“Don’t tell mom, she’ll never find out.”
“Walk it off. Sprains always hurt more than broken bones!”
“You don’t need hot pads to take cookies out of the oven.”
“You can ignore the expiration date on food. Stores just put that on there so you’ll throw it out and buy more.”
“The sooner you get behind, the more time you have to catch up.”
Sometimes advice sounds much better than it really is. Someone told my son who is getting ready to graduate from college, “Write your resume in crayon – you’ll stand out!”
I really hope that along the way my wife, Lynn, and I have taught our boys to carefully reflect on the suggestions that others give to them.
Recently I was thinking about advice I’ve been given and have often shared with others. Maybe you’ve given it as well. That advice is to “Follow your heart!” It sure sounds like good wisdom. It’s such logical and sound advice. But is it? Is it really a good idea to “follow our heart”? Is that what God is calling us to? Is that what we want our kids to do?
Usually the advice to “follow your heart” comes when we are considering a big decision like “Where should I go to school?” “Is this the right person to marry?” “Should we move to a new state for a job?” “Should I pursue this new opportunity?”
God cautions us by saying, “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks wisely will be delivered” (Proverbs 26:2). The lesson here is that our hearts can deceive us. David’s heart led him right to Bathsheba. My heart has led me into more poor decisions than I care to recall.
God never said, “Follow your heart”. But He does say “Guard your heart!” We need care for, protect, reform, attend to, and purify our hearts. In other words, don’t follow your heart, lead your heart!
Leading your heart doesn’t mean you take emotions out of a decision. Leading your heart should include that gut feeling your have about something but includes much more. It includes prayerful reflection. Offering it up to God. Wise counsel. Sound judgement. And, sometimes it means waiting. Waiting for when the time is right.
I have some friends who several years ago came across their dream house. It was everything they wanted. The right size, the right neighborhood, close to their church, and a really good school. It was more than they could afford and their parents urged them to be cautious. But they decided to “follow their heart” and they bought the house. Within a few years they realized that they were in over their heads and ended up having to sell the house. Had they led their hearts rather than follow their hearts, I think that they would have saved themselves from a lot of pain.
Jesus knows our hearts. That is why he said, “Simply put, if you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it goodbye, you can’t be My disciple” (Luke 14:33 MSG).
Here’s some good advice! Let’s lead our hearts. Let us allow the Holy Spirit to dwell in us so that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
When have you followed your heart and been disappointed?
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Oh…one last thing I’ve learned from bad advice. Tupperware cannot go in the oven, even if the temperature is below 350 degrees!
By Pete Larson
Husband to Lynn
Father of two
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Executive Director of Family Fest Ministries