How to Have a Sweet ’16

by: Brandy Heckford

We are more than three weeks in to 2016 and about this time every year, I reevaluate my resolutions. Instead of pledging to change my body or wallet size this year, I challenged myself to change my heart.

If I want a more enjoyable year with myself and the people around me, it all starts with my heart.

We often hear phrases like:

“Follow your heart.”

“The heart wants what the heart wants.”

“Do what feels good.”

We are constantly bombarded with these or similar messages by media outlets. We hear them so often they may begin to sound like proverbial truths. However, can we really trust our hearts? Is it a good idea to make all our life choices – especially big life decisions – based on our own desires?

Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is more deceitful than anything else and desperately sick-who can understand it?”

How can we possibly “follow our hearts” when our hearts can be difficult to understand and could possibly be deceiving us?

When I reflect on this past year, I have discovered how much I truly lie to myself. I have talked myself into holding on to more stress, instead of tackling what’s causing it. I have talked myself into countless bad relationships. I have even talked myself into living with guilt and shame instead of asking for forgiveness. In 2015, I had sorely deceived myself out of peace and happiness.

Underneath these undesirable life choices is my heart’s desire for peace and comfort.

Do I want to be overweight and waste my 20s? Of course not, but changing my eating habits and becoming more active is not pleasurable.

Do I want to remain in debt? No, but setting a budget is not fun. A budget constricts my entertainment.

Do I like the stress of always rushing at the last minute? I hate this the most, but almost every time I tell myself, I can always finish tomorrow. The fact is, I enjoy sleep more than chores.

Our hearts may not always want what is best for us; it may just want what will pleasure us. Short-term pleasure rarely gives life-long happiness.

Jesus says, “The thief [Satan] comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but He comes that we may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10). Jesus wants us to live life to the fullest. He does not want to constrict my fun, take away my pleasure, and least of all devoid me of peace.

He wants to give me peace. He is peace. He wants to fill my heart with a genuine love for others, patience, kindness, etc. Then, my heart will be in the right place.

Psalm 37:4 says, “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires.”

At first glance, this verse might sound confusing; however, it speaks directly at what we’ve been discussing.

Can we trust our heart?

It depends on who is guiding it.

Jesus says in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” Instead of weighing my decisions based on pleasure, I want to measure them with Biblical truth.

Without Jesus guiding my heart, I’m in control. I’m left defenseless, without being able to defeat the lies I tell myself. I will ultimately be losing every time because it is far too easy to choose comfort (and short-term pleasure) over truth. Without Biblical truth, I even lack the courage to try.

When we are walking in truth, though, our hearts will lead us to the right choices. With this clarification and new change for me, I’m hoping this will show me how to have a sweet ‘16.

Sweet '16

Brandy Heckford is a native of Duck Dynasty land (West Monroe, Louisiana). She is an elementary educator and enjoys getting to know and trying to inspire her students. She also loves spending precious time with her friends and family, and not least of all her dog, Cooper.

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