“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14
If we could stroll through the halls of my heart, viewing meditations on the walls like masterpieces in a museum, what would we observe? What would the contemplations look like? What emotions would be evoked by the thoughts found there? Would it be easy or hard to gaze upon the reflections? What would be stored there? Would the walls be covered with stunning illustrations of God’s handiwork that could take my breath away? Or would the walls have few hangings representing all the worldly stuff I cling to?
I read this Psalm again, and again, and again. As I do, I deeply long for the art of my heart to reflect all that is pleasing to the LORD. I crave His smile and approval. But there’s a bit of me that is fearful. What if what is hanging there made Him sad? What if He was disgusted by what He saw? Do I dare let Him come through with me?
What would it be like for Jesus and I to walk through the halls of my heart?
I imagine it would play out something like this.
The Art of My Heart
I anxiously buzz through my gallery, a critical eye on the search for details that are out of place. Are the works of art level? Should these be next to each other? Is the floor clean? Is the view through the glass crisp and clean? So many thoughts, so much to do. There’s an important visitor coming today. Just one, THE ONE.
I’ve closed my doors. I’ve turned the music off. When He gets here it will be just the two of us. What will He think? What will He say? My eyes scan the halls and my mind cycles through these questions as if there was a merry go round spinning through my mind. I’m almost dizzy, but I’m standing perfectly still.
I long to please Him. I long to hear words of approval spoken from His lips. Yet, I’m almost scared. Should I even let Him in? Perhaps I could lock the doors and hide away? Maybe He would be able to come back another time? No, I need to do this. I want to know.
Then there comes a knock upon the door. “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” Revelation 3:20
For a moment my heart freezes. It is as if time has completely stopped. It seems as though another force has taken over me. I turn and take the first step toward the door to greet my guest. With each step my anxiousness melts away to peace. Hands that were twitching are steadied. Heart that was racing is now beating in peaceful melody. I feel my furrowed brow release and a smile dawns upon my face.
The first thing I am drawn to are His eyes. They are so bright and filled with the light of eager anticipation. No introductions are needed and He is the first to speak. “My cherished Julie,” He says. The only words that come from me are a quiet, almost inaudible, “my LORD.” I hardly get them out before He wraps His arms around me in an embrace that brings tears to my eyes. Tears of joy, that seem to come from thin air with no warning that they are even coming.
I still have no idea how much time passed during our embrace. It seemed so long, yet passed so quickly.
We began our tour of the gallery of my heart. Each work upon the art seemed so familiar to Him. His familiarity ran deeper than having just viewed the piece multiple times. It was as if He knew every motivation behind it, the way one would it they were part of the planning, the designing and the creative process.
I wanted to so proudly lead Him down to the wall that held canvases of His statutes. I wanted to show Him how much I knew of His Bible. I wanted to share with Him all that I had studied. I wanted to recount with Him the nights spent dwelling upon these in my studio, “My eyes stay open through the watches of the night that I may meditate on your promises” Psalm 119:148.
But as I was about to turn and try to lead Him, I realized that His eyes were deeply engaged with a section to the back. A section were the lighting was not so good. The paintings I didn’t really want Him to see. I followed and almost hung my head in shame the closer that we got. My eyes began to well with tears. I felt the sting of regret. As if the pain that evoke each of those paintings was now coming together as some kind of super storm ready to unleash a torrent of heartbreak.
Then He stopped. He didn’t even need to turn to look upon me because I stopped, too. Not just stopped walking but the tears subsided as well. I quickly tried to wipe them away. As my fingertips touched the last glistening drop near my cheek these words entered my mind, “Submit to God and be at peace with Him; in this way prosperity will come to you. Accept instruction from His mouth and lay up His words in Your heart” Job 22:21-22.
I couldn’t tell if I heard that in my mind or through my ears. As I was wondering where it came from, Jesus ask me to step closer to Him. I stood by His side and we stared and the darkness upon the wall. He walked to one painting right in the middle. He took it off of it’s hanging and held it in his hands. As he gazed upon it, His face pensive and deep in thought, I pondered what He would say. I was no longer afraid, but more perplexed at what He could be thinking.
And then He spoke, “My dear beloved. I remember this so well. The pain it seared into your soul is still vivid to me.” I saw a tear run down His face. “This wall, it is covered with thoughts, with words and with events that were never intended for you to dwell so deeply upon.”
Then His eyes met mine directly. I could not hide them from Him. I couldn’t look away, I felt as though He was reading me like an open book, but finding a blank page. “Would you allow me to take these? I promise you that I will replace each and every one. This space can be vibrant and filled with abundant life, but you will have to let me oversee the entire project and relinquish all control to me.”
I remember being absolutely dumbfounded. Why is He asking? Can’t He just do it on His own? Who am I that He would make such an offer to me? Did I hear Him right?
I responded, “yes”.
I usually would have immediately criticized myself for my response. The LORD of LORDS and King of Kings is present before you and the response you say is a meager “yes”? But today there was no self loathing or doubt to follow my response. Just wide eyed wonder.
Jesus went straight to His work. I watched but my words will fall so short of what I saw. It was transformation, complete and total. I would be focusing on one portion and then turn to see another had been completely renewed. I could feel my jaw dropping to the floor. How did it all happen? Where did such unbelievable beauty come from?
As I examine the new that was being brought in, it was in some way familiar. I gazed deeply into one particular piece and there grew a happiness in my heart. No it wasn’t happiness, it was something deeper, much deeper. It had a touch of happiness but also peace. It confused me at first, but I couldn’t turn from it. I wanted to climb right into that canvas and make it my home.
Jesus came over to me. He placed His arm around me. As we fixed our eyes upon the masterpiece, His words rang in my ears like laughter, “I am especially fond of this one. That is joy, my dear.”
It was at that moment, that I knew it was all going to be different. I did not know how. I had no clue what would happen in the rest of my days here on earth. I knew there would still be a struggle within me to bring in more dark paintings, but with Jesus by my side I realized that the weight of the world was not on me alone.
Now every time I meander through these halls my heart sings out, “How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!” Psalm 129:17