Don’t Follow Your Heart

Don't Follow Your Heart

Watching a movie the other night reminded me of how we are bombarded by media with the message to “follow your heart.” For example, a popular Disney movie has the song that says “if only I knew what my heart was telling me,”[1] and portrays it as the basis on which decisions should be based.

On a more subtle level, here are some examples of ways this message sometimes comes across or gets adopted into our thinking:

  • You can rely solely on what you experience or feel to determine the validity of your spiritual condition. For example, you can rely on a warm feeling or experience of happiness for assurance of salvation instead of anchoring your assurance on what God says in His Word about salvation through repentance and belief in His Son. Or you can assume if you don’t “feel” close to God, you’re not.
  • You should make decisions based on how you feel–marry someone if you feel in love; divorce them if you don’t.

The problem with following our heart or feelings is that the Bible tells us our heart is deceitful and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9)! It’s not an accurate gauge to follow.

We need to follow the Truth, which our Maker has shown us in His Word, instead, knowing that He is the One before whom we will have to give an account (Hebrews 4:13) and that His Word is right and true (Psalm 33:4).

The story below illustrates how silly it would be if we applied this same follow-your-heart thinking in ordinary life decisions. I hope you’ll smile, and that the story will help be a reminder to you to live life by God’s Word, not feelings.

Kate

P.S. For more on this topic, here’s an excellent podcast by Revive Our Hearts addressing this topic of living by the Truth, not our emotions.


Evelyn decided one morning to live life by following her heart. She woke up with her alarm, and turned it off. Her heart said she needed more sleep. Never mind the fact that she would miss work—she didn’t really feel like working anyway.

When she finally got up, she went to make herself a nutritious smoothie like normal, but then decided her heart longed for sugary cereal instead. So that’s what she had to eat.

After breakfast, she normally exercised, but not today! Her heart certainly said no to that! So she sat and watched TV all morning instead.

A few weeks later, her friend Amelia found her still sitting on the couch. She hardly recognized her dear friend. Evelyn had gained weight to the point that she no longer fit inside her clothes. She was crying when Amelia walked into the room, as she just found out she’d been fired from her job, as she had missed too many days at work.

Evelyn sobbed on her friend’s shoulders. “What will I do? How will I pay my bills?”

Amelia tried to comfort her friend. “What happened?” she asked. “Why didn’t you go to work?”

“I was just trying to follow my heart,” Evelyn sobbed.

Amelia shook her head. “Our hearts don’t make good guides. You have to live life by the truth, Evelyn.”

“I see that now,” Amelia sobbed. “Oh, what do I do?”

Amelia was firm, but kind. “You do what you should have done from the beginning: stop following your heart and live by the truth. Come on, let’s start by getting you cleaned up. It’s going to be a hard road of change, but there’s no time like the present to start.”

With that, Evelyn got up off the couch.

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9 (kjv)

Get Free Short Stories Via Email
Subscribe to our short story list--you'll get a free eBook of short stories too!
We respect your privacy.

Short Story: Truth Glasses

Darkness—oppressive darkness. It was all Emma could see. No matter which way she looked, there it was staring back at her. Each path she could take led to the same thing: more darkness. What had become of light? Did it even exist anymore?

Perhaps it did, somewhere. Emma knew at the end of her journey there’d be light. But there was no more light on the journey, of that she felt sure.

Emma’s last several miles had been filled with obstacles. Now all she could see were dark shadows stretching out before her.

“It’s just so discouraging,” Emma moaned to her traveling companion, Sarah. “I’m not sure why my father set me on this journey in the first place.”

“Okay, I know it seems discouraging,” Sarah replied. “But you’re not seeing the truth, Emma. Yes, there’s darkness, but there’s light too. There’s night, but there’s also day. You’ve got to put those glasses on.”

“Glasses?” Emma asked listlessly.

“Yes, you know, the ones your father gave you.”

Right—the glasses. Her father had given her glasses to help her see the world as it really was. Emma was pretty sure the glasses wouldn’t change anything—that she was already seeing everything accurately—but she pulled them out and dutifully held them up to her eyes anyway.

Wait—there was light amid what before had seemed only darkness! What a difference it made to look at the situation through the lenses of truth.


“Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” John 17:7 (ESV)

“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'” John 8:31-32 (ESV)

Short Story: Ignoring the Lantern

Short Story: Ignoring the Lantern

Short Story: Ignoring the LanternThe children started on their journey with a light heart. Their father had given them everything they needed to make the journey, including a lantern to light their path.

There was just one problem. As odd as it might sound, the children weren’t using their lantern. They carried it with them–but they didn’t turn it on. Instead, they tried to force their way through in the darkness.

It was comically sad to watch their progress. They agonized over their steps, stumbling forward, all the while failing to turn on the lantern that would have illuminated their path. They complained about the darkness, allowed discouragement and depression to grip their heart, and wondered if their father had forgotten them. Yet all the while, they failed to turn on the lantern he’d provided. They carried it with them and talked about it with one another, but it didn’t seem to occur to them that it would only light their path if they actually turned it on. The few brief times they turned it on, they did so out of ritual, not really using it to look at the path.

Oh, how they were missing out! Had they only let it, they’d have discovered that the lantern’s light would have dispelled the darkness and shown them the truth about the path on which they were walking. When, oh when, would they let it light their path?

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105 (ESV)

Short Story: Test It

story test it

story test itThe jeweler turned the stone over and over again in his hand, rubbing it, smelling it, and examining it carefully under polarized light. He wasn’t about to buy a fake stone.

Julie waited patiently. She had no idea her stone would be subjected to so many different tests! “It’s real, I tell you. I paid good money for it.”

The jeweler looked up and shook his head. “I’m sorry to hear that,” he replied. “It’s not real amber. See? Look at it in the light.” The jeweler held the stone up to the ultraviolet light again.

Julie looked at the stone. It simply looked like the stone to her.

“As you turn it around and examine it in the light, you don’t see a rainbow full of colors, do you?” The jeweler asked.

Julie shook her head. “No. So what, though?”

“True amber would have an iridescent look under polarized light. I’m sorry, but I’m afraid what you have there isn’t really amber. The light doesn’t lie.”

Julie buried her head in her hands. Oh, why hadn’t she tested the stone before she invested everything she had to buy it?

“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Acts 17:11 (KJV)

but test everything; hold fast what is good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21 (ESV)

Short Story: Enjoy the Journey

Short Story

Short StoryAlthough Emma had told her father he could drive her wherever he chose, she seemed to be having a hard time relaxing and letting him do so. Every so often, she had actually grabbed the steering wheel, attempting to turn the car where she thought it should go.

Then she’d remember and let go again, relaxing for a few minutes and letting her father drive. That is, until she forgot again…

“You know,” her father reminded her after she began panicking about the direction they were going. “I’ve got this trip all planned out. I know where I’m going.”

Emma smiled up at her father, a wave of relief splashing over her. Her father knew just where he was taking her, and he knew and loved her perfectly. Why did she keep thinking she knew better?

“Now,” her father continued, “how about relaxing and enjoying the journey? Look out that window—isn’t that a beautiful sight?”

Emma gasped as she looked out the window. The sun was rising, spreading warmth and light in all directions. What a breathtaking scene she’d been missing out on!

“Oh, Father!” she cried. “I don’t want to miss out on one more minute of the journey.”


“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10 (KJV)

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 (KJV)

[page_section template=’1′ position=’default’ padding_bottom=’on’ padding_top=’on’]

The God We PraiseLooking for a way to cultivate a heart of gratitude in your children?

Check out the Thanksgiving Devotional, the God We Praise. For the 21 days leading up to and including Thanksgiving, look at an attribute of God each day together. The devotional includes coloring pages for children (along with instructions on how to put them together into their own little books), as well as fun activity ideas that reinforce that day’s readings.

[thrive_link color=’green’ link=’https://www.christianperspective.net/product/the-god-we-praise-e-book’ target=’_self’ size=’medium’ align=”]Learn More[/thrive_link]

[/page_section]

Which Way to Go?

Short Story: Which Way to Go?

Short Story: Which Way to Go?There once was a sheep who didn’t know which way to go. The path she had been following had ended, leaving her in the middle of a small clearing that was surrounded by woods on all sides.

Upon closer investigation, there were many paths heading into the woods. But which path should she take?

Panic began to set in to the little sheep’s mind. She began racing around in circles, hoping somehow she could make the overwhelmed feeling go away. How was she to figure this out?

Then she felt a familiar pressure on her side. It was her shepherd’s rod. He was here with her! He would lead and guide her. As she stepped forward, he would use his gentle rod to direct her steps.

Peace returned. Her shepherd knew what he was doing. She knew her shepherd would never leave or forsake her. Her shepherd had literally laid down his life for her. She was in good hands.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (KJV)

 [Jesus is speaking] “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.” John 10:14 (KJV)