As a parent, visits to the doctor are rarely something you look forward to. This year, Addi Grace has battled multiple ear infections that continue to get worse rather than improve. I was anticipating the recommendation for ear tubes, but I wasn‚Äôt expecting an adenoid removal. The procedure for tubes isn‚Äôt a big deal - but there is another layer of uncertainty and severity with the adenoids. My first instinct, which won‚Äôt surprise any of you who know me, is to research, over-analyze, run a hypothetical contingency, and do more research before making a decision (even for dinner, much less a procedure for our daughter). This was difficult. I was texting with my father, who thinks a lot like me, and he finally wrote back: ‚ÄúWhen my brain says one thing, and my heart another, it‚Äôs usually best when I follow my brain.‚Äú That reminded me of a verse I read recently in Mark. Jesus warned us about the difference between our head and our heart. I‚Äôm not sure about you, but I have a tendency of paying a little more attention when the words are in red! Jesus was speaking directly to the Pharisees and was clearly upset. ‚ÄúYou hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‚ÄòThese people will honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.‚Äù‚Ä¶Then he said, ‚ÄúYou skillfully sidestep God‚Äôs law in order to hold on to your own tradition.‚Äù Skillfully, meaning there is intentionality to plan how to get around the rules or pick and choose which traditions are the best fit, rather than focus on the purpose and meaning of following Jesus with a pure, undivided heart. He was so frustrated because they were focused on all the wrong things for all the wrong reasons! Trying with their heads to figure it all out but missing the heart of it. Jesus continues and addresses the crowd. ‚ÄúAll of you listen,‚Äù he said, ‚Äúand try to understand. It‚Äôs not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart.‚Äù It‚Äôs not the rules, traditions, knowledge, wisdom, what you do, or don‚Äôt do that makes you right, clean, and worthy - only Jesus can do that! Then of course, after he left the crowd and was alone with the disciples, they ask him further to explain what he meant thinking he was talking in parables. ‚ÄúDon‚Äôt you understand either?‚Äù ....‚ÄúIt is what comes from inside that defiles you. For from within, out of a person‚Äôs heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.‚Äù (Mark‚Ä¨ ‚Ä≠7:5-23‚Ä¨) We can‚Äôt trust our hearts to lead and guide us. In fact, Jeremiah 17:9 reminds us, ‚Äúthe heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?‚Äù We have to ask God to create in us a pure heart (Psalm 51:10). One that follows after Him. We know we can‚Äôt lean on our own understanding or we will be caught up in fear, anxiety, and will never step out in faith. We will also be caught up in all the information and miss His purpose. It is a concerted effort of all of our being to fully experience His greatest plan for our lives. That‚Äôs the hardest part for me. The head makes perfect sense. It‚Äôs letting go with all my heart that‚Äôs difficult. So back to Addi and the adenoids - it looks like we‚Äôll lead with the head and follow with the heart.
In the end we know, ‚ÄúTrust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.‚Äù ‚Ä≠‚Ä≠Proverbs‚Ä¨ ‚Ä≠3:5-6‚Ä¨ ‚Ä≠NIV‚Ä¨‚Ä¨