You may already know that February is American Heart Awareness Month. I've caught news blurbs and such on the morning shows reminding us of signs of heart disease. It's very serious stuff.
I thought I would bring our attention to that "other" heart that we should be even more attentive to. In the last several months, I'm sure as a parent your heart has been broken as you've no doubt seen coverage of the perils and mistakes made by young starlets (like Lindsay Lohan and Miley Cyrus). Their stories open the door for conversations and media stories regarding the parental care (or lack thereof) and the advice these young people were given as they were growing up before the world. I imagine that at some point they were given that bit of "advice" that I always cringe to hear - "just follow your heart." It always sounds good and poetic but it always seems to lead to the wrong paths. Why is that?
Well, to get to the "heart" of the matter, Jeremiah 17:9 tells us that the "heart is deceitful above all things" and some versions go on to say it is "desperately wicked" or "sick" or "beyond cure" "who can know it?".
If the heart is deceitful, it will trick our minds and spirits into doing what isn't right or best for us and certainly not what brings glory to God. Only God can search out the heart, steer the heart and "establish the steps of a righteous man." (Psalm 37:23) It isn't simply a matter of maturity and being old enough to know what one should do.
How can we avoid just "following our heart" and giving better advice to our children? Get them grounded in God's Word and teach them to communicate regularly with the One who made them, who has a divine plan for them, who loves them unlike anyone else can, who wrote a "Love Letter" to them to guide them and sent a Comforter to lead them.
Teach them to "guard their heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life." (Psalm 4:23) And since it is the wellspring of life, we need to make sure it is filled with things that we can trust to make us more surefooted.
Parenting - it's a tough task and not for the faint of heart, but God can give us everything we need to give our children all they need to follow the heart of God rather than just following their own hearts.