Imagine a dried piece of toast. That’s what my heart looked like coming out of the holidays. And I was so confounded by it.
I enjoyed such a rich time with my family and friends, a time for which I am so grateful and don’t take for granted. I don’t know about you, but families can be risky, so having a happy gathering is a big win at my house. Plus when your kids are home for two weeks, and your husband is on vacation, it generally means mom is not! But God answered my prayers that I would truly savor the times we had together. And we did!
Still when it was just me and Jesus again, the kids back at school, Chuck back to the office, the decorations back in boxes, I felt a little iced over. How can this be when we just spent a month celebrating God’s faithfulness and wonder?
Nevertheless. I was dried out. Iced over. Blah.
In the natural, winter demands protective measures. Covering pipes. Wearing warmer clothes. Increasing Vitamin D until the sunshine returns.
I’m finding the spiritual winter demands extra effort as well. The first step for me in warming up was understanding that I am not doing anything wrong necessarily.
I don’t accuse my pipes or body of wrong doing just because the season changed and they require extra effort. I am responsible for responding to the need of course, but having the need is not wrong. I spent a couple of days beating myself up for not “being full.” I was ‘repenting’ until I heard the Lord correct my thinking. He showed me that I don’t have to assume that I am “in sin” or “backslidden” just because my God tank is less than full. Too often we find ourselves in Yuk mode with God and we feel bad or guilty or confused and so we run away. Which of course only increases the Yuk mode.
(As a side note, repentance is a beautiful heart softener. It proved to be a great reminder that there is a God and I am not it.)
So first thing to tending your heart in winter is, don’t shame yourself for getting cold. Just respond to the need.
Second thing is really listening to the Lord’s instruction. You can’t wear the same clothes in winter that worked in summer. Spiritually, you have to adjust as well. I have invested more focus worship. Not necessarily more time, but more focus. I know I need to encounter God. So I have been paying attention to songs, or scripture, or thoughts that really stir my soul. I am looking for Him. Intentionally.
Third is resting in the truth that He hasn’t gone anywhere. When I look out my window, everything is still alive. It doesn’t look alive. But it is alive. God told me not to confuse my feelings with spiritual realities. I am His. His love is everlasting. He is all I Need. Jeremiah 29 says that when I seek him with my whole heart, I will find him.
This leads to the fourth and final de-icer. My whole heart. This is what he is after.
You know, the Bible doesn’t call Him a jealous God for nothing. He wants our whole heart, attention and affection. Why? Because when God is the source, we have all we need. When we begin in Him, then life pours out of a different place altogether. My cup is pretty small so it runs dry pretty fast. But when I draw from God’s cup— the fountain never runs dry. He wants me, and you, to always remember that in Him and through Him all are things. Even my icy heart is only thawed by His loving hand.
God is showing me that He does a lot of root work in the winter. So the best thing I can do when I am frozen over is cozy up next to His fire and rest.