They say that men are more intellectual than women. I think that women are often offended by this statement because it’s natural to equate the word intellectual with ‘smart,’ but that is not the meaning I’m talking about. Men are more led by their heads and women by their hearts. Agreed? Good.
I have found this to be especially true with me: I am very led by my head. This wasn’t always true. I used to be very emotionally led. I think somewhere along my path in college I unintentionally started making myself more heady. I think this can be seen in my organizational approach of listing everything: to-do lists, pro and con lists, prayer intention lists… I wanted to eliminate the stress of having so much to do that I attempted and almost succeeded at making my life into a science. In the process of eliminating this stress, I think I began to destroy my ability to have feelings.
I miss being led by my heart. Sure, sometimes it gets me into trouble, but I believe it’s the way we were meant to live! “We were meant to live for so much more. Have we lost ourselves?” (Switchfoot) I don’t want to erase all logic and structure from my life, but I do want to start letting my heart be the leader and my head simply a guide.
My relationship with God needs more of my heart. I don’t know that it mentions this in the creation story, but I’d like to believe that God created my heart before he created my brain. My heart speaks out to me and leads me back to Him, “Come, says my heart, seek His face. Your face, O Lord do I seek” (Ps 27:8). My brain is meant to bring me closer to Him, “…knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been granted to you…” (Mt 13:11), but so often it gets in the way! “This is why I speak to them in parables, because they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand” (Mt 13:13).
How often do I look but never see past the surface or hear or read what’s being said but never understand the meaning? A lot, because I never let these experiences pass my mind and sit in the contemplation of my heart. I keep them trapped in the cage of my brain until they get lost in the recesses of my memory and are of no more danger to affecting my scientific way of life.
When a majority of my relationship with God relies on my ability to understand Him in my head, I am failing to fall in love with Him. Relationship is an experience, not a science. God is pleading to have more of my heart and to experience His love more fully.
I imagine that when He was accepting His cross, He was not making a pro and con list or estimating if He would have enough strength to carry His cross all the way up to Calvary. No, I am certain He was thinking of me and as He thought of me, His heart beat faster and His strength increased. As His tears and His blood poured out He still, even then, knew joy in His heart because of the love He knew, in His heart, He was showing me in that moment. That was all heart. I want to live like that.
Today, let’s consider the ways we let our brains get in the way of our relationship with Christ and let Him show us how to experience Him from our hearts.
“Living with Christ is not a contest of minimizing risks, planning strategies, or prudently calculating cost/benefit. Living with Christ is a recklessly generous, open-handed, open-hearted, full-tilt run; a sanctifying contest of perseverance and strength, a contest played with everything you’ve got and all that you are” (Fr. P. N. Powell OP).