I finally found my writing space. I love it. It is my favorite place to sit. It looks out onto our cul de sac so that I can watch my kids ride bikes while I work. The sun sets on this side of the house, so the late afternoon light is warm, and sparkles with inspiration. The view outside the big windows make me feel like a nine-year-old again, sitting in the trees with her journal writing about her little life in a big world. The desk is purposefully small and intended only for writing and studying. My husband uses it to do his writing and studying for sermons, and my daughters use it occasionally for schoolwork. I try my hardest not to allow it to become piled with papers and reminders and bills, but life happens and clutter gathers. We have a work desk in the kitchen for that mess, but the mess doesn’t seem to want to be contained, much to my dismay.
My struggle is this. I find that when I sit down in a cluttered space, I can’t remember what it was I sat down to do. I am immediately distracted by an unfinished to do list left over from last week, or a piece of mail that needs to be dealt with. Suddenly, the deep thinking I came to do gets pushed aside…yet, again (insert deep sigh here) and I get lost in chores. I’ve tried to make this desk a sacred space. A space where I can contemplate and dream, study and write. I want to keep this space pure.
It is the same for our hearts, is it not?
I can easily find myself sitting down for a moment of study and prayer only to be distracted with the clutter of this world. There is so much that can pile up on our souls that we forget what it is we are longing for and need the most. We forget what is our heart’s true desire.
Jesus talks about this in Mark 4. He talks about the sower throwing out the seed. Some seed falls and gets gobbled up by the birds. Some seed falls on rocks and never takes root. Some falls among thorns, and gets choked out. But some falls on good soil and produces mature fruit. He explains to his disciples that the seed is the word and our hearts are the soil. The condition of our heart determines whether the seed will take root or not.
Which of those describe your heart? For me, I recognize the soil with thorns. In verse 18 he says of the thorn infected soil, “They are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.” That’s me. I am easily distracted by the cares of the world and the stuff that is sitting around me. I have desires for other things that would become false idols to my heart and choke out the word. Sin has a way of taking root and depleting my heart of the life-giving Word of God.
For the past several years, the Holy Spirit has been rooting these thorns out of my soul. I am so thankful, for though dying to one’s self is a painful process it is also a necessary one. Not all of the thorns in my heart are necessarily bad things, some of them are good things, like my children’s health or their education. But when these become the things my heart desires most, and I become obsessed and overly anxious with maintaining them, the word of God and the gospel of Jesus, gets choked out.
By the grace of God, I desperately long to have clean hands and a pure heart, free of thorns, that are doing the good works that God has prepared for me to do. Even more, my greatest desire is to rest in the presence of the One who has created me for His delight. When I have uncluttered space to consider Him, I remember that He is my greatest desire. There are fewer thorns today than there used to be. For this I am deeply grateful and continually encouraged that Jesus will continue to give me the grace to make more progress.
What is the condition of your heart? What kind of soil has the seed of the Gospel found after it was thrown out to you? Is there fruit growing in your life that points to the person and work of Jesus? My prayer for you today is that you would find the necessary, uncluttered space to till the soil of your heart. Repent where there needs to be repentance. Rest in the grace that has already been given. Allow the Holy Spirit to root out the thorns. Allow the Gospel of Jesus to take root in your heart, and rejoice in the fruit that brings glory to God.