Hiya ladies! Thanks so much for meeting me here. We’re officially starting day 1, post 1, jumping off the edge of what is comfortable and hoping to arrive at the end of the month stronger, healthier, and more secure in who we are as Christian women. If we haven’t met yet – it’s so nice to have you with us.
But for today, we’re diving in head first, and I don’t want to waste any time.
We’re here to talk about the concept of tough, and I bet you can relate in that during hard seasons and each unique challenges throughout life here on earth, tough has looked a little different.
Within each stage of life, there have been hard things that I have either cowered to, or risen above and overcome.
There have been times that were difficult because of my own doing and poor choices. Yet, there have also been circumstances and situations where someone else’s sin deeply affected me to the point of changing my life story forever.
Sometimes tough looks like saying ‘No thanks’ to sweet tea while fasting from sugar. Other times, saying no will be the hardest thing you’ve ever done.
Sometimes tough looks like a season of loneliness, depression, or anxiety. Other times tough is fighting back a social media #humblebrag in order to not cause others to feel less than or left out.
I hope you think it’s fair to maintain a common ground when we define tough. In that very first post from last week we said there are things we’ll label as ‘shallow tough,’ and situations or circumstances ‘deep and excruciatingly tough.’
Shallow tough is the first-world, ‘I choose to get up early and go to the gym’ kind-of thing. Shallow tough certainly has its place, and is very necessary to life.
Deep and excruciatingly tough is different. It’s the thing you didn’t choose, the funeral you never expected to plan; the devastation that forced it’s way into your life and now you have to deal with it kind of tough.
When we say shallow and deep – think literally. Like how far you are out into the ocean literally. In the shallow, the water can be cold., and we might lose our balance if a big wave crashes in just right on our knees. But out in the deep is something very different. Out in the deep there really is no control, no toes dug in the sand for balance, and just enough buoyancy for us to catch our breath from time to time.
Still with me?
In John 10:10, Jesus famously says: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
Our greatest Christian enemy is Satan. We have evidence throughout scripture of his attempts to ruin us. He will try to make us feel inadequate, incapable, and insecure to the point that we are left frozen to fear and failure.
Satan will try to make tough feel impossible, insurmountable, and unending. Satan will use his excellent marketing schemes make shallow tough feel like deep and excruciatingly tough, every single time.
Throughout this study, we want to learn how to Biblically follow Jesus’ promise to live life abundantly. Loving the Lord as the one, true God, and following after him with all we’ve got will be challenging, and sometimes even painful – but it will not disappoint. There will be depths we could not have gotten to any other way, there will be friendships we would not have made, there will be memories we might’ve missed – had we said no to giving God all we’ve got.
When we let God define us, and give Him back the pen as the author of our story – that is when I believe He will write Holy Grit over us.
Holy Grit: It’s high time I go ahead and define it. Because when I think about that pairing, I get fired up.
To an ordinary girl from Central Florida, permanently transplanted to South Alabama; Holy Grit is something fine and fierce. It’s a stick-to-it-ism that does not back down. It’s a fire inside lit by the one and only Holy Spirit, kept aflame through hard work and dedication to the Lord.
Holy Grit understands that there is a time and a place for all things, but that there is only this time, and this place we have on Earth to make a difference in the world.
A woman who has Holy Grit knows how to make hard decisions and follow through with them.
When a woman lives in Holy Grit, she understands the need to prioritize her life and schedule for the things that really matter. Her eternal perspective helps her find a best yes and most practical no. She loves with a passion for truth, and will speak up when necessary.
The woman who practices Holy Grit is like a prize stallion. Trained, strong, and beautiful because of her harnessed power, she is restrained when necessary, and encouraged to go 90 miles an hour when it’s time. She understands the need for authority from the highest power, but also practices self care in order to stay ready for whatever next race may come. She does not fight for position, but rises to the occasion.
I don’t know about y’all – but Holy Grit gets my heart stirring. I want that. I want to be like that woman.
Holy Grit takes time, practice, and a whole lot of scriptural truth consumed day after day, year after year, hard thing after hard thing.
So let’s take a deep breath and thank the Lord that we don’t have to be allllll of this all at once.
Let’s also not allow fear and perceived failure to threaten our attempts.
Let’s keep diving into the deep water day after day as our lungs and heart strengthen to the training of the Lord.
In our attempt to talk and write about Holy Grit, we’re calling Mark 12:30 our ‘lantern verse’ in that it’ll be the guide we use for the entire layout and structure of the study. Each week we’ll discuss the next call of obedience from the greatest commandment.
This week we are going to examine the heart. I want to know what the Bible has to say about the heart.
Today we’ll discuss a few key themes and concepts. Throughout each weeks’ quiet times, the verses I’ll ask you to read and examine have been prayerfully hand-picked to connect the dots and challenge ourselves as we journey towards tough with the goal of rising to any challenges we are facing – or about to face.
With that being said – let’s jump into our topic for today.
Heart. What does a heart with Holy Grit look like? What does a heart after God look like? What does the Bible say about heart?
Because if we are to love the Lord with all we’ve got, it will take a deeper knowledge and understanding of our entire being: heart, soul, mind, strength.
In our first-world existence, we are inundated with ideas and concepts from our culture that are completely opposite of our Christian faith. So much so, in my opinion, that part of what we need to do here will be to separate out the cleverly crafted lies (from culture and Satan) we’ve been overwhelmed with most of our lives.
For instance, how many times have you seen or heard the line, ‘Follow your heart?’ How many harmless-seeming sitcoms and RomComs include plotlines with married people chasing after each other’s’ spouses ‘because their heart told them to?’
I am pretty sure I’ve had pencil pouches, planners, and even jewelry throughout my childhood and adolescence with inscriptions of hearts and cute little sayings about the heart – and yet! I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to find any Lisa Frank inspired journals with Jeremiah 17:9 on them.
The more I pour into my studies, the more convinced I become that the Bible is not going to tell us to follow our hearts. Actually, I can prove it through scripture. The Bible tells us that our heart can, and will, lead us astray. Deuteronomy 11:16, Psalm 95:10, Isaiah 44:20, Isaiah 47:10, Hebrews 3:10 are all examples where the heart has brought trouble from it’s lack of focus on the one, true God.
And to be honest, this initially felt like the wind was let out of my sails in the oddest way. To read verse after verse about the heart failing us – it made me feel disappointed in my own heart. I think after growing up in middle-class America, surrounded by more than I ever needed, but yet living through some very real heartbreak as well – I wanted to be able to follow my heart. I want to think that my heart is a fantastic compass, always directing and guiding me where I need to go.
Yet, as I examine scripture, the evidence is clear.
Scripture clearly states, time and time again, that the heart is a fickle thing, requiring testing, training, and an intentional focus on God’s word (Proverbs 4:23, Romans 6:17).
However, the affirming and wonderful thing about the heart is the repetitive nature of the idea that when we seek the Lord with all our heart, we will find him.
Psalm 73:26 stands out to me here “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
The Biblical connection I want us to look at today is one that will use our knowledge of the Shema (if you weren’t able to read the post on it, here’s the link). One of my favorite aspects of studying the Bible is when I find what I like to call ‘ribbons of connection.’ When we study the word and take that little extra step into the deep(er) each time, eternal meets earth, and in those moments, words jump off pages and become more real than ever before.
I am continually surprised by the Bible, because I am very much still a student of it, although aren’t we all?
Anyways, within my study of the term heart in the Bible, there were a couple neat things I’d love to point out to you here.
If you remember our time in Deuteronomy last week, we are going to go back to there today, but in chapter 11 this time. In Deuteronomy 11:18, Moses has continued to impart these massively important concepts and commandments to the Israelites directly from God.
We see in verses 18-21 that he re-iterates the idea to keep God’s commandments close, to teach them to the next generation and to ‘bind them’ to their hands and as frontlets between their eyes.
Frontlets, at the time, were a customary way to literally keep God’s greatest commandments, like the Shema, at the forefront of their minds and furthermore, their lives.
What I want to show you now are 3 verses in Proverbs with similar instruction. Check out Proverbs 3:3, 6:21, and 7:3.
What are the common threads of instruction here?
There is a connected thought that we will need to keep the commands, and promises of God near. Whether it’s dry erase marker on the bathroom mirror, index cards placed around the house and office, lock screens on our phones and tablets, reminders on our phones – whatever that looks like for each of us – it will serve us well to ‘Keep the Father’s command, by binding them on our hearts always.’
What are the Biblical commands and promises you need to keep close right now?
Just like tough looks different throughout our seasons of life, I believe there will be different Biblical keys that we will need to keep close at different times. In one of my resources, the ‘frontlets’ from Deuteronomy 11 were described as small leather boxes, with ties attached. In the boxes, teeny tiny scrolls of parchment would be rolled up – each with the laws of Moses written on them. I would argue that the scrolls could have been changed out as the emphasis of prayer, and laws needing reminder would change.
Hampton Keathley wrote about the heart, “Just as the human heart needs preparation through proper diet and exercise in order to handle strenuous activity and be healthy in general, so one’s spiritual heart must be properly prepared if it is going to be able to effectively respond to God in the varied situations of life.”
I love this thought for many reasons. First, that it. is. so. true. Second, that this is exactly the point at which we begin our study, at the intersection of knowledge and application. We must take our knowledge of scripture and the promises of Christ and work to apply them to our daily lives. It will be then that we officially begin our journey towards Holy Grit.
Sometimes, God uses challenges to show us why it is so important to be well-trained. Times will come in each of our lives when we will have to flex our spiritual muscles.
I believe it will be the training sessions – whether during private time with the Lord, quietly doing the things He’s called us to; or even those incredibly non-glamorous sweat sessions that lead us to the point to where we will be ready to take on that next hard thing.
The theme for this week is to love God with all our heart. Would you, just for a minute, think on that?
What does it look like to love God with all of your heart?
And then, before we continue, please take a couple minutes to either think on these now, or write these questions down so that you can carry them with you, throughout your day to get that answer figured out for yourself.
What is your personal ‘why’ for being a part of this challenge?
What do you hope to get out of this challenge?
What might Holy Grit look like for you right now? Are there steps you could take towards it?
Thanks for joining in today! We’ll be back here tomorrow for our first guided quiet time. If you’ve signed up on the e-mail portion of the site, you’ll get all of the posts straight to your inbox first thing in the morning.
Love to you and yours, – RLD