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The quest for an undivided heart 


A craving to understand – myself, humanity, the world… and God. Lucy Mills introduces her second book, which she hopes will appeal to those wanting to explore more about who they are, and who they are called to be 

 

Undivided Heart My life is full of influencers, motivators, shapers. It fascinates me how one choice somewhere down the line led me to another, and another, and eventually, here I am, having written a second book.
 
The book in question is called Undivided Heart: Finding Meaning and Motivation in Christ. It’s not a sequel to Forgetful Heart, but I suppose it could be said that they could easily have an animated conversation! They touch upon each other in various ways.
 
So why did I write this book? I smile at the question, because we’re already touching on its primary topic – why do we do what we do? What makes us who we are?
 
I’ve always been fascinated by the whys of existence, awed by the sheer expanse of the sky, intrigued by the tiniest creatures scuttling between the cracks in the patio.
 
I’m writing the bulk of this sitting in the upper room of a café; I have the floor to myself. The radio is playing ‘Don’t Speak’ by No Doubt, which I haven’t heard for ages. It transports me back, briefly, years ago when it was in the top 40. I experience a muddled form of nostalgia. I’m fascinated even by this sensation. I glance out of the window where I can see the upper floors of the buildings opposite, the Nationwide sign and the dental surgery above it, as the traffic hums below. I am, for a moment, completely in the present, aware of the sounds, the sensations… an accidental, automatic mindfulness. And in my solitude I am fascinated by everything. Life. This moment. What decisions led me here, to this tiny moment? Will I remember this traffic-hum, this sensation?
 
‘You’re quite a deep thinker, aren’t you?’ This question is often posed to me by readers. I’m not sure if it is observation, accusation or admiration. Sometimes one or the other, sometimes all at once.
 
I’m afraid I do tend to think about things. To ponder meaning, then, comes naturally to my personality; I cannot be doing with fluff and surface matter – if I do I begin to starve for something more solid, more satisfying. I’m the person who wants to metaphorically ‘pop the bonnet’ and see what’s going on, who learns by understanding how things behave and why.
 
And that lies behind the book. A craving to understand – myself, humanity, the world… and God.
 
Yes, I can be accused of ‘deep thinking’. My book snuggles down in the necessarily vague genre of ‘Christian spirituality’, perhaps not light enough in style to be called ‘devotional’ – but I feel unsure about claiming it to be as meaty as ‘popular theology’. Maybe it slides between both.
 
So what’s actually in the book? I begin by reflecting on what drives our lives – from our ‘default settings’ to the desires and experiences that shape our daily living. I then go deeper into our perceptions of who we are, reflecting on our tendency to label and compartmentalise – and the effect of this. The third part of the book takes a different slant on motivation and meaning, tying these in with the biblical witness. It considers cause and effect, incentive and reward. It explores the nature and power of our future hope. Finally, I turn to the great definers and motivators of Christian living – the priority of God’s kingdom, the nature of Christ’s love, the leading of the Spirit and the diverse unity that is found within the Name above all names.
 
Quite a lot to squeeze into 50,000 words, but I do my best!
 
Some describe book-writing as a kind of birthing. It certainly involves both agony and elation. I feel wiped out by the experience for a long time after I have ‘handed it over’ to the publisher and then the wider world of readers. At which point I can only let go of it, allow to be its own ‘thing’ – unhitching myself from it, as much as I can, because otherwise I would be far too self-conscious to share it at all.
 
But now I have shared it, what are my hopes for it?
 
I hope that Undivided Heart will appeal to those who are seeking a sense of deeper meaning in their lives, those wanting to explore more about who they are and who they are called to be. It challenges readers to break free from ‘labels’ and the desire for approval.
 
I look at our motives for doing things, identifying some areas of conflict and inconsistency, considering what an undivided heart might look like. What would it mean to be compelled by the love of Christ, rather than all the other mini (or not so mini) motivators of our lives? If you ever feel torn, confused, or just ‘lukewarm’ this might be a book worth reading. If you wonder about how things work and why, if you ever stand in awe at the vastness of the sky, you may find a kindred spirit in its pages!
 
As for me, I hope that, somewhere along the way, I may find myself a little closer to having an undivided heart.
 
 

Lucy Mills is a writer and editor living in Somerset with husband Andy, a Baptist minister. She blogs at www.lucy-mills.com and tweets as @lucymills. Her second book, 
Undivided Heart: Finding Meaning and Motivation in Christ, is published by Darton, Longman and Todd. 


Related:
Confessions of a forgetful heart Forgetfulness is normal, but it can impact our fruitfulness as believers and our witness to the world. How do we make sure we are remembering God in a world of distractions? By Lucy Mills


 
Baptist Times, 30/01/2018
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