Heart Stakes

August 01, 2022 · by Whitney Gothra

My heart is bent toward worry. I would say my mind, but my worry knows no logic. It’s impressive, really. My mind can remember all the statistics and likelihood of something happening, but my heart will shout WHO CARES?! and go about its merry way worrying.

You know what helps that? Children. If by “helps” you mean expands and expounds and compounds. I never dreamed that I would still come up with new parental things to worry about after having three whole children, but here we are. Googling things I’m worried about.

Basically, my heart is able to leap over every reasonable conclusion with a single bound and land at the worst possible conclusion. Every time.

Left to its own devices, my heart would lead me astray. I am so tempted to look for security in all the wrong places. Whether it’s looking for security in our bank account, in our jobs, in the doctor’s report, or in my own self righteous actions, I’m tempted to tell myself, “If I do this or have that, we will be okay.”

But none of that solves the problem of my bent heart.

“Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.” Psalms 20:7

What was I trusting in?

When you plant a young, tender tree, you have to bind it to stakes. These unmovable stakes in the ground help the tree grow straight and strong. Left to its own devices, the tree would be susceptible to strong winds. It would bend and yield to surrounding forces. Left to its own devices, my heart would bend and yield to my flesh. It would surrender to worry, and bend and twist, trying to repair itself.

I’ve learned I have to bind my heart to strong, unmovable stakes.

In David’s day, it was tempting to trust in chariots and horses. The more chariots and horses you had, the more likely you were to win the war, right? Not exactly. The Bible is full of battles between Syria and Israel under the rule of King David. Syria had a huge amount of chariots and horses compared to Israel. But David knew that wasn’t the key to the war. God was. And is.

Today, I’m not tempted to trust in chariots or horses. I’m tempted to trust in money. I’m tempted to trust in the approval of others. I’m tempted to trust in doctors' reports and job security and insurance policies. But those aren’t firm stakes.

“My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.” Psalms 73:26

So I have learned to bind my heart to His. To tie myself to the Word of God. To trust in His promises. To rely on His unfailing love. His eternal kindness. His thoughts of hope and peace for me. His unchanging, unmovable, undeniable, unmeasurable, unquestionable Authority.

Now, every time I open my bank account app, I see little chariots instead of digits. I tell myself “some trust in chariots, and some in horses.” When the numbers look low, it reminds me that my security isn’t found there. When the numbers look high, it reminds me that my security isn’t found there. When the doctor runs a blood panel, I remind myself that the report isn’t my heart stake. When the heating unit fails in the winter and the air conditioner fails in the summer, I remind myself that my belongings aren’t my heart stakes. When we receive an unexpected check in the mail, I remind myself that money isn’t my heart stake. When I hear “good job,” I remind myself that others’ opinions of me aren’t my heart stakes.

I’m staking my little bent heart to His. What are you staking your heart to?

Whitney Gothra

About Whitney Gothra

Whitney Gothra and her husband Timothy have been married for around fifteen years, and they have three sweet and spicy girls, Ruby, Selah, and Marigold. They pastor the Apostolic Church of Wabash in Wabash, Indiana. You can connect with her on Instagram @theflourishstudio or online at whitneygothra.com.