Filling the Void of a No-Oprah World

The Heart: The Holy Spirit’s Haven? Or Hell on Earth?
“An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up” (Proverbs 12:15 NIV).

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12 NLT).

“Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy” (Proverbs 14:10 ESV).

“Laughter can conceal a heavy heart, but when the laughter ends, the grief remains” (Proverbs 14:13 NLT).

“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones” (Proverbs 14:30 NIV).

“The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit” (Proverbs 15:4 NIV).

“A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit. The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly” (Proverbs 15:13-14 NIV).

“All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD” (Proverbs 16:2 NIV).

“The wicked are edgy with guilt, ready to run off even when no one’s after them; Honest people are relaxed and confident, bold as lions” (Proverbs 28:1 The Message).

As the Heart Goes, So Goes the Spirit… And Our Life’s Course
“In the Bible, the HEART is the seat of the entire self. It includes our core commitments and our idealized image of how the world should be. What is your heart’s default mode? What do you think about when you are experiencing no pressure to think about anything else? What sorts of ideas, hopes, and ambitions most regularly compete for ascendancy in your heart? What do you most hope to accomplish in life? For what would you practically die to achieve? Pause for a moment right now. Before you go on, think it through. In your heart of hearts, on what do you focus? In the margin of this book, finish this sentence “If only I . . .”

To the degree that these questions BEG FOR AN ANSWER in our HEART that aligns (or not) with God’s love and truth, our EMOTIONS WILL BE AT PEACE, OR AT WAR!

The word SPIRIT refers to our emotions or affections. Our emotions are linked directly to those things we treasure as most important to our well-being; they link directly to the things of the HEART—our hopes, dreams, core beliefs, values, and deepest desires.

The implications of the Bible’s distinction between “heart” and “spirit” extend still further. Each and every person God has created clings to a different set of “essential things” within their heart. These, in turn, link directly to various sets of emotions or feelings that surround, guide, guard, and defend each truth and/or falsehood of the heart.” (John Dozier, The Weeping, the Window, the Way)

The above Bible verses from The Book of Wisdom (Proverbs) provides an amazing window into the very complexities I’m referring to. No other resource than the Bible offers such insight into what it means to be human: And the gap between the IDEAL and the REAL.

It’s Complicated and Vitally (life-giving or taking) Important We Understand the Void and the Resultant Vacuum
If and when any culture devolves to a place where it’s collective heart knows less and less… or little… of it’s Maker and the Made, the necessity of dealing with the emotional void will result in filling it with AMBIVALENCE (unrelenting warring of conflicting emotions) or EMOTIONAL VOYEURISM (borrowing other’s emotions to avoid or supplant our own complicatedness).

Of the two potential “heart-spirit-related” issues of AMBIVALENCE and EMOTIONAL VOYEURISM, I want to make a plea to those in the reach of my reach to make sure we’re not using Oprah (and the innumerable other “REALITY DRAMA’S” we’re inundated by every day) to fill the void of our own heart through what Oprah excels in like no other, EMOTIONAL VOYEURISM.

I would go so far as to assert that “Oprah” is one of the most widespread and influential creations of a culture that is one of the most emotionally conflicted, perplexed, fearful, and needy of any in history. HENCE, the “success of Oprah” is commensurate, proportional, and makes “uncommon sense” (E.g., few seem to see the dilemma and the dangers).

How will the void be filled now that Oprah is “gone”?

Taking Time to “Retrace Our Steps”: Got Emotional Joy and /or Angst? Do a Reality Check on Our Heart!
For the purposes of this Training Table feast of the heart, please consider two things:

First, the connections between our HEART, our EMOTIONS, and our LIFE lived out is COMPLICATED. No situation in life, no matter how apparently easy to assess and resolve, should be done “slam bam”, simplistically, for convenience sake, impatiently, or devoid of a holistic approach! It’s complicated, and the solutions can and will last for eternity!

Anything short of the best thing is an idolatrous, devilish, base, and a harmful thing.

By using any variety of today’s “emotion controlling or mitigating treatments” ALONE, we are simply (RE: complicatedly) suppressing the TRUTH about the HEART of the problem. It’s just a slower and  more destructive death. We must retrace our steps back to the truths and the falsehoods of our HEART.

Second, please review the ideas (below) connected to each of the Proverbial passages above. They may help in the pursuit of God’s wisdom and His strategic, tender, and loving care of our HEART, SPIRIT, and LIFE LIVED OUT.

Anxiety and worry are heavy burdens to bear; love and encouragement can bear any burden. (Proverbs 12:15)

Hopelessness creates heart disease; the good news of the Gospel restores the heart to its Garden of Eden state. (Proverbs 13:12)

Every story, every heart, every emotion is unique; being ultimately alone is a shared experience. (Proverbs 14:10)

Putting on a happy face works for a time, but the heart desires deeper healing. (Proverbs 14:13)

Truth at peace is powerful and pervasive, while discontentedness is as deadly as a fast-spreading cancer. (Proverbs 14:30)

True words of Eden-like creativity heal; deception deals a deathblow to the heart and emotions. (Proverbs 15:4)

A happy heart makes for happy demeanor; wisdom and foolishness perpetually vie for control through the journey of faith. (Proverbs 15:13-14)

Subjectivity is never innocent. God is a God who knows all and intervenes to help us discern our true intentions. (Proverbs 16:2)

A guilty conscience is all-consuming; being right with God creates a humbly confident heart the world will never understand. (Proverbs 28:1)

Treasure up God’s True Truth in your heart: Joy, contentment, peace, and a “blind” (to the differences in humankind) and an open-handed stewardship of your time, talent, and treasure will bless you with all the fulfillment you could ever dare hope for or imagine.

Please, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23). Seek to be self-aware enough to know when you’re “living someone else’s emotional life” (EMOTIONAL VOYEURISM). And take the warning signs… to heart.

Looking forward to seeing you all at the Training Table very soon!


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