It was announced this past month that a certain celebrity would no longer be meeting fans after his shows due to the toll it was taking on his body… which of course was received with a wide variety of emotions by many long time followers. Emotions I do not share because I am on the outside looking in on the whole thing and am left entirely unaffected by the news.

And while I could have easily moved on without a second thought on the whole issue, I noticed something almost disturbing about it all.

Last month I had the privilege of sitting front row on the run-through of a very popular late night show. Basically I got to hear all of the jokes first and yes, they were still funny when I saw them again but this time in the audience of the live recording.

It sounds amazing but I will tell you the three girls that accompanied me on the road trip were my favorite part.

Because sitting that close without all the makeup and the lights gives you an intimate look at something that is most often overlooked. Our humanity. More specifically, the humanity of the comedian who had flown thousands of miles away from his family to spend Valentine’s week with a bunch of strangers giving them a funnier version of some pretty tragic news all while the look of complete exhaustion had yet to leave his body. I wanted to scream, “Cancel tonight’s show and take a nap”. But maybe that’s just the mom in me. Because heaven knows, that audience would have stoned me for sure. However, by the look on the concerned staff and security guard’s faces I know that I was not alone in this.

And like pretty much everything in my life, God peeled back the version of that moment my eyes were processing and showed me something I wouldn’t have understood otherwise.

Our hearts are like that worn out celebrity and we have sat ourselves in the audience asking for more.

ENTERTAIN me. Make me FEEL something. SHOW me things I have never seen. Forget about how worn out and exhausted you are because of everything you’ve endured, move on! I want to see what happens next. I want to know what else is out there!

These are the things we are asking of our hearts. We want them to tell us what we are passionate about, what we love, who we love, why we love them, and sometimes even why we shouldn’t. We listen intently as they recount our stories, both wonderful and tragic, and we ask our hearts how we should feel about it all. What we should do next. We have become bystanders of our own emotions, allowing them to run the show and they’ve made a real mess of things. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying we are emotional roller coasters and we need to be stone-cold. It’s just that we have become great followers, but terrible guards, and our lives have taken the hit.

Everywhere you look there are trinkets plastered with the phrase “follow your heart”, even the books we read and movies we watch shout the same.

But have you ever thought that a follower has no real connection to the thing it is following? It doesn’t care about its well-being. It has no plans for its future. Followers just want to be entertained. No matter the cost.

Proverbs 4:23 tells us to “GUARD [our] hearts, above all else, for out of it flows the wellspring of life.” It is physically impossible to both guard and follow something. So I am sorry to say, but Disney got it wrong. We can’t follow our hearts. We can’t sit in the audience and ask to be entertained anymore. We need to take care of our lives, we need to take the responsibility seriously, and we need to take ownership of the condition that it is in.

When troubles arise, and they will, we need to be the ones stepping in to protect our hearts from anxiety.

When opportunities for offense come, and they will, we need to be the ones turning them away to protect our hearts from bitterness.

When rumors and gossip stir, and they will, we need to be the ones speaking life to protect our hearts from hate.

We have this responsibility. It is within our control. Don’t be fooled into thinking otherwise.

Our hearts effect the outcomes of our lives so no matter the circumstance, keep your heart right. Not to empower those who have mishandled you (whether they themselves are battling their own demons and are deserving of forgiveness or not), no - do it so it will be well with you.

Proverbs 4:20-27 My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.

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