What’s in our hearts will impact how we see our circumstances and how we respond to them. The content of my heart will affect how I see the world around me and how I recall things past. I can’t control my circumstances; however I can control what fills my heart.
If my heart is filled with anger, bitterness, cynicism and hopelessness then I will respond to my disabilities with thoughts of anger, bitterness, cynicism and hopelessness and my actions will reflect such thoughts.
Yet, if my heart is filled with love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, hope and grace then what would happen? Would not my thoughts be filled with love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, hope and grace? Would not my actions reflect such thoughts and attitude?
The same applies to any and all circumstances that we find ourselves in. I did not choose my disabilities. I was born visually impaired and hearing impaired. Like me, there are many who have situations that they did not choose. However, my responses to my situation–both my disabilities and life in general are the results of my choices. What is in my heart will greatly influence how I see things and how I respond.
At the same time, what fills our hearts will influence how other people respond to us. Here is a case in point. About 15 years ago, I was at a sheltered work program in Phoenix, AZ. While there, I met a young man who was filled with bitterness and resentment.
It was not hard to miss. The visually impaired teenager denounced my desires to have a life beyond a sheltered environment. “How can you talk like that! You can only get a job for specifically for visually impaired!” I was not the only one shocked to hear this from a 19 year old kid. Some of the shocked individuals were blind and in their 60s.
Because this kid’s heart was filled with bitterness, it was very difficult for any to be near him. I would love to think the kid wised up and changed his heart’s attitude. If he does not change then he’ll remain a prisoner of his own bitterness and have no one to blame but himself. While there are situations and circumstances that we do not get to choose; there are however situations that occurs because of the choices we make.
If that kid stays rooted in bitterness then he will never leave that sheltered work program and he will never realize his real potentials. He will have trapped himself in a world of loneliness and bitterness of his own choosing. The bitter young man will continue to see others come in and participate in the sheltered work program and leave. They will have benefited and leave for a brighter future.
A future that he can’t enjoy because of the choices the kid has made. For he will have chosen to remain there due to his bitterness.
Does this mean “right choices” will enable us to avoid bad situations? The answer is “No.” However, what fills our hearts can help with our responses to life situations and circumstances. I know of some women who have gone through an unpleasant situation and had to divorce their husbands. Sadly, there were young children involved and this made a difficult decision, that much harder.
These mothers could have filled their kids’ heart with bitterness, resentment and anger towards their fathers; however they chose not to do so. In fairness, there are single fathers who had to make similar choices, too. Today, both the parents and the children are reaping the benefits of the choices made years ago.
How did they accomplish this? It was likely not easy for they had to forgive their spouses and not shame their ex spouses in front of the kids. The parents’ choices in the earlier days made it easier for the children to forgive, love and respect both parents.
Was it really that easy? Only if you’re smoking pot! Truth is, they got help from family members, friends at churches and some counseling. With some parents, they earnestly sought God, the Father’s help in dealing with the situation. Because of this, it was easier for their hearts to be filled with love, joy, peace and forgiveness and this got pass on to the kids.
What fills our heart will impact the choices we make and their potential consequences. What is filling your heart? Would you fill your hearts with good treasures or bad treasures?