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By Jacquelyn Sheppard
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When we coach people with the Heart Plan, the whole goal is to help them get in touch with their hearts. "Heart" is our emotions, but it's also something more. God writes His desires on our hearts in a way that they show up in our desires. As we mature, it becomes obvious when His desires and our desires overlap in a Kingdom sweet spot. That's where "life" happens. Whether it's abundance or persecution doesn't matter as much as being sons and daughters who get to do what our Father is doing. It's really fun…even if it's hard!
So How do We Get Disconnected? – There are Two Ways:
We never connect in the first place. Many believers grow up and never learn to hear God's voice. They conclude that His will and His word are borne out of the principles of scripture and doctrine and they just set about "living by principle." These folks get intellectual in their faith and doctrinaire in their opinions. The God of principle doesn't have emotions and his followers don't either, they disconnect from their own emotions and the desires of their heart.
Life can be hard when things go wrong. Our hearts naturally conclude that God must not care or He would do a better job of warning us and protecting us. So, instead of dropping our faith we suck it up, and control our emotions – and disconnect. The first casualty is our ability to relate to people because we are emotionally unavailable. The second casualty is that we lose discernment of the desires of our heart and become prone to carnality inspired by self-pity instead of the heart of God. We give up on our dreams.
Either path causes us to view God as a "hard man" who is too aloof to be concerned with the details of my life.
I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. Luke 19:21 NIV
Several things are natural consequences of disconnecting from our hearts and emotions:
If I'm a servant, I'm afraid to try things because there's no safety net (he's a hard man).
I'm afraid of my emotions and control them. I don't want my bitterness and disappointments to get out of control. I become stoic. It's hard for me to read people and empathize with their emotions.
If I'm a leader, my trust issues leave me afraid to let go of control and naturally prone to be authoritarian. I know God's principles and I control people and circumstances to make things turn out right…just like my concept of an all-controlling "god."
Although I don't admit it to myself, I may be mad at God for not meeting my expectations for a trouble-free life.
This diet of self-control and controlling others is a religious spiral that separates us from the life of God and costs us our spiritual sensitivity with God and other people.
They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. Eph 4:18-19 NIV
How Jesus Heals the Disconnected
He shows up. Our hearts are connected (and healed) by an experience with the person of Jesus in the presence of God. He talks to us. It feels very much like being loved. When I ask Jesus how he connects my heart, here's what he said:
For me – I show you my heart when I talk to you. I've chosen you and I tell you why. I have a place for you and I share where it is. I've made room for the gifts and callings I've put in your life and I open doors that no man can shut. I'm the one standing beside you in the fire. I'm not the one causing difficulty, but I am the one who can resurrect you from the defeat. As I show you my Kingdom purpose for your life, you will have perspective for the warfare and how it strengthens you.
As for God, His way is blameless; The word of the Lord is tried; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him. Psalm 18:30 NASU
They afflicted his feet with fetters, He himself was laid in irons; Until the time that his word came to pass, The word of the Lord tested him. Psalm 105:18-19 NASU
Identity – So, I'm no longer a nameless, faceless servant-cog in a religious machine…trying to obey and serve and make progress, knowing I'll never be perfect, probably never get it right, and I'm not really motivated for it anyway.
I'm loved so much I can't get it wrong. I'm a son with an inheritance to multiply. I'm a king and Jesus is the King of kings. And, I have many brothers and sisters who are also in the Kingdom and we're all part of something much bigger than ourselves… blessing nations and connecting hearts.
My heart for people – Jesus can also reveal His heart for other people. How He's uniquely chosen them. How he's created a place for them. How He's made room for their gift. If I can pull that prophetic string when I talk to other people, guess what happens? They love me? I don't have to solve all their problems. I don't have to judge them. I'm just helping them hear Jesus' voice for themselves… and they connect and come alive!
My heart for nations – Jesus can also reveal His heart for nations. How He's chosen them. How He's created a special role for them. How He's made room for their gift in the world. Now if I can pull that prophetic string and put it into words when we are in that nation, people will hear it because it's in their DNA and the Holy Spirit has been talking to them about it for centuries. It's exciting to see the connection between our role in the Kingdom and its contribution to what God is doing on a national level.