living on pb & j

Ordinary moms living on Prayer, the Bible, and Jesus!


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The Worst Advice I Have Ever Received (or Given)

The Worst Advice

Have you ever asked someone for advice, and they told you, “Just trust your heart”?  Or perhaps they told you, “Follow your heart.”  That sounds so encouraging, and empowering, and it makes us feel good to “follow our hearts”; but the truth is, that’s terrible advice!  Sadly, I’ve probably given that advice, and certainly have followed it at times in my life.  And whether it’s as a wife, a mom, a teacher, a friend, or in any other capacity, if that is the advice I’m giving or following, I am making a huge mistake.

Do some of these quotes look familiar?

“There is no set path, just follow your heart.” 

“Follow your heart, and your dreams will come true.” 

“Stop thinking so much and follow your heart.” 

“Don’t follow the rules.  Follow your heart.” 

“Follow your heart.  It knows the way.” 

And here’s one that’s only slightly better,

“Follow your heart, but take your brains with you.” 

All these sayings (and many more) appeal to our flesh, to our innate pride and desire to do our own thing and trust ourselves; however, the Bible warns us to beware of trusting, or following, our hearts. Proverbs tells us plainly, “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool…” (Pro. 28:26).  That goes completely against the grain of the world’s philosophies, and frankly, it goes against our grain personally.  We want to be able to trust ourselves, to follow our feelings and desires, and to believe that no matter what choices we make, it’s all going to be ok because “I followed my heart.”

So, why shouldn’t we follow our hearts?

First, because our hearts will fail us.  We can think that we are strong.  We can believe that we are certain of what we want.  The reality is that our hearts fail us time and time again.  Sometimes they fail us because of fear.  Sometimes they fail us because we are foolish.  And sometimes they fail us because they are fragmented by suffering, betrayal, or grief.  But you can be assured of this – our hearts are prone to failure, and it is hard when we discover that we are not as strong as we thought we were.

Second, our hearts will fool us.  This one hurts to admit even more than the first, but God’s Word teaches us that our hearts are “deceitful and desperately wicked:  who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9)  We think we know our hearts, but we don’t.  We think we know our motives, and our emotions, and our desires, but we really don’t.  It can be very confusing at times.  I can’t tell you the number of women I have spoken with who have “followed their hearts”, and found themselves betrayed, broken, and bewildered.

Our hearts will deceive us, and one of the most difficult things to face is not that others have deceived us, but that we have deceived ourselves.  It is humiliating and overwhelmingly painful to realize that the lie we have believed, and followed, and lived by, is the lie that we have told ourselves.

That seems like a lot of bad news!  If we can’t trust our hearts, how can we make decisions and know that we are doing right?  How can you and I deal with a heart that fails us and fools us?  

Place Your Faith in the Word of God, Not in Your Heart

“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him. “ (Ps. 28:7)

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.”

Emotions are God-given, and are important, but you and I cannot place our trust in our intellect or our emotions, unless they are acting in obedience to the Word of God.  I know that my emotions can change from day to day (even moment to moment!).  My mind can change, and my thoughts are not His thoughts.  God’s Word does not change.  I can have full confidence in it.  I can trust it to remain the same through any circumstances, in any culture, and at every crossroad in my life.

This really is the crux of the matter for each of us – who do I trust, myself or God?  Will I choose to believe in Him with all of my heart, or will I believe in myself?  For our eternal salvation, and for every aspect of daily life, we are faced with this decision, and what we decide determines our destiny.  (Rom. 10:8-17)

 Make Your Heart a Follower, Not a Leader

Submit and commit your heart to the only One who knows it fully, and will lead it in the right way.  (Ps. 40:8; 69:32; 94:15; 119:10, 36; Pro. 3:5-6)

“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Pro. 14:12)

“I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart. Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.  Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.”  (Ps. 119:32, 34-35)

Fix Your Heart on God

“He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD. His heart is established, he shall not be afraid…” (Ps. 112:7-8)

“My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.” (Ps. 57:7; 108:1)

Determine that you will love God with all of your heart.  Anchor your heart to Him (Heb. 6:18-19).  Set your affection on Him (Col. 3:2).  Make Him your preeminent love (Mt. 22:37).  Make pleasing Him your preeminent desire.  Make glorifying Him your preeminent aim.  Keep your eyes on Him.  Keep your mind on Him.

Follow Jesus Christ.  Obey His Word.  Love Him with all your heart.  That’s good advice!

FollowtheLord


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The Grumble Box

The Bible clearly states in Philippians 2:14, “Do all things without murmurings and disputings:” and in Philippians 4:11 it states, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”

These are 2 great verses that I think every family member should memorize. Grumbling and complaining come so easy. Too easy. Many times we don’t even realize that we are doing it.

When we hear our children complain, we are so quick to point out to them that they need to have a grateful heart and they have  so much to be thankful for but does the conviction set in whenever we catch ourselves?

One idea I ran across was called, “The Grumble Box”.  You could do your own variation of it but basically you make a box and entitle it, “The Grumble Box”. (And one of the verses previously stated would be a great reminder if put on the front of the box as well) Then each member of the family is given an “X’ amount of pennies. (You may have to supply them with more later on in the month if they run out – but hopefully they won’t need anymore:)

Whenever a member is caught “grumbling” they are to donate a penny to the Grumble Box. Normally this challenge  would last for about a month. At the end of the month, it’s quite the eye opener to count all the grumbles (aka: pennies) that made their way into your lives. You tell each person at the beginning of this challenge that what money they have left, they get to keep. (You could choose to use dimes. They would add up more in the end and may be a better incentive to not grumble)

But you can see how this would help all of us to hold our tongue and to play the “Glad Game’ instead! There’s too much to be thankful for to be found complaining!

Love, Jenn


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The Person in the Front Seat

I have one little worrier in my pack of small children. They can all be emotional and upset at times. But I have one who worries, and worries! If we are headed to storytime at the library, he starts worrying. “Can I stay with you?” “I want to sit right beside you!” “Do I have to do the craft?” … all in a super-whiny voice.

I recently drove 5 hours with all 4 kids (I still feel proud and grown up!) to stay with my mom for a few days. At their church one evening, they had a youth night for children of all ages. My oldest, non-worrying son wanted to go, so we went. On the way there, the little worrier in the back seat kept asking the Mom in the front seat worry-type questions about the evening.

“Can I stay with you the whole time?” “Do I have to play games?” “Will you be in the same room with me?”… all in a super-whiny voice.

I gently tried to reassure him that it would be fun, I would be right with him, and he would love playing the games. But he just kept on, and on.

I finally said, “I am bigger than you, and I know what this evening is going to be like. You will be fine. You need to trust me! I have it all figured out, so stop worrying!”

Then he fell asleep.

Immediately as I said those words, the Lord pointed that little finger right back at me. How many times have I worried about a situation beyond my control? How many times have I tried to ask or tell God what I need Him to do? How many times have I asked for His reassurance, although He has promised His presence over, and over again?!

It was like Jesus said to me, from the front seat, “I am bigger than you, and I know what your life is going to be like. You will be fine. You need to trust me! I have it all figured out!”

Just remember, dear moms, that the Lord is bigger than we are, and He has it all figured out.

<3 Joy

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