“Challenge your Heart”


It’s a piece of advice from a friend who’s been teaching PE for many years. Although she said it in the context of walking for physical fitness, it resonated with me in a broader and deeper way.

“Challenge your heart, Yna.” I need to hear it at the start of the new year. It’s what I need to do every time I’m tempted to take the quick and easy route.

Whenever I feel lazy to rise up early to have my Quiet Time with God, I must challenge my heart and pull my lazybones out of the bed.

Whenever I feel bored with routines at work and at home, I must challenge my heart to snap out of the boredom and do what needs to be done.

Whenever I have ill feelings towards someone who provokes me to be mean, I must challenge my heart to respond with kindness instead.

When I feel hopeless about the darkness I sense hovering over the Philippines, I must challenge my heart to choose the path of hope and courage.

When other affections lure me away from the things that matter most, I must steer my heart to focus only on the essentials.

A prophet of old once wrote, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick” Jeremiah 17:9. I know that’s true about my own heart. That’s why I can’t agree with the secular world’s  mantra to “Follow your heart.”

“Challenge your heart, Yna.” Thank you, Ned, for your simple and wise advice. I will certainly do it in my walking exercises.  And, by God’s grace, I will also challenge my heart to stretch its capacity to dig deeper into the mystery of the Word; to love those people in my life that I’d rather ignore; to be brave when terror threatens in this country; and to be more joyful in the presence of her infinite Lover.















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