Danae Geels, Columnist
I’m an oxymoron. How so? I am casually wholehearted. Why? Let me explain…
Joel 2:12-13 (NKJV) “Now, therefore” says the Lord, “Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm.
For those of you who are wondering, the definition of rend is “to split or tear apart or in pieces.” How easy it is to think that these verses don’t apply to me though. After all, I’m a pretty good person. I’ve never traveled too far off the path. All that weeping and mourning and fasting must apply to other people. You know, the ones who really need God’s grace. Me? Thanks, but I’ll be fine just sitting over here in this corner tearing my “clothes” a little bit…being casually wholehearted.
But then there’s other people—those who have truly rendered their heart to God. They’re full of life, joy, hope–you name it. They love to tell others about God’s grace. They have compassion and they’re really kind and sacrificial for others—even those who aren’t to them. Basically, they act like Jesus. They love Him with their whole heart.
I want that too! But there’s a problem–I’m going to have to get out of my comfortable corner, get rid of my “clothing” that I’ve become quite good at tearing, and actually do what Joel 2 tells me.
I’m going to have to turn back to God by weeping, mourning, and fasting. It’s going to be really uncomfortable, and I’m definitely not looking forward to it. But I know deep down, this is what I really want and need.
And it would be extra scary if Joel didn’t remind us that God is gracious, merciful, slow to anger, great in kindness, and that he relents from doing harm. So even though I’m not looking forward to the painful process of “rending”, I’m definitely looking forward to everything I’ll receive from God along the way.
Maybe then I’ll stop being an oxymoron and start being truly wholehearted. In fact, there won’t be anything casual about my life. Because God’s helped me tear my heart to pieces and there’s nothing left of it that’s capable of being casual, I’ll invest my whole heart into everything as I passionately live for Jesus.
And then maybe, just maybe, people will eventually look at me from their comfortable corners and want what I have, too. Maybe they’ll notice something is different about me. Maybe I’ll be able to help them leave their corner and go through the most painful and beautiful process anyone would possibly make.
I wish I could say that this rending process is a one-time deal, but it’s actually a lifetime process. I’m still rending my heart, but I’m also definitely experiencing God’s grace, mercy, and kindness in ways I never dreamed of. I’m never going to be perfectly wholehearted this side of heaven, but I can rest assured that God’s amazing grace is helping me become less oxymoronic each day.