In 1986, a group called Atlantic Starr released a song titled “If Your Heart Isn’t In It.” I admit it, this is on my sad song play list when I want to wallow a bit. But you know me (at least a little!), and so it preached to me. Here are the lyrics (emphasis added).

It’s a fragile situation
It could fall apart at any time
And none would be the wiser
Except you and I

It seems that we stopped talkin’
Like we’re afraid to disagree
And after all we’ve been through
Can we still be that naive?

[Chorus]
If your heart isn’t in it
Why can’t you tell me so?
If my heart wasn’t in it
I’d have gone long ago
If your heart isn’t in it
Why keep me hangin’ on?
Just tell me and I’ll be gone
From your life

You treat me like a stranger
As if I wasn’t there
Oh baby, I waited for a miracle
To make you show that you care

[Chorus]

If your heart isn’t in it
Why can’t you tell me so?
I can’t go through the motions
I have to know
If your heart isn’t in it
Why can’t you tell me so?
I can’t go to the limit
I have to know

If your heart
Ooh, can’t you tell me so?
I have to know
If your heart isn’t it
Why keep me hangin’ on?
Just tell me and I’ll be gone
Don’t keep me hangin’ on
For dear life

(Retrieved from lyricsfreak.com)

Now WHY, some of you may ask, do I mention this song? It reminds me of our ability to choose another option. We do not have to keep others in limbo, or be kept in limbo when we can choose stability and consistency. Or even more simple than that, we can be with and around people who want to be around us and reciprocate in relationship. Everything is not that hard. 

So I share this song because this is the time of year reflection begins — on our wins, gains, losses, the unbelievable and the amazing, our productivity and our laziness, and how we can do better and be better. We review the order in our lives and start thinking about our priorities and ways to press on or start fresh.

Despite our best or strongest efforts, we can keep some hostages. Yes, hostages — a person held by one party in a conflict as a pledge pending the fulfillment of an agreement (Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com). 

 

bondage
Image retrieved from http://www.bing.com/images – search “hostages” 

If you spent this year keeping up appearances, then release the hostages…whoever and whatever system you sacrificed your happiness to and it still wasn’t a worthy offering. 

If you wasted time investing in a person, organization or idea that yielded nothing to build or benefit you, then release the hostages…cut your losses and follow that yellow brick road.

If you are the hostage, and others held you under an oppressive weight, and you let them because of guilt, shame, or blackmail then release yourself, Your Royal Hostage — leave, confront, free yourself, move on from this. Do not fear the truth you know that will make you free (see John 8:32).

If you are the hostage, and this local church does not grow you, build you, equip you for ministry service (see Ephesians 4), then depart and release the hostages. Find another place to serve and worship. Do not be bound when you are free (see Galatians 4,5). [Note: Make sure you do not abandon ship during normal growing pains.]

If your family still does not understand, and can wield so much influence over you that you keep losing what God sends to help you in liberty, then release the hostages…vow to love the family connection, but free yourself from the manipulation and control to obey God completely. 

If your heart isn’t in it, if you played the role this year, then stop acting and say so — stay and commit, or resign and depart. You have no more time to gamble with God’s grace nor His gifts in your life.

Release the hostages, please. There are people waiting on you…to get free, to stay free, to make up your mind, to be healed, to make progress, to record, to publish, to pastor, to build, to pray, to live, to smile, to share testimony, to preach, to move out of compromise and laziness and fruitless efforts to reaping a mighty harvest. 

Royal Ones, it’s time to be doers and not just hearers of the Word. If your heart isn’t in it, then pray a real prayer and tell God about your lack of passion or enthusiasm. 

Whatever you do, refuse to begin a new calendar year with the hostages. Yes? Amen. Selah, and love to all. 

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