This Sunday I heard Jesus' parable of the sower from the Gospel of Luke. It's the one about the seed falling on different kinds of ground, with differing results. Some seed gets trampled on the hardened path, some falls on rocky ground and sprouts up but quickly withers away, some grows up but gets choked by weeds and thorns and some of the seed goes into good soil and produces up to a hundred times more grain than was sown originally. The soil represents our heart and its condition. The seed represents the life and goodness that comes to us from God. How we receive God's messages, words and provision depends on the state of our heart. The state of our heart in turn determines how fruitful, abundant or fulfilling our life becomes. So we can tell the condition of our heart by checking for any areas of lack, unfulfilled needs or inability to give. So how do we cultivate a heart to be the good soil that is productive and enriching for us and those around us?
A hard heart won't even allow Divine guidance to come in, so our heart must be soft and tender. We harden our hearts to prevent further hurts. We find various ways to be defensive, such as cutting off from people or being critical and perfectionist. To soften our heart we need to have compassion for the woundedness of others and to be kind to one another in our words and behaviour. A shallow heart comes from our insecurities. We adopt superficial masks and try to hide our shortcomings in a form of false pride. To deepen our heart connections we must be open and honest about our human weaknesses. We don't always have to put this into words. Simply acknowledging sensations, such as anxiety, in our heart while being with another person allows us to hold the truth of who we are at greater depth. If our heart is choked with regrets or bitterness from the past, we need to clear these out as soon as possible. We have to forgive ourselves and others for mistakes or poor choices that leave us disadvantaged today. Let them go. Release your cares and burdens into the capable hands of God. Cry your tears, shout out the anger or wrap yourself in a blanket until you are warm, peaceful and ready to sing, dance and run again. A barren heart produces poor relationships characterised by loneliness, neediness or attempts to control. Life becomes a struggle, with low energy, low income or lack of companionship. To transform this situation we must be present, engaged and active, making the most of everything God provides.
It takes rain as well as sunshine to produce a good crop. Weeds grow without effort where there is neglect. Good soil requires attention to make it friutful. So even the difficult days are part of God's plan to test and refine us in preparation for an abundant harvest. Our tears and the heat of anger can soften and break up hardened areas and begin to transform the wilderness. Start from a place of tender-hearted vulnerability and a willingness to remain in relationship. Our active engagement in the processes of life will turn God's creation into a garden paradise to be shared in enjoyable, fruitful relationships with our God and with each other.
To find and follow the path of your heart contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org Corrina Kennedy, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire UK