By Love Transformed, by R.T. Kendall

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Practice These Daily Habits For a Healthy Spiritual Heart

I spend the majority of my investment helping people to live with an awakened and powerful heart.

Unfortunately, our busy and overloaded lives cause us to neglect the life of our spiritual hearts. We get so lost in "getting by" that we fail to keep in mind the most important aspect of life—the inner life of the heart.

Quite often when people come to me for help, their heart is either deeply immersed in their personal woundedness or highly shut down emotionally. Both arenas can come as a result of neglecting the life of the heart.

But I don't want to complicate it. Sometimes the most important things for our hearts are very simple, yet incredibly foundational. All it takes is a willingness to incorporate some healthy habits every day and you can cultivate a heart life that is conditioned to go the long haul.

Here are some simple habits you can implement to cultivate a spiritual heart that is awake and healthy. Practice them every day, and you can be sure that over the long haul, you will set yourself up for greater victory in life.

1. Feel. I know we are not supposed to let our feelings run our lives, but we've allowed this way of thinking to keep us from feeling at all. Over the years, too many believers downplay emotions as all evil, forgetting we are designed to connect and experience from the heart. We are made to feel, not just compute.

So it's important we allow ourselves to feel the gamut of emotions we need to process for spiritual and emotional health. It's OK to rejoice and to mourn. It's healthy to grieve and to celebrate. Anger is not always evil. We need to process when we are upset. Take time every day to laugh and celebrate. Be open to crying or connecting to pain.

Stop shutting down, stuffing down or living an unemotional life. It's OK to feel. Your heart was made to connect and experience.

2. Let go. We carry many burdens and issues in our hearts that we were not meant to carry. Every day, we need to cast our cares upon God and enter into His rest. Casting your cares doesn't lead you into denial, it just releases the pressure of it all upon God's ability to work in our situations. Healthy people know how to release their cares, concerns and frustrations to God.

3. Forgive. Some of the healthiest people I know have cultivated the ability to forgive constantly. They don't allow resentment or being offended lay around too long. They keep toxicity out of their life because they know to not keep accounts on people and overlook offenses that rise up in relationships.

I am astounded that people who have walked with God for decades forget that we need to forgive people every single day. Our forgiveness muscles need to continually grow as we release and let go of hurt and offenses that come our way all day long. The more we hold on to those bitter roots, the more contamination will build up in our hearts.

4. Say thanks. I think it's the best practice in the world to let your first thought and last thought of the day be gratitude. If you cultivate a heart of gratitude, your focus throughout the day will be on all that you have, not on what you do not have. Your thoughts will hover around what is awesome about your life, not allowing discontentment to steal your joy. Every single day and all day long, take frequent stops to express gratitude in all areas of your life.

5. Rehearse who you are and where you are headed. Every day, I spend time talking to myself. It's a habit I have cultivate for decades and in many ways, it has preserved my sanity in the toughest of storms. Sometimes all you have is you and God. So you need to be able to leverage your words to comfort, encourage and strengthen yourself.

We need to declare out loud the person God says we are; otherwise, we will spend most of the day serving the person we are not. We also need to use our words to declare where we are headed.

There is so much pressure on people's hearts to go somewhere in life. We overwhelm ourselves with the need to achieve or manifest success, when in reality, life is a journey. You have every day to practice and rehearse whom God says you are and where you are headed. Using our words every day to encourage and strengthen our identity and destiny can be the most fruitful daily habits for your heart.

6. Get still. Most of our stresses and times of overwhelm come out of the lack of peace in our hearts. It's important that every day, we set our compass for stillness—not just to pray, but to set the atmosphere in our hearts for peace. Stillness trains our hearts to lean into that peace all day long, so that we are not taken out by the busyness and pressure of modern living.

7. Face your fears and stretch. Every day, you need to do something that moves you out of your comfort zone. Millions of people are looking for great breakthrough without being inconveniences or made to feel uncomfortable. There is no blessing in the comfort zone. No breakthrough lives in the world of comfort. Everything you are looking for is outside the boat. The water is waiting for you to walk on it. You just have to face your fear and step out there.

To exercise the muscles of your spiritual heart, you need to learn to be stretched every day. The moment I realized I will always be challenged, always be growing and always facing new challenges is the moment I hit a stronger place, because I open myself to new challenges continually.

Practice these habits every day and see what begins to change in your life. Your heart will thank you for it. {eoa}

Mark DeJesus has been equipping people in a full-time capacity since 1995, serving in various roles, including, teaching people of all ages, communicating through music, authoring books, leading and mentoring. Mark's deepest love is his family; his wife Melissa, son Maximus and daughter Abigail. Mark is a teacher, author and mentor who uses many forms of media, including the written word, a weekly radio podcast show and videos. His deepest call involves equipping people to live as overcomers. Through understanding inside-out transformation, Mark's message involves getting to the root of issues that contribute to the breakdown of our relationships, our health and our day-to-day peace. He is passionately reaching his world with a transforming message of love, healing and freedom. Out of their own personal renewal, Mark and Melissa founded Turning Hearts Ministries, a ministry dedicated to inside out transformation. Mark also founded Transformed You, a communication platform for Mark's teachings, writing and broadcasts designed to encourage people in their journey of transformation.

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