If you were to make a list of everything you’ve ever heard about the heart, you might not know where to begin. There are countless articles and experts and spiritual leaders and doctors and artists who have weighed in on the subject. And yet, the heart is often overlooked – and especially where it matters most.

We tend to compartmentalize matters of the heart, relegating them into two categories: romance and passion. People in love and people on a mission are all heart. They can’t help themselves! When we’re in love, or pursuing something we love, our actions, emotions, and mindset shift dramatically.

In contrast, when we find ourselves feeling unmotivated, or when we see someone walk away from an opportunity or a relationship, what do we often say? “My/their heart wasn’t in it.” Instinctively, we understand that if our hearts aren’t involved, our effort and commitment is likely to wane. If we’re bypassing it in certain areas of our life, it’s likely that we (and those around us) are noticing it.

What areas of your life are missing your heart?


A Resource to Guard and Give

Our hearts summon everything about us – our brains, attitudes, bodies, time, energy, and effort – and apply them towards a common goal. At our very best, we’re aiming at something that benefits others AND ourselves. Focusing solely on others can lead to burnout, resentment, and bitterness. Focusing solely on ourselves can lead to pride, greed, and arrogance.

If our hearts are central to all that we do, then they’re certainly worth protecting. King Solomon, one of the wisest men to ever live, knew the importance of this principle. “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23)

How are you caring for your heart? Are you surrounding yourself with people and sources of goodness, wisdom, truth, and love? Are there toxic elements or habits you need to eliminate from your daily diet? (You may want to take some time to meditate on these questions. You’ll likely think of a few things right away. A few others, especially ones you are avoiding, will likely follow when you have the courage to really look).


Symptoms of a Healthy, Heart-Centered Life

What if your heart really motivated everything you did? You’d likely borrow from some areas of your life where your heart is already showing up. You’d also make some new choices to align with your newfound focus. And hopefully, you’d show increasing signs of a fully integrated life:

You’d Be Authentic. You know an authentic person when you meet one. Their actions and attitudes are consistent. They are honest about who they are, and are not pretending to be something they’re not. They inspire and motivate others to be like them. In work, in relationships, in faith, in life, choose to lead authentically from your heart. And if you notice something coming from your heart that you don’t like, own it and commit to addressing it.

You’d See Clearly. People who lead from the heart see themselves and those around them with clarity and care. Instead of minimizing their own faults and inflating those of others, they work to love everyone around them as themselves. And they act in the best interest of everyone they encounter – friends and enemies alike.

You’d Focus on What Matters. Without involving our hearts, it’s easy to be distracted from making a real difference in the world. How much of our time is spent chasing distractions, comfort, or selfish desires? A heart-centered person gets out of themselves and on to the important work of creating, working toward, and sharing a better life with others.

Start with your own heart. And see what happens!