I recently shared the article “Doing the Heart Work,” in which I proposed the idea that the pursuit of any destiny is inclusive of hard-work, that is – dedication, sacrifice, consistency, long hours, and wise decision making. We are well aware that hard-work is required to make a dream be anything more than a puff of stream in the air.
Oh, but it’s the heart work that is the mystery that catches us off guard. The heart work is the simultaneous development that God cultivates in our character and in our intimacy with him as we travail in the hard-work to reach our destiny. As I mentioned previously,
It is the heart work that creates an intimacy with God that informs the direction of your hard-work, lest you toil in vain.
It is the heart work that prepares you for the next level that God is elevating you, lest you fall from grace.
It is the heart work that creates a pure heart to do the work of the Lord, lest you seek vain glory.
I believe we lack a true appreciation of Gods development through the heart work. We place a greater emphasis and value on the hard-work, for in it we can usually see a direct link between our efforts and our goals being reached.
But God will sometimes halt the hard-work to get us to attend to the heart-work. And, if we are not careful, we will mistakenly interpret these quiet seasons for a lack of drive, focus, or energy.
I am currently experiencing a season of stillness. In fact, I am slightly rattled by the absence of a laser focus. After experiencing a season of acute focus in the completion of two e-books, I have entered a place that feels amorphous, it seems to lack shape or definition.
Prior to the completion of my e-books, I was driven with a specific goal in mind. Now, I find myself in the pasture of creativity but without a clearly defined end goal. I continue to experience creative ideas and am driven to write, but with no discernable goal in sight.
Initially, I told myself, “You are exactly where God wants you to be.” But, after two weeks of free-flowing with no “next move,” I began to question my hard-work ethic. I began to wonder if I was losing my momentum and ultimately not doing what I was supposed to be doing?
It then occurred to me that maybe my hard-work was not the central focus in this season, because God was doing much heart work.
I quickly began to create a list of my heart work:
I realized that God had been speaking to me – preparing my mind – for an eventual reality when my destiny is reached.
I recalled that God recently dealt with me on forgiveness and compassion for someone who was hurtful to me.
I realized that God was dealing me on being submissive to my husband without maintaining a grumbling inner spirit (PREACH SOMEBODY)!
I realized that God was expanding the borders of the vision of my destiny, because he desires for me to be more open-minded about ways he wants to use me.
And so much more:
God was growing my trust in his ability to provide financially.
God was developing consistency in my approach to the disciplining of my two younger children.
God was teaching me how to coast and not always feel that I need to furiously dog paddle.
God was growing my trust in his promises, even when it couldn’t be further from my current experience.
God was exposing me to new methods of meeting my needs and he was allowing me the time to research them and prayerfully consider them.
God was growing my patience as I eagerly wait for an important meeting that was postponed until another week in the future.
God was growing my trust in his perfect timing.
So, while on the surface it could seem that I have halted the work…. the truth is, just beneath the surface the heart work was readily apparent. I could have easily missed this heart work, which is ultimately leading to the growth and development of my spirit.
I can sometimes put a lot of pressure on myself. As someone who left my full-time employer to pursue my dream, I feel a great burden to steward my time wisely with maximal emphasis on engaging in work that advances my overall goal.
To that end, I often conduct self-evaluations to asses my progress. I am learning that my self-evaluations must capture my heart work and not just the product of my hard-work. For, this is a true assessment of my full development.
Doing the heart work can sometimes feel like you aren’t doing any work… like work has halted or ceased. It will take a spiritual eye to fairly assess your true work. Just because your hands are still, doesn’t mean that you aren’t knee-deep in the heart work of refining your spirit, developing a new level of faith, or expanding your capacity to love and forgive.
Don’t mistakenly characterize this as no-work, it’s the heart work!
To learn more about what it takes to pursue your destiny, be sure to get my e-book: The Audacity of Me: Cultivating A Faith to Pursue My Destiny