Even if you're not a fan of Valentine's Day, more than likely, your thoughts turned to affection, relationships, and investment in the lives of other people. We kept it low-key with our usual breakfast—I just shaped our baked PB oatmeal into heart shapes and made some bacon as a treat. After church, we went out for lunch, and even though it was chilly we sat on the patio. We drank coffee and I wore my hood the whole time to stay warm and we just talked and laughed and ate yummy french fries. I loved it. And I really, really love my husband. 

But I'm not really writing about Valentine's Day. Today, I'm writing about homes and hearts

We're renters, but our families and many of our close friends own their own homes. Home ownership is an investment, and it requires intentional care and upkeep with projects and improvements. Heck, even cleaning is an investment of time. No one questions the importance of routine maintenance to your home. 

Case in point: we are people who always make the bed. Always. Even with this pretty light, this scene drives me crazy:

So, I had to fix it:

The example of an unmade bed may be trivial, but concept is the same: why do I not take the same care with heart maintenance? More specifically, why don't I maintain and care for my heart the way I do my home?

I'm working my way through a daily Bible study through Lent, via She Reads Truth (there is also an app version available through iTunes). What I'm learning is sobering and joy-producing (yes, both), but one truth is clear: It would be tragic for me to disregard the refining and cultivating work that my Savior longs to do with my heart. And yet, 90% of the time, I do ignore my heart.

For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.

1 Samuel 16:7

Just as a house with a rotting foundation isn't saved with a fresh coat of paint, the outward appearance of my life does not matter if I haven't tended to the innermost workings of my heart. 

Therefore, repent and turn back,

So that your sins may be wiped out,

that seasons of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.

Acts 3:19

I need to turn away from my sin (specifically, selfishness, comparison, and approval-seeking) and turn to Jesus. If I'm going to put this conviction to good use, practically, I intend to:

  1. Continue with my dedication to getting outside. I do my best thinking and processing when I'm outside. 
  2. Replace my worldly perspective of my sin with a Biblical one by spending more time in the refining Word of God.
  3. Write about it in my journal, because writing it down makes it more concrete. 

If I learn anything from examining my heart, it's that it needs a healthy dose of refreshment. Praise be to God, He tells us exactly where to look for that refreshment: the presence of the Lord. I pray that I would see my sin and my need for Jesus better, repent, and turn back [to Jesus...] and that [we would experience] seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord.