New Year – New Heart Beat

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This is the time of year when we pause to reevaluate our lives and long for something new or different. What I have found is this is often short lived. You see we are really good at thinking about all the changes we want but not so good at addressing the heart issue that may be keeping us from those changes.

I recently was studying a verse that really made me have to take a double look at this whole issue we can experience in our heart.

“For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes—so their eyes cannot see, …and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them” (Matthew 13:15, NLT).

In my many years of counseling others, I have seen this heart condition often. Pain and fear of more pain cause us to shut down and harden our hearts in certain areas. Then we don’t hear Him, see Him, understand Him,  or turn to Him. We close off our heart and don’t allow God into the places we need Him most. The last phrase of this verse is what really caught my eye…”they cannot turn to me and LET me heal them.”

It is a cry from his heart to ours – begging us not to close off.  Because when we do we don’t let Him in so He can heal us.

What I ask you to consider, is there a place in your heart that has been crushed with such an intensity that you have closed it off and are resistance to opening it up again? This unhealed place may be the very thing that is keeping you from the changes you long for in 2017.

I guess in the end the places we harden are the places we most struggle to let something go. There are various definitions of a harden heart that point to the seriousness of such a state. To be hardened means we become unresponsive, resistant to God’s grace, determined to believe a certain way, and left callous and unable to feel. I have found the harder the heart the deeper the hurt and that fear and shame are the greatest initiators.

We all have moments where our hearts are broken; a promise not kept, a moment we felt unloved, used, or unimportant. These moments mark our soul whether we acknowledge them or not with beliefs we form about ourselves and others that can block our ability to give and receive love.

The real problem is that when we are hurt, we can live imprisoned by the fear of more hurt. Then we end up rejecting the gift those who come into our lives desperately try to give us, especially God.  Fear becomes our rudder directing us everywhere we turn. We fear rejection, being known, being different, being vulnerable, failing, not being good enough for anyone or anything and we hardened more and more.

I love Danny Gokey’s song, Tell Your Heart to Beat Again. There a line that says: “Yesterday’s a closing door you don’t live there anymore. Say goodbye to where you’ve been and tell your heart to beat again.” We all have to come to a decision if we want real change, to stop letting our painful experiences paint the possibilities of our future and realized it is never too late to tell our heart to beat again.

George Vaillant, a Harvard psychiatrist who directed one of the largest and longest studies on adult development answered the question we all have, “What accounts for a happier and more meaningful life?” After 75 years of study Valliant confidently stated, “The study’s most important finding is that the only thing that matters in life is relationships…there are two pillars of happiness: one is love, the other is finding a way of coping with life that does not push love away.”

There you have it, letting yourself be loved and loving others is the single most important thing you will ever do if your goal is a more meaningful and happy life!

Robert Waldinger, the current director of the above study, says, “being human means there’s a wall-builder in all of us.”

My prayer for your new year is a NEW HEART BEAT. This will require that you let yourself be fully known by God and others. Even the places in your heart you’ve tucked away long ago. I know the thought of this may terrify you, but you will never find the acceptance you long if you don’t fight back your inner “wall-builder”. We all need the experience of being fully known and accepted by another- experiencing someone who really gets us and accepts us for all that we are and all that we aren’t.

God’s love is the unconditional acceptance every heart needs and longs for. He is the most stable, regulating, and unfailing relationship we could ever pursue. We need Him. His love is matchless. His grace is unending. He knows everything about us yet loves us anyway.

God meets us right where we are, not expecting us to have it all together. The Bible is clear that nothing can separate us from His love. The only thing standing in the way is us – we refuse to embrace Him back. We find it hard to accept and believe His love is unconditional, and needs no pre-requisites or qualification to apply. Unfortunately, our view of God is clouded by our early relationships. The ability to view God as unconditionally loving, delighting in us, and caring deeply about our wounds can be hard to comprehend.


Jesus came to change the rules you have been playing by. Maybe others in your life made you feel you had to earn love and somehow you always fell short. His sacrifice placed a red X across the pages of that rule book marking out every condition placed on you by others in order to be loved, and accepted.  He became the sacrifice He knew we could never be, to release us from the rules and regulations of our past. He said “It is finished” no more sacrifices needed.

Paul emphatically stressed that we cannot add anything too what Christ already accomplished. He was passionate about reminding the early Christians that we should not invalidate the grace of God by stacking a checklist of rules in front of the free gift Christ gave us through the cross. He stated, “If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily” (Gal 2:21 MSG). If we feel we have to clean up our own mess before God will accept us, we have missed the message of the Cross.

All words fall short when trying to describe what His love makes possible. He waits, longing for you to let Him in. He wants to gently pick up the million pieces of your broken heart and put you back together again. This is God promise to us, “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean…And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart” (Ezekiel 36:25-26, NLT).

God wants to give you a new, tender, and responsive heart. He only asks that you open up to Him; placing within His hands all the fears of what love used to mean so that He can show you what real love is. He is longing for you let your heart beat again and receive what is freely yours: freedom, love, acceptance, grace, hope, and a forever connection.

Will you tell your heart to beat again?  I pray you let this love letter from God’s heart to yours sink into any deep and devastated places within you and soften your protective barriers. My prayer for you is that 2017 will be the year you see the changes you long for and your heart will beat in a whole new way!

My Beloved,

My heart is for you. I long for you to understand how much I love and adore you. I smile every time I think of you. Nothing you have ever done, thought, or experienced could make me not love you. I rejoice when you rejoice and hurt when you hurt. Give your heart back to me – all of your heart. I want to offer you a RESET button – my grace. Let me plant new dreams, new hopes, new life in the soil of your heart. I have such great plans for you. I can’t wait to tell you all about them. Please don’t hide your heart from me any longer. Don’t you see my plans and purposes for you need your cooperation? You have 100% of my love and acceptance – no strings attached. You don’t need to do anything more, better, or greater to receive my love. No more striving in your own strength to earn what is already freely yours. Trust in me again. I long to heal your every hurt, your every disappointment. I accept you fully, love you wholly, and want you on my team. You are mine and I will never let you go. Open your heart to me so that I can set you free!

Yours Truly,


Be Blessed – Be a LIGHT

(Excerpts from this blog post are copied from my book, Shining Freely, coming in 2017.)


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