You know what it’s like to look in the wrong place…like the last time you looked for your car in the airport parking lot after a long trip. Sometimes we think we know just where to look but we’re off by a mile. Most of us think our thinking is the center of who we are. At least that’s what our thoughts would have us believe. But when Jesus said, “the kingdom of God is within you,” he wasn’t talking about your skull. St. Paul was more explicit. He said that our hearts are the dwelling place of God (Ephesians 3.17-19).
For most of us the heart is a kind of airy-fairy name for our emotions. But for a Middle Easterner, and therefore for the writers of the Bible, the heart is not merely emotion, nor is it the life-pumping organ in our chests. The heart is the core, the guts, the abdomen, the true center of the body.
So, the center of who we are, the place where God dwells within us, in not in the head. Despite what your thoughts want you to believe.
We modern people are not the only ones to be troubled by distracting thoughts that think they rule the roost. But we modern people certainly weren’t helped out of that trouble by the 17th century thinker, Rene Descartes who said, “I think therefore I am.” Most of us also think that thinking defines who we are.
It doesn’t. Our hearts do. And the sooner we learn to draw our thoughts down into our hearts, but more whole we’ll be.
Remember, your center is not where you think.
So long as you think it is, your praying will be off by a lot more than a mile. And you’ll not likely know much intimacy with God either.