Have you ever heard the phrase, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too”? Growing up, my mom always used to tell me that silly little phrase to help me understand that I couldn’t always have two things at the same time whenever I had to make a decision.
This simple idea—in order to have one thing, you must give up something else—is a basic principle of everyday life. But honestly, I had never thought about the spiritual application of this principle in my life until a specific moment last year.
I was in the middle of a normal day at work, and I had one of those thoughts—you know the “Wow I really should lose just a couple pounds and I’d be prettier. Ugh I’m not quite as good as my co-worker. Well, I know God loves me, but boy, I must be a piece of work for Him.”—one of those subtle judgmental thoughts. I didn’t even think twice about this little degrading comment, because it felt normal for me.
But in that moment, I felt convicted and heard God say, “Daughter, my truth can never fully dwell in you where lies are allowed to live.”
You see, the Lord had been dealing with my heart over the last year about a lot of unhealthy habits I had, and I was making a lot of progress. I had been to counseling, and I knew God’s truth about my situation. I could quote verses all day and tell you what I was supposed to say, but deep down, the lies were still there. I had made huge steps to getting free!
I thought, “Lord, I know your truth. You have been teaching me all these things. I don’t understand what you mean.”
So over the course of that week, I began thinking about how the Lord wants to dwell in my heart—to make it His home. And then I thought about the state of my heart. I knew God lived there, but I also knew lies were still dwelling in my heart. All the negative thoughts I believed had to go somewhere. God’s truth was just one of the tenants I was hosting in the home of my heart. While I had cleaned out my house and made room for the truth, in the basement of my heart I kept the lies, because I was too afraid to let go of them.
But in that moment, I realized if I wanted God’s truth to fully dwell in me, I had to get rid of the lies that were taking up space in my heart.
I couldn’t state I was perfectly made, and believed I was too fat. I couldn’t trust God fully, but resorted to my old habits every time something went wrong. God was gently telling me I couldn’t have my cake and eat it too.
At some point, if I wanted to fully accept God’s truth and let His thoughts become mine, I had to choose to reject the lies—big and small—to make room for God’s truth.
I wish I could say in that moment that it was easy and that I immediately kicked those lies to the curb. The reality is, it took me a year of slowly, day by day asking God to help me go through my cluttered heart and get rid of everything that kept Him from being able to occupy my whole heart, to finally reject those lies. I still occasionally have to clean out my closets, when I discover old lies that have been hidden there too long.
But every time I choose to make room for God, I find He has more to give.
God wants to dwell fully in our hearts, but He will never force His way in. What is taking up space in your heart that could be given over to God?
Let’s be people who make room for God in our hearts, so that He can dwell in us fully.