Do You Have a Diligently Kept Heart?

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”
Proverbs 4:23

Recently, I caught a documentary about the Japanese film director and animator, Hayeo Miyazaki. He’s creator of anime feature films including, “My Neighbor Totoro” and “The Wind Rises.”

Anyway, during this documentary, Miyazaki talked about his father and the impact he had on his world view:

“Being welcomed instead of being chased out probably shaped the way this man looked at the world.”
~Hayao Miyazaki

The power of this statement hit me. Looking at this man’s countenance, his joyful and peacefully optimistic demeanor shouts the sentiment loud and clear.

As I’ve been in recovery from both my disordered eating/image and abuse issues, I’ve had to look long and hard at the state of my heart. It’s unflattering and painful to do so, yet quite necessary.

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalms 139:23-24

And, a large heart condition for me has been the negative impact my dad had on me. I chronicle one painful experience in my book.

“…For three years in a row, I did not missed one day of school, knowing that I would win a perfect attendance certificate, tangible proof on paper that I was worthwhile… So for the next few years, I went to school with colds, sore throats and influenza…
…When I reached junior high, I became so sick once I had to stay home… Three days at home, according to my dad, was enough…He decided he would take me into school…
…I got up the nerve to ask him, ‘Do you still love me?’ His answer? ‘If you do this again, I won’t.'”
(Excerpt taken from “Thin Enough: My Spiritual Journey Through the Living Death of an Eating Disorder”).

So, according to Miyazaki’s statement, I was chased out instead of being welcomed.

Hello, negative self-perception!

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he… Proverbs 23:7

The threat, rife with demanding conditions, required I earn love, his love.

And this requirement contributed to my negative world-and self-view.

Simply stated, I was not valuable until I did something which proved it. I was not worthy of love.

I know, it’s an old tune.

And, because, for many years, I did not know God’s view of me, I only saw negative, hopeless things. Suicidal thinking eventually took place, largely executed through my eating disorders. There was no point in living. I was valueless and unlovable. Why should I exist?

It’s, therefore, part of why I’m so passionate about knowing and absorbing God’s estimation of us.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

If we wait to get it from human beings, we’ll be disappointed and even demoralized.

After all…

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 1 Corinthians 13:12

But if we know what God thinks about us from the start, we can, perhaps, filter perspective of our negative experiences through those truths, including…

“Since you were precious in my sight… I have loved you…” Isaiah 43:4

“I have chosen you and have not cast you away.” Isaiah 41:9

We love him, because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” Jeremiah 31:3

How we view ourselves, God, life and our experiences it critically important. Let’s choose, then, to concentrate on God’s perspective, not flawed humanity’s.

Let’s be diligent with the state of our hearts!

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23