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I started performing in plays and musicals when I was fifteen years old. Something about the stage felt like home. I somehow found refuge in the shows I was cast in because I could escape reality. I was utterly depressed, anxiety-stricken, and selfishly hard-hearted. I learned to channel all of my frustrations, anxieties, and bitterness through the characters I played on stage. The cathartic feeling was like the best high. Emotions became my drug, and it didn’t take long to become an addict.
Rehearsal after rehearsal, performance after performance, I got my emotional fix. The release felt so great that I allowed my romance with emotions to become the way I walked through life and made decisions. For years. If something felt right, I did it. If something didn’t feel right, I avoided it. Needless to say, I surrounded myself with people and situations that satisfied me and filled my feel-good tank. I eventually decided to study theatre and dance in college and made plans to move halfway across the country to Los Angeles. I was going to become a famous actress in Hollywood.
This fleshly behavior sounds a lot like the way a majority of people live their life, especially those who are unsaved.
But I considered myself a born-again Christian, and I received so much advice from other Christians to continue to pursue my dreams.
They told me to follow my heart. “Do what makes YOU happy!”
This all sounded fantastic!
But there was one problem.
My heart was wreaking havoc on my life!
My anxiety was still there. Depression was always lurking, and my relationships were a mess!
My heart’s desires were leading me into more pain and deeper into sin because I was constantly allowing my feelings to be the guide of everything in my life…
…until one day, the Father intervened.
After an encounter with His mighty love, my eyes were opened to my selfishness, spiritual depravity, and unhealthy addiction to my emotions. I surrendered my entire heart to Him for the first time in my life. I finally chose to die to myself and began to seek the Lord with everything in me. This meant that I began to attend church regularly, pray and worship in God’s Presence consistently, and read His Word with a passion and eagerness to truly know Him- going beyond religion and entering a real relationship with the Father through Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit.
Through reading God’s Word and listening to sermons, I began to cultivate an ear to hear His voice and that’s when I discovered that most of the time, He challenged what I was feeling in my heart and began to mold it to look more like His. The best example was when He told me not to move to LA.
At the time, I believed I was called to be a light in a dark place; I was supposed to use my talents for Christ in Hollywood. I was receiving mixed messages from trusted believers because they kept telling me to trust God with the plans to pursue my dreams. This just lead to more confusion.
Trust God with my plan and my heart’s desires?
Again and again, the phrase “follow your heart” was echoing through my mind. This phrase seems to be very popular in American culture, even among Christian circles. You can find these three words boldly displayed on T-shirts, on Instagram graphics, and even in the Facebook posts of influential Christian leaders.
“Follow your heart…”- just a harmless motto, right?
It sounds really encouraging, doesn’t it?
Yes, very encouraging, almost Disney-like, but definitely not Biblical!
The Lord spoke these words about the heart through the prophet Jeremiah:
The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9 NKJV)
As Christians, sometimes we fall into the trap of giving man’s words more weight than the Word of God.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct[a] your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV)
We definitely need to let God be our guide, and if we have embraced Jesus as our Savior and the Lord of our life, the Father has given us His Holy Spirit to lead the way.
If we are putting our trust in everything or anyone, but the Lord, we will constantly be disappointed and lead astray from God’s perfect will for our lives. We must trust in the Lord with all of our heart, which should never be filled with more of this world than God’s Word.
It is our job to make sure that we are guarding our heart with all diligence (Proverbs 4:23) to protect ourselves from deceit and only allow the Truth of God’s Word to be sown in it and take root.
I’m so thankful that during that time in my life while I was faced with a major decision, I kept my heart full of God’s Word, which helped me keep my ear inclined to His voice alone. One month after I heard the Lord’s instruction to not move to Los Angeles, I was introduced to my now-husband and the rest is His Story.
My advice to you, beloved one, is do not follow your heart.
Follow God instead. He knows what you need more than you do. Trust Him with your entire heart and let him mold it to look more like His.
Emily Rose Massey began writing short stories and poetry as a little girl, entered the blogging world in her early 20's, and recently released her first book, Yielded in His Hands (eLectio Publishing). She enjoys being a stay-at-home momma and serving in her local church with her husband in television, worship, and youth ministry. Believing she has been forgiven of much, she loves much, and desires to point others to Christ and His redemptive and transforming power. If you would like to connect with Emily or learn more about her book, you can visit her website: www.emilyrosemassey.com