“So above all, guard the affections of your heart, for they affect all that you are. Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being, for from there flows the wellspring of life.” Proverbs 4:23

I’ve been thinking a lot about my thoughts and what they say about who I am and what my heart truly thinks about things. For the most part, my thoughts are happy and positive, but there are lots of times where my thoughts are negative and destructive to myself and others. Thoughts come to us every waking minute of every day. We encounter many people, images, experiences, and words all day long. We also have to deal with ourselves and it can become extremely difficult to discern whether our thoughts allow us to view the world through the lens of God or through our own limited perspective.

Recently, my family endured loss. If I’m being honest, there’s a part of me that wants to run away, hide and be angry with God for allowing this to happen. My thoughts have been anywhere from compassion all the way to anger and resentment. Throughout it all, I’m finding that it’s possible to be sad and happy, angry and at peace all at the same time. As much as I’m tempted to sit in my anger or sadness, I know in my heart that I must allow the Holy Spirit to take captive my thoughts as the scripture says. How does one come to a place of acceptance when enduring hard things? Acceptance comes when we re-orient ourselves and our circumstances within the framework of God. A place where we come to an understanding that it’s His will and His kingdom.

I don’t think I’ve ever talked to God as much as I’ve been talking to Him lately. What I’m learning is that when I surrender all of my emotions to Him, He fills my heart, soul, mind and strength with peace. He has allowed me to think all of my thoughts and feel all of my emotions but He has not left me there. Because I asked, He has guarded my heart and my mind with His peace.

The opening words of the Rules of St. Benedict says to “listen with the ears of your heart” and I don’t know a better way to sum it up. I encourage you to “listen with the ears of your heart” through stillness, silence and solitude with God. In doing this, we don’t only hear words, but we find a place of meaning in the depths of our soul.