A few years ago, I resolved to chew my food more slowly. You could say I had a bad habit of eating too quickly; I am the type to devour my food. You can ask my family to confirm this truth. My resolution lasted a week.
This year I am again trying to chew my food more slowly, as well as step my clothing style up, and better my handwriting. My hope is that this year’s resolution will not once again die out like a fast flame.
Have you given thought to your resolution this year? Now that we are a little way into 2020, perhaps we can adopt a new vision.
I cannot help but ask myself, “Is there a deeper purpose than simply losing 15 pounds? Earning a promotion at work? Chewing food more slowly?”
What if this year, we sought out radical New Year’s resolutions? What if we found our hearts?
There is nothing more tragic than going through life in captivity, a prisoner to both security and fear, not living according to what our hearts really desire: adventure and risk, joy and excitement, freedom and greatness, sacrifice and meaning. What I mean by finding our hearts is that we find true purpose, fulfillment.
I have observed a comfortable Western culture. Why don’t we shake off its influence this year and take hold of resolutions far deeper than a hungry stomach and more mysterious than the way some people dress these days?
The heart is at the centre of all of us. From it derives our passions, hopes and longings. Through it comes our emotive hills and valleys, a wellspring of happiness and sorrow. By it comes our capacity for total freedom and unimaginable adventure. When we are not living with our hearts, we allow the lies of fear, comfort, and complacency to direct our trajectory to a slow death: a life that wasn’t ever fully lived. We exchange the truth that we were made for greatness with a lie that we were made for comfort.
When we find our hearts, our lives come alive.
I recall a simple example last year when I followed my heart’s desire. I moved to Ottawa from Montreal for a new role in ministry. After having moved, I was looking to play some kind of sport. Soccer was an option, as was ultimate Frisbee. However, I found my hockey stick and I knew it was calling for me. I did some research and found a good ball hockey league close to where I live, on a time during the week that was convenient. Now I look forward to playing my ball hockey game each Wednesday. I am brought to life mid-week because I know there’s a fun game of hockey to play.
The call deep inside our hearts might be the playing of a favourite sport, repairing a relationship, taking someone out on a date, or growing a talent. Yes, it could be more than simply wanting to be a better person and chewing food with careful attention. It is the urge within us that, when opened, takes a life of its own and guides us to live. It is time we ask what our hearts desire. We should not be passive people or we will allow the heart to die a slow death.
Perhaps an unchecked call might be the spiritual longing for communion with a God who intimately knows us and loves us. Have I ever been unsatisfied with my life because there’s something deeper at stake? Do I yearn for something only God can fulfill?
Augustine was in desperate need, caught in many passions, and was unsatisfied. He wrote: Fecisti nos ad te, Domine, et inquietum est cor nostrum donec requiescat in te. “You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.”
It is through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ that we find fulfillment. A relationship with God made man, who knows our condition of emptiness, of slavery to despair and destitution of soul, and who sees our good desire for union and communion. It is there we find true purpose.
Growing up, I tried to find purpose in sports, academic success and popularity. I felt empty. When I attended university, I began to explore life’s bigger questions. I got involved with a Catholic group on campus that helped me discover a personal relationship with Jesus. The Gospel message was shared with me during the faith study series I participated in. I learned that Jesus Christ came down from heaven to restore our broken relationship with God caused by sin. I discovered that we find our ultimate fulfilment in a real relationship with Jesus Christ, who loves us intimately and personally. My heart came to life after asking God to be at the center of my life.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26)
A heart of flesh lives. It feels the happiness and the sorrow, the joy and the grief. It believes, it hopes, it loves. Jesus dealt with our problems of imperfection and sin to give each of us a new heart, a new direction and a new life.
Through a relationship with Jesus Christ, we may experience an adventure of life to the full. Do you not think that the patient who received a successful heart transplant would look at life with a new purpose, seeing how they have a second chance to live? Jesus is the true surgeon of our heart. Thus begins a discovery of the deepest calling within the depths of our heart. Deeper still than chewing our food with grace.
So why settle for anything less, than a life of tremendous zeal as a cup overflowing with actualized potential? There is more to life than a resolution of achieving a timid goal akin to losing weight or earning more money, or as silly as eating food properly. If we find our hearts, we will experience the fullness of what life is all about. Jesus Christ ultimately fulfills the restlessness within each of us. And through a relationship with God, there is a new adventure. Take hold this year, and may we find our hearts.