Proverbs 23:7 (AMP)As he thinks in his heart, so he is.
God's intention for your heart has always been to bind it up, making it undivided and whole, just as He promised in Ezekiel 11:19: "I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh." ~Christa Black Gifford, Heart Made Whole
Until I read Chapter Five of Christa Black Gifford's book, Heart Made Whole, I am unaware that our hearts are comprised of three distinct, but interactive parts: Emotional; Guardian, and Function. God means for these three to work in perfect balance, undivided and supportive of one another, much like I envision the Holy Trinity.
But what happens when they don't? When, instead of working in unity, these heart parts wage war within us?
It is impossible to live out our lives without encountering pain in this world. Your emotional heart knows this all too well. But if, in lieu of being expressed, this pain gets suppressed, that's when everything goes awry. Gifford says, "When you condemn your emotional heart for the normal feelings it produces, both good and bad, instead of trying to understand why it feels that way, an essential part of your heart gets stifled and shamed, eventually shutting down to cope."
Enter the guardian heart. "It's sole purpose is to keep you safe," states Gifford, "so your guardian heart will do whatever it needs to accomplish the task. It believes more than anything that your pain must stay separated from your consciousness or you will be too overwhelmed to keep functioning."
And the function heart? "(It) must remain in denial about emotional pain or it can't do what it needs to do to stay alive, or perform to remain loved and accepted, or climb towards more success and achievement," Gifford writes.
Bottled-up emotions=overprotective, defensive wall=substituting meaningless doing for mindful being. In other words, when we don't address and acknowledge the pain we feel in any given circumstance, we run the risk of entering this vicious, self-destructive cycle.
So how might these three work together in a healthy manner? I'll use the example of a toddler being told, "Hot! Don't touch!" when she approaches the stove. Curiosity gets the better of her. She touches it anyway. Oh, the pain!!! She screams and cries, venting her hurt freely and immediately.
To be sure, in the future, her guardian heart will remind her not to venture there again. And her function heart will help her navigate the kitchen safely when mom or dad is cooking.
If you are suffering from heart dysfunction due to some trauma you simply cannot forgive or forget, I hope you will prayerfully contemplate this heart-healthy advice from Gifford: "The only way for your heart to live in unity with God is if you're also living in unity with yourself. This can happen only if you call in a skilled mediator, Jesus, who sits with all the parts of your heart, both wounded and whole, and begins a safe, truthful, inner conversation in which everything is brought to light and laid out on the table."
Because as you think in your heart, so you are.