What to Do When Your Heart Leads You Astray
By Lynette Kittle
“Lord, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps” - Jeremiah 10:23
For most of my high school years, I dated the same handsome farm boy. He came from a large, loving family whom I adored. With my having only one older brother, his sisters took me under their wings and I loved it.
As well, his Mom and Dad included me in their family gatherings, making me feel loved, accepted, and appreciated. So, when he broke up with me at the beginning of our senior year, to say I was devastated is vastly understated.
My dream of marrying him, living on the farm near our hometown, being a part of his large family, and raising children together was shattered. At 17 years old my heart was crushed, leaving me feeling hopeless and without a future.
God’s Will at Work
Sadly, while dating him, I sensed God gently speaking to my heart that our relationship wouldn’t lead to marriage. But my heart was too far in at that point, so I rejected God’s counsel on the matter, believing my dream could still come true despite His cautions.
Still, the inevitable break-up happened, starting off my senior year on a very sad note. My heart was broken knowing we would pass each other in the hallways but no longer spend time together.
Restless nights led to long, ongoing conversations with God, asking Him to free me from the sorrow. He truly is the only One who can bear our grief for us (Isaiah 53:4).
As well, I asked God to keep me from dating anyone again, unless it would lead to marriage. My heart was too fragile to bear the thought of ever being utterly heartbroken again.
After several months of grieving my loss, another guy in school, one who had caught my attention over the years, stepped into my world at just the right time, God’s time.
I began to recall ways God had gently called my attention to him over the years, even seemingly pointing him out to me for a brief moment one junior high afternoon, while waiting for the school bus. Although I didn’t grasp its significance at the time, I didn’t forget it either.
As well, several times during high school, it seemed like God was quietly speaking to my heart, proposing the idea of choosing him over my ex. But even with God’s prompting, I kept choosing my boyfriend. Thankfully my husband enjoys knowing how all along, he was God’s choice for me, even if I was resistant.
Looking back, I realize how my heart can’t be trusted because it can be easily led astray. Jeremiah 17:9 explains, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”
God Has a Plan
Although I thought my ex was perfect for me, God had different plans for our lives that didn’t include each other. When I was unwilling to break up with him, God led him to make that decision.
We as Christians often don’t understand how God has chosen us for His purposes and plan. Many of us believe we can choose whatever path we want and God will follow us.
But in John 15:16, Jesus explains, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in My name the Father will give you.”
God Lovingly Takes the Lead
Once I started seeing how my heart had led me astray, is when I began submitting to God’s gentle leading in my life. As Proverbs 3:5-6 explains, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
Even though I had willingly chosen over and over again to pursue another path, God patiently waited for me to come around, putting my future husband on my radar, and giving me opportunities to agree with His path for my life.
I discovered how even if we resist God’s promptings in leading us, it’s not too late. He has amazing ways of working all things together for good in our lives (Romans 8:28)
2 Corinthians 7:10 describes how godly sorrow leads us to repentance, so once my heart realized I can trust God’s leading in my life, I repented from wanting and choosing my own way over trusting His will for my life.
With tenderness, God lovingly forgave me, not holding anything against me (Psalm 84:11) and compassionately leading me back on His path for my life.
Thank You for gently leading me, even at times when I’ve been resistant to Your will and wandered away from Your plan for my life. Like Proverbs 4:23 encourages, lead me to above all else, guard my heart, because everything I do flows from it. Help me each day to yield to Your will and purpose for my life. Direct my steps to always follow Your ways.
In Jesus’ name,
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/eternalcreative
Lynette Kittle is married with four daughters. She enjoys writing about faith, marriage, parenting, relationships, and life. Her writing has been published by Focus on the Family, Decision, Today’s Christian Woman, kirkcameron.com, Ungrind.org, StartMarriageRight.com, and more. She has a M.A. in Communication from Regent University and serves as associate producer for Soul Check TV.
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Originally published Friday, 11 August 2023.