BY KATELYN NOWOCIN
I’m sure you’ve heard the common phrase before: follow your heart. This saying definitely seems comforting; so I just need to follow my heart and it will lead me to where I need to go. Reassuring right? Well is that really what we should be doing? Is this really what God intends for us to do? I mean, I’ve definitely had my fair share of moments where I followed my heart and the outcome didn’t really go as planned, to say the least. I got to a point in my life where I finally said, “okay God what do YOU want me to do? I want to follow you.” And with His amazing grace, God answered my questions and revealed to me the truth about following your heart.
I think people romanticize the idea of following your heart. They have this idealistic concept that if you follow your heart, you’ll be happy and will end up to where you need to be. In theory the idea of following your heart is great; sweet and heart-warming, yet when we apply this to reality it doesn’t work that way. Following your heart is one of the biggest deceptions in our culture today that people live by. This idea is so heavily supported by the media and our society, that we don’t even look twice when it comes to the question of following your heart. I mean, why wouldn’t you follow your heart; what else would you follow? That’s an important and critical question that you need to ask yourself. This was my problem, which lead me to disappointment after disappointment, until I was surrounded by confusion. It seemed that whenever I followed my heart and not God, I ended up in discontent. Every time.
Let’s look at Jeremiah from the Bible. In Jeremiah 17:9, it says that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Okay, so the heart is deceitful and sick. That doesn’t sound very comforting does it? And we want to follow that? I think I’ll pass. Let’s keep looking. In Mathew 15:19 it says “for out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” So this isn’t looking very good. People all around us are following their hearts, which is deceiving and malicious. No wonder so many of us are heartbroken; it’s because the heart was never meant to be followed. People all around us are following their own lusts and desires; ultimately doing what they want to do. The Bible doesn’t only talk about your heart being deceitful but it says in Proverbs 28:26 that “whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.” So not only can we not trust in our hearts but we, to a certain extent, cannot trust our own minds either. Talk about confusing right? So what else are we supposed to follow then? Well, we will get to that. So ultimately, to walk in wisdom is to be lead by God’s truth, His word and the Holy Spirit. Following your heart and own thoughts on the other hand is walking in your own desires, not God’s.
Our hearts are not only deceitful, but they are precious and fragile. In Proverbs 4:23 it says: “above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” But how do we guard our hearts? In Philippians 4:6-7, Paul answers this perfectly, stating “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Having a relationship with God; praying, reading the word, praising Him and talking to Him will allow God to protect your heart. Ever experience a broken heart or an anxious state of mind? It’s not pleasant is it? Allowing God to hear your concerns and to carry your burdens, lets Him protect your heart and in return give you peace. From my personal experiences, I cannot express enough how true this is. When you give your worries and cares to God, He will answer you and He really does give you peace, which surpasses all understanding. It comes from seeking God and it’s more real than I can ever put into words. God’s peace is perfect.
There’s something bigger than our hearts that we need to follow. If you haven’t presumed what I’m talking about already, it’s God and His word. I can say confidently that following Jesus instead of my heart was THE best thing I’ve ever done. In Romans 2:15 it says “the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness.” Though we know right from wrong in our hearts, does that mean we should follow it with our tough questions and decisions faced in life? This associates with the question: should I cheat on my spouse because I don’t love him or her anymore? Should I continue to be in that toxic relationship because I still have feelings for that person? A lot of the time our emotions are what drives us. Emotion comes from the heart. We need to look up to a higher authority than our hearts, emotions and opinions. We need to look to the only one who can not only mend but guide our hearts: Jesus Christ.
Allow God to guide you. Stop following your heart and start to follow Christ! Your heart, emotions and mind can be deceiving, but “God is not the author of confusion, but of peace”-1 Corinthians 14:33. The Bible says to “trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil”-Proverbs 3:5-7. When you give your worries, cares, concerns and life to Christ, He will provide for you! Not only that, but He will bless you, give you peace, rest and reassurance. This is God’s word and promise for us. "God cannot lie"-Titus 1:2.
The Bible also says in Romans 12:1-2: “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing, you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” We need to ask and allow God to renew our minds. This is so important, if we want God to change and guide us. We must look above, not to our hearts to what God has for us, and ultimately what His plan is for our lives. My whole life I’ve done things my way and followed my own heart. I wanted to be a nurse but God drew me towards teaching instead. Now I realize that I love teaching and that I couldn’t see myself doing anything else. It was a battle to be content in that decision and trust God, but God is always right. When I finally stopped mapping out my life and gave it to God, things started to change. I gave God my plans, and I gave God the map of my life and allowed Him to do His will with it. I’m still on this journey; I’m still asking God daily to guide me to where He wants me to go and to use me. This is only the beginning. God is good, all the time.
In Selena Gomez’s song The Heart Wants What it Wants she says: “there's a million reasons why I should give you up, but the heart wants what it wants.” This is a prime example of how the media impulses following your heart and desires, even when it isn’t what’s best for you in the long run. When I was in a complicated situation, I remember listening to this song and it changed my mindset and opinions of what to do. It’s crazy to think that a song can impact you so powerfully, but we have to remember that the media is exceedingly persuasive. We are unconsciously filling our minds with these damaging messages. We must remember God’s word and what He says about our heart; it is deceitful and to guard it above all else. God knows what’s best for you and He will guide you to where you need to be.
Something that the Lord has recently taught me is to follow the Holy Spirit, not your heart, emotions or feelings. This certainly applies to finding a spouse. You cannot depend on your emotions and how you feel towards the person. Feelings change; you will not always have a heart for that person. You will not always find it easy to love that person. If you are guided by your emotions to be with someone, then that person might not be the best that God has for you. If you go into a relationship praying about it first, and letting the Holy Spirit guide you, THEN the relationship will be from God and His will. My point in all of this is to listen to that little voice in your head. Listen to the Holy Spirit and what God is telling you. God loves you and He knows what’s best for you. Allow Him to guide you.
As the media and society continue to display and support the idea of following your heart and own desires, I believe that it is important for people to understand this: our hearts can be our greatest enemies. Your heart can lead and push you towards things that disrupt everything you believe in and worked hard for. It can drag you to places you never intended on being. In Jeremiah 17:9 it says “do not follow your heart. Follow the conviction of the Holy Spirit.” We are created to follow God, not our own desires. As more people follow their own hearts, we can see the destructive results of this with a rise in divorce, sexual immortality, ungodliness, and the list goes on. Let us then stop with the idea of following our hearts. Follow the one who can mend, protect, love and guide your heart. The one who loves you the most. Your heart will repeatedly fail you, but God will never be one to disappoint.
Katelyn Nowocin is a 19 years old girl who has a desire to promote the Kingdom of God hence the reason she wrote this article. She has learned to follow God and the holy Spirit rather than following ones desires and she is excited to share this path with the world.