Learning Your Heart: Acknowledge Those Subtle Intimations

Velvety flowers.

I mentioned in yesterday’s post that there came a point of reckoning for me at age 19 that I didn’t know the truth of my own heart. Jesus — God — clearly cared about the heart, but then I saw lots of people in the Bible who thought they knew God and were close to God but clearly didn’t know God at all. 

What kept them from God, I learned through getting to know Jesus, was their lack of awareness of the truth of their hearts.

So I had to spend time learning my own heart. And then I had to learn how to bring that truth of my heart into relationship with God. 

How did that happen?

Truthfully, it’s been an ongoing process. The heart is cavernous, and its layers unfurl and unfurl over a lifetime. This is why our relationship with God is able to keep on growing — because we keep on growing and discovering new truths inside our hearts that we can bring into relationship with God. 

But over the next few days, I’m going to write a few posts here that speak to some of the things I learned in those earliest of days about getting to know my heart. I’ll also share some of the ways I continue to get in touch with the truth of my heart before God today. I’m calling this short series “Learning Your Heart.” 

So, where is one place to start learning the truth of your heart? 

I’d say one place to begin is to acknowledge those subtle intimations. You know the ones I’m talking about. It’s those thoughts that flit through your mind on occasion that unsettle you, those things you push away pretty quickly because you think they don’t make sense or would disrupt the status quo of your life, those thoughts and hopes and feelings that seem out of the question to you or those you know. 

I’ve shared before that, for me, one of those subtle intimations was my inability to really get what grace was about. I grew up in the church and sang all the songs, read all the scriptures, and could spit out, verbatim, what it meant to be a Christian. It meant believing we were saved by grace and depended on Jesus to give us access to God.

But there was a nagging thought that visited while singing worship songs and reading verses in the Bible and talking about this faith: What is grace, really? And do I really need it? I want to honor God with my life, and God knows that. Truthfully, I do a pretty good job with my life. Since God knows my intention to honor and please him, why do I really need grace? 

These are unsettling thoughts for a Christian, to say the least. 

But I didn’t understand it. And learning my heart meant acknowledging that truth. 

Here’s the good news. God wants a relationship with the real people we actually are. That’s why learning the truth of our hearts is so critical — knowing the truth of our hearts is what brings us into authentic relationship with God.

So one place we can start is by acknowledging those subtle intimations that we have.

What subtle intimations do you have? What thoughts or hopes or struggles or feelings stumble into your awareness at times, only to get pushed away? What if you stopped and really acknowledged their existence?