little dilemma is that these two parts are nearly always in disarray and non-alignment. For instance, I may agree with something to your face with my mouth and with my mind completely understand that it is the right move. Then, just minutes later when the subconscious comes back from vacation, it will start to feel differently and process the situation with more input. It will start looking at all the "what if" scenarios, history, personality, and such. It processes emotion and cries out to higher powers. In the end, I end up being highly "passive aggressive". I agree to let people do something a certain way, and then seemingly despise it or downright trash it later. In the past this has hurt a lot of people and I assume it still does to this day. But the truth is that I don't intend to hurt people, it's just the way my brain works.
But stranger still is that I trust that deep, subconscious part of me more than the shallow, logical one. It is the part that guides me and has an uncanny ability to predict the right path to take in most cases, at least when tamed by some logic.
So my whole life has really been a struggle to resolve the conflict between these two parts. It would be easy to say that the feelings part of me is my "fleshly nature" and I should ignore it. Romans 7 has a lot to say about this. But what I find is that both parts are susceptible to sin. In fact, I think that most of the time they hold each other in check. The emotional is just as much a part of me as the logical. My hope is that now that I am aware of this, I can start taking some kind of action. After all, all things are possible though Christ who strengthens me.
So what I'm looking forward to as we roll into the new year is resolution. I want my heart to be true. I want to speak with my mouth what my heart feels. I want my heart to feel what my mind thinks. I want my mind to think with the compassion in my heart. I want my whole spirit to be in check and in alignment so that I might have a "true" heart. That I might have peace and that I might have resolution. That is my prayer for myself this holiday season.