October rushed by me in a whirlwind of beauty and chaos. Parent teacher conferences, zoom sessions with my remote students, and more work than I ever could imagine was broken up by a weekend trip to Breckenridge, a hunting trip, and my wife’s birthday. Through it all, I’ve tried to keep my eyes, my ears, and my heart open to all that God has for me. But that didn’t give me time to blog. However, I did have time to remind myself that no matter how my day was going, my heart matters!
Has beauty been mixing with chaos for you? It’s 2o2o so how could your year not feel like a whirlwind, but if you’re seeking to guard your heart, you’ve seen beauty too.
Hearts are key to how we live. Proverbs 4: 23 tells us to protect our hearts above all else because they are the wellspring of life. So here is what I have been doing to feed my heart the right stuff.
I wrote briefly about this idea this summer, and it still rings true. Throughout 2020 I have been reminding myself that my heart matters. I am in full control over what goes into my heart. This includes chaos of all kinds. Election chaos. Job chaos. Health chaos. So I have been spending less time on social media. All chaos seems to be driven by social media. In February at the start of Lent, I gave up social media, and it was freeing, but since Easter I’ve been back on, and well, we seem to be a society that loves to stir up hate and anger. And now with the election just behind us, school districts going full remote in order to protect the health of the community, but causing chaos for the families back home, it seems like the best time to either stay off Facebook and all social media all together or let your anxiety rise. If you disagree with me about this statement you might as well unfollow me (just kidding, but how many times have you seen that statement on Facebook?).
Because my heart matters, I am not interacting with people after a certain hour. If I jump onto any of my social media platforms later than usual, I typically just go to look at my picture history so God can remind me of the beauty he has for me. Instead of spending time on social media, I am looking for beauty and things that bring me joy. Mostly this means I hang out with Gyffin. A walk with my dog guards my heart way better than a scroll through my newsfeed. Today I spent an hour kicking the ball for him. I couldn’t stop laughing. I’ve found that I’m a way better man after spending time with my dog. That man is more of the man God meant when he created me.
April and I are still doing puzzles. I’ve talked about the greatness of puzzles in the past. Here is something you might not know about puzzles. Puzzles are a great metaphor for life. We started this one on Halloween and we quickly realized it was too big for our puzzle board. After days of trying to fit pieces here and there we nearly gave up. But we didn’t. April is better at taking the small pieces and building them into a bigger picture, but she bounces around seemly leaving sections to finish themselves. I focus on small areas and work to complete those parts first which at times bogs me down and causes frustration when I can’t find the one piece I’m looking for. We build puzzles differently and I think this helps us complete the picture. There were times when we thought we had the wrong pieces, too many pieces, and then finally one too few. I didn’t want to give up. I searched until I found that piece. We had just enough. I know this is just a puzzle, but maybe it’s more. Maybe we have just enough and that is perfect for now. This calms my heart.
Last month when I went hunting God gave my heart what I needed even though it wasn’t what I was hunting for. I’ve been hunting for almost 21 years now and I have never been all that successful. The first time I went hunting was a puking mess. A migraine struck as I trekked up the trail. I spent the entire trip throwing up or passing out upside own on a rock. The second time I went hunting I fell off a boulder head first. The third time I went hunting my dad and I spent two days tracking a Bull Elk I had grazed with a bullet. Hunting can seem like an experiment in taking naps in weird places, but even though I haven’t always filled my tag and I don’t feel like the best hunter, I have learned that hunting is more about my heart than about the Elk. This year on our first morning my dad and I chose to hunt on harder stretch of the mountain. We hiked up and down the mountain. Over so many fallen trees that my legs were shot. The beauty on the trail made up for the lack of a harvest. However, when we returned to camp we heard how our friends saw Elk, but couldn’t get a shot off. They had chosen the easy path and saw Elk, but came out empty. To fight off the disappointment I had to remind myself that hunting is more about my heart than about Elk. Its about constantly expecting God to provide no matter what. He provided in a different way than with Elk. Our early mornings led us to beautiful sunrises and golden Aspen trees and our evening meals provided us with laughter. I needed this time away. It filled my heart with what it needed and now that the chaos of life has set back in I feel like I can give back healing, hope, peace, love and joy.