Funny, all day I’ve had writer’s block but one of those commercials for Maytag came on TV with the tag line “What’s inside matters” and I had an ah-ha moment. I started to ponder the question “do we attract situations to us or do we create them?” At first glance, it seemed to me we do a little of both. However, the more and more I contemplated I convinced myself we create them. I’m starting to understand Proverbs 4:23 verse above and Amos 3:3 how can two walk together unless they agree.
When I consider both of them together, I strongly believe we behave in a manner that ensures self-fulfilling prophecy as it relates to whatever we have inside. What do I mean? First of all, in the scripture above the heart refers to the inner person, the central essence of a person. Not only does the Bible use the word heart to describe the core and center of our emotions, it also speaks of the heart as the center part of a person by which we think, imagine, and formulate our intentions.
Whew! That was a mouth full wasn’t it? Anyway, what all that says to me is in concept, the use of the word heart is close to identity, if not the same thing. So in my mind this scripture says to me we need to scrutinize how we define our identities because out of it are the issues of life. This lead me down an interesting path of research tonight in my quest of understanding some nagging questions in my mind as it related to this topic.
One author, Craig Hill, said “When identity and destiny messages are sent to us at critical times in life, they establish on the inside of us images of ourselves, God, and others.” He also went on to say that “As adults, we usually interpret out circumstances each day in accordance with the images established inside of our hearts.” Right here is when things started to get very interesting to me.
What I learned tonight is we get what we expect based on what’s inside. And, what we expect sometimes is so deep rooted in us, is so much a part of our identity, and the programming is so automatic we don’t even have a clue that we expect certain things. And, what was even more profound to me is that sometimes it so deeply ingrained in us that we behave in a way to create the circumstances and then we say aha see I told you this was true.
Think about it when it comes to others because somehow it’s easier for us to see this when others do it than when we do it ourselves. Take for instance someone repeats an experience to you and you’re sitting their quietly thinking that’s not how I would have interpreted that situation, conversation, event, etc. And, you’re dumbfounded as to why the person in your opinion is over-reacting.
We all do this and I believe it has to do with faulty identification of who we are. As example let’s use Joe. Joe grows up with a controlling, critical, nagging, over-bearing mother. When he gets married, what type of woman do you think he will look for? You’re right: one the total opposite of his mother. Let’s say he finds her, a wonderful loving woman named Nancy who loves him just the way he is, never criticizes him or tells him he does it wrong, as his mom used to do.
However, because Joe never forgave his mother and she never blessed him deep inside he is tied to her. More than likely he will carry an emotional expectation in his heart….”eventually women will criticize you and attack your identity” even though Nancy has never treated him this way. What do you think the probable outcome will be? Yes, you’re right again, Joe will behave in such a way that over time his wife will eventually play the same role as his mother. And, his unhealthy tie to his mother will probably wreak havoc on his marriage.
More than likely Joe will fail to make the connection that chronically defaulting on domestic responsibilities was the cause of this transformation in his wife’s behavior. And, even more importantly I doubt that he will recognize that what’s inside mattered and was the root cause of his unwanted behavior.
It’s such a vicious cycle as you can see. However, we all do this especially in our relationships. What’s inside matters and we must take the time to examine what’s in our hearts/identity that doesn’t serve us. I believe when we go through this necessary process not only will our relationship with others improve, our relationships with ourselves will improve also. What’s inside matters.