Follow Your Heart? A Quiet Rebuttal

There’s a saying that’s getting a lot of airtime these days. It comes in different packages like make your own path, speak your truth, or you be you. No matter the words, it boils down to a saccharine-sweet phrase which has been around for a very long time—follow your heart. 

On the surface, it sounds so whimsical and delightful. An invitation to go against the status quo? How brave! An opportunity to pursue those dreams trapped inside my heart? Sign me up!

Unfortunately, following your heart can be dangerous. Jeremiah 17:9 says:

The heart is deceitful above all things,
    and desperately sick;
    who can understand it?

If we followed our hearts, we could end up in some pretty dangerous places. Just google teen pregnancy rates, divorce rates, house foreclosures, and car repossessions. 

That doesn’t mean we don’t listen to our hearts, however. Writer Jon Bloom says, “God designed your emotions to be gauges, not guides. They’re meant to report to you, not dictate you.”

We pay attention to the desires of our hearts—no doubt—but we heavily consider where those desires are leading us. Towards God or away from God? 

So, if you can’t “follow your heart,” who or what do you follow? 

We have to go to God’s word, go to God in prayer, and seek wise counsel with those who have a strong faith and relationship with Christ. 

Sunday school answer, I know, but if we create our own morals and standards for braving our own path, where will that lead us? We may not end up with a teen pregnancy, but we may pursue ‘dreams’ that get in the way of God’s plan for our lives. We might find ourselves hurting those we love the most in the name of a dream. 

Our family has been learning scriptures from the Bible. This month we are learning:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Do not depend on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

I’ll be honest. I’ve always seen that verse as a “God, things are weird now but I’m going to trust you through the hard parts.” However, it might look more like saying to God: “God, I have this dream for my life but I’m going to trust you instead of my desires. I’m going to depend on you instead of my own understanding. Lead me. Guide me. I want to follow your heart.” 

We can’t trust our hearts. They’re deceitful. They’re sick. 

But God? We can trust God. Don’t follow your heart. Follow God. 

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