Longtime London minister, Martin Lloyd-Jones, used to say to that we have two communication options when it comes to our hearts—we can listen to our hearts or we can talk to our hearts.
There are certainly healthy reasons to listen to one’s heart. It is hardly emotional healthy to not know the difference between rage and grief and annoyance. It is not good to know you are mad, yet find yourself unable to trace your anger to a rational source. Listening well to your heart will yield an ability to articulate the complex nuances of your emotional disposition. This ability can be learned, practiced, and honed.
But listening to your heart does not mean that it fixes anything. Lloyd-Jones understood this, because he discovered it from King David, the song-writing Renaissance man. But hundreds of years before the Renaissance. So more like a Pre-Exilic Royal Artisan, Counselor, King, Warrior Cisgender Male.
Though there are many examples throughout the Psalms, Lloyd-Jones points to Psalm 42, centering in on verse 5:Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.
David inquires within and listens. He finds discouragement and turbulence— anxieties known and unknown.
And then David turns his speech into a command of sorts. He’s talking to himself. He’s commanding his heart to do something. C’mon, you. Hope in God. If you were diagramming that last sentence, supply the (you) in front of Hope. Yes, oh-heart-o’-mine, you/me/I/we have troubles. That is true. But God is more powerful than our troubles. And he’s ours. Or Mine. Parts of speech get confusing when talking to oneself.
Anxious one, don’t just listen to your heart. Talk to your heart. This ability can be learned, practiced, and honed. Certainly, listen to your heart. But don’t stop there. Give your heart the best words, God’s words.