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The Struggle in Our Hearts

I have a time-wasting problem. One that I have confessed again and again for years, and I know that to remedy the problem I simply have to use my time well. I use a planner, allocating time for each thing. It goes well in the morning, but then I get to the afternoon.

My children are napping or resting, and I waste that time. I scroll through the social media, justifying it to myself. Then I see the late hour, and I scramble to do the things I meant to do. I usually end up irritable with my children, and take out my impatience with myself on them. I start dinner late, we eat late, the kids are in bed late, and then my husband and I still have to clean the kitchen instead of having a nice evening. What seems like a simple moment to relax actually has an ill effect on my whole family.

Jeremiah today is spot on about the human heart:

More tortuous than all else is the human heart,
beyond remedy; who can understand it?
I, the LORD, alone probe the mind
and test the heart,
To reward everyone according to his ways,
according to the merit of his deeds.

I do not want to be wasting my time. I have resolved often to limit my social media use for the sake of my family. Yet my restless heart does seem beyond remedy sometimes. In fact, I kind of like my mindless scrolling. But like I tell my children: pleasure does not indicate that something is good. And as the Prophet tells us, God knows our hearts and sees our deeds. I know that in my time wasting I am turning away from the Lord; finding pleasure in other things. But these things will not ultimately satisfy; they just plug a hole that only God can satisfy.

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux wrote in her autobiography The Story of a Soul that “[p]erfection consists in doing His will, in being what He wants us to be.” When I take my struggle to God, I see that His will for me is to not waste my afternoon time. When I do use it well to pray quietly, to read books, and to write, my whole life is better, for I am being what He wants me to be. My human heart, on its own, is beyond remedy, but with grace, I can overcome my attachment.

We all have habitual sins that we struggle to overcome. But God does not leave us hanging; He will give us grace. And while we may struggle our whole lives, He will know the struggle in our hearts, for He alone can read them. Give Him your heart and your struggle.

God, come to my assistance. Lord, make haste to help me.~opening prayers of the Liturgy of the Hours

Susanna Spencer once studied theology and philosophy, but now happily cares for her three adorable little girls, new baby boy, and her dear husband in Saint Paul. She loves beautiful liturgies, cooking delicious meals, baking amazing sweets, reading good books, raising her children, casually following baseball, and talking to her philosopher husband. You can find out more about her here.

2 Comments

  • Reply
    Michele LaNoce
    March 16, 2017 at 6:14 am

    Thank you Susanna! I procrastinate in cleaning up my clutter and chaos around me because somehow I understand it and that helps me feel like I am in control. I know that’s a lie. When I surrender my time to God and work on those areas of my life for maybe an hour a day- it’s amazing how much peace and joy comes from it. God is so good- so gentle and so patient. Thank you again for sharing. God Bless you and your family.

  • Reply
    Laura
    March 16, 2017 at 11:47 am

    “Pleasure does not indicate that something is good.” How true is this statement. Pleasure is fleeting. But true happiness comes when we spend our time in prayer or in doing those things that bless and strengthen our families. Thank you for sharing your struggles Susanna. We find such wonderful sisterhood in knowing we all struggle with life’s temptations, and in knowing God will always be there to pull us through.

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