Love the lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. I remember singing this scripture to a little tune in Sunday school growing up and doing a little dance with motions to reflect the words of the song and the love I have for the Lord. A different motion represented the words “all my heart”, “all my soul”, “all my mind” and “all my strength.” Ya know, friends, I’ve got to say, it is a whole lot easier to sing and dance to this biblical command as a child than to act it out as an adult. As an adult, just doing fun motions won’t cut it anymore. Those motions need to be actions. You actually have to put this command and, yes, this is a command, into action. It is the first commandment that Jesus gives us in Matthew 22:37. Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
In a funny, odd sort of way, I think that little game we used to play as kids, where we rubbed our tummies and patted our heads at the same time, would more actually depict this verse. To love the Lord with all of your heart, soul, and mind can feel like major multitasking. It takes will, concentration and focus to master all of those things at the same time. Is it even humanly possible? To be honest, there are times when I can love the Lord my God with all of my heart and with all my soul, but my mind has trouble going all in. Perhaps it’s so hard to let your mind completely go because loving totally means complete trust and total surrender. Loving fearlessly means to love with everything in you and that is a challenge.
I am six on the enneagram (a personality test I highly recommend taking). There are nine numbers that represent nine different personality types on an enneagram chart. A test is taken to find out what number you are, but the bottom line has to do with a person’s biggest fears and biggest desires. You won’t understand everything about an enneagram until you read and study about it, but I’ll try to explain it as I make my point about loving God.
There are three centres on an enneagram chart that point to the basic feelings behind the actions of the people who fall into that category. I’ll just let you read a paragraph from an enneagram site to help explain:
The nine Enneagram types are grouped into three centres: Body (Instinctive/Gut/Belly), Heart (Feeling), and Head (Thinking), with three Enneagram types in each centre. Body centre contains types 8, 9 and 1 are formed as a response to anger. Heart centre contains types 2, 3 and 4 are formed as a response to shame, and create a self-image. Head centre contains types 5, 6 and 7 are formed as a response to fear or anxiety.
Basically, there are people whose actions are displayed and thoughts are formed because of and centered in the body, heart or mind. Pause– go back and look at where a 6 is. I’m a 6 so my headspace is right in the middle, between types 5 and 7, and all of them had the head or mind as the center. It’s interesting that in this in-depth personality test, I would discover what God was talking about from the beginning. It’s also interesting that of the three—heart, soul and mind–I would struggle most with my mind, which is what a 6 finds it’s center. The next paragraph in this article I was reading shook me to the core. Keep reading this excerpt from the book:
No matter what Enneagram type we are, we have all the three centres in us, and they interact with each other, we cannot work on one centre without affecting the other two.
In fact, the centre that our Enneagram type resides, it is the psyche (makeup) that we are least able to function freely because its function has been blocked or distorted by our ego.
This sentence validates my struggle to multitask by saying you cannot work on one without affecting the other. But it also exposes the reason my mind struggles the most with the love part. My mind has not been able to function freely, because my ego is in the way. As many of us know the opposite of love is not hate, the opposite of love is selfishness. When we let self get in the way, we tend to let ego, control, and fear block the way to love.
It may sound funny to think about an ego when you talk about your heart, your body or instincts, or your mind, but I can see how this is very true. Brene Brown in her book Dare to Lead speaks of ego as her, “inner hustler. It is the voice in my head that drives pretending, performing, pleasing, and perfecting.”
Being someone whose center is in her headspace (mind), I struggle with fear and anxiety, but I also use my mind to find my strength. My mind can become the safety net when I’m going through hard things. I use reasoning to cope. A man name Ryan O’Neal does a podcast on enneagrams called In the Sleeping at Last. In his sixth song, which is about enneagram number 6, he is spot on with his lyrics, “these invisible walls just might keep us safe.”
My mind cast visions, dreams, ideas, and deep thoughts. It also cast visions of worst-case scenarios that could happen and nightmares, self-doubt, and whispers of irrational fears. But to give my mind fully over to those fears would mean to surrender the control of what I see is my selfish strength. So, in a worst-case scenario, I have this weird self-centeredness that gives me warning, if you will, and an invisible wall of protection. But a self-centered false security does not come with peace. In fact, it comes with a lot of fear and wasted time of worry because I know I will not be able to protect myself or others around me from the thing I am fearing. My invisible walls will not stand and the attacks are unpredictable.
As I look at this concept of loving the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind, I have to wonder if I will ever be able to get to the point of fully loving with all of those parts in me. Then I remember the verse that says perfect love casts out all fear. The part of you that seems the hardest to fully let go of is probably the part of you that leads you to the most fear. Even though it’s difficult to surrender, it is necessary for total peace. Read these verses that I found on mind, heart, and soul.
2 Timothy 1:7 – For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Psalm 73:26 – My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Philippians 4:7 – and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Proverbs 3:5 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
Isaiah 26:3 – You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you
Our human heart, body, and mind will fail us. God does not ask us to get it together – He asks us to trust and to find peace in Him. It all points to trust and trust requires a surrendered spirit to the Lord. When we do that, we will be able to function and live freely in peace – in your everyday life, with the world around you, with your own self, and with God.
No matter what your enneagram number is or where you find yourself centered, you can not allow that to be an excuse for why you struggle. You have to find some humility to admit you can not humanly, by your own strength, be centered in all three aspects of what makes you who you are. The only power that can center you in all three aspects of you is in the One who created you. When you find yourself centered in Him and fully loving Him by the power of His spirit then every part of you can freely live. That is the moment you will begin to fully live out the life He has commanded you to.