November 8, 2006

 

Encouragement for Today

 

Principle 4

 

“Healthy Hearts are Happy Hearts”

Lysa TerKeurst, President of Proverbs 31 Ministries

 

Key Verse:

Matthew 7:9-11, “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?  If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will you Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (NIV)

 

Devotion:

Healthy hearts are happy hearts.  We have a special tradition of afternoon treats in our home. Now a nutritionist may or may not agree with me, but I think it’s a most heart healthy habit. Not that our treats are always that healthy, mind you. My kids and I love fresh baked cookies, moist chewy brownies, and other concoctions of all kinds. Sometimes we eat apples, oranges, or some other snack from the healthier regions of the food pyramid. But mostly we like sweet treats.

 

These treats are “heart” healthy for how they create moments of joy in the midst of busy schedules, projects that are due, activities to attend, and chores to be done. It’s a little burst of comfort that I, as a mom, delight in giving my children. It says, “I love you…I think about ways to make you happy…and I consider it a privilege to enjoy a treat with you.”

 

I remember as a little girl, my mom making ginger snap cookies for me. Even now, I can close my eyes and picture her rolling little balls of brown dough through the sugar before placing them on the cookie sheet. Then I’d watch as she placed them in the oven. The best part, though, was when mom and I enjoyed the first bite together. They were a connection point for us, and to this day, the smell of ginger makes me smile.

 

If these little treats made me happy as a child, why do they have to stop? I mean, why is it that I sometimes think motherhood is all about what I do for others and never about the wonderful benefits of treating myself? Sometimes the religious church lady in me creeps in with a wagging finger saying, “Don’t be so worldly! Pull out your Bible and read a verse or two. Get refreshed from the Spirit. Drink the Living Water and you’ll never thirst again. If you are really feeling weary, sing a hymn or two and stop thinking of yourself. It is better to give than receive!” Yikes. So, I whisper back at her, “If you are so into giving these days, I’d gladly let you watch my five kids, run their carpools, clean and cook for me while I go sit in the tub and sing hymns and reflect on spiritual insights.”

 

Yes, I think it is the best kind of refreshment to let the Lord fill you. But, just like me giving treats to my kids makes me happy, I think our Heavenly Father would like for us to receive things that make us happy as a treat from Him.

 

There has been so much talk about the difference between joy and happiness in the Christian world that we tend to shy away from happiness. Now granted, ginger snaps can’t provide me with lasting joy, but they sure can lighten a heavy moment. So, why not make a list of things that really make you feel happy. Then the next time you are feeling a little drained, put a care package together for yourself and thank God for His sweet treats.

 

My Prayer for Today:

Thank you, God, for simple treats that make me happy. They are a gift from You.  Help me give myself permission to receive them as a simple reason to give You thanks and to make my heart happy.

 

Application Steps:

Here are some of the things on my sweet treats care package list as an idea.  Think about what you really want and make up your own package:

 

1.  Cinnamon Altoids Gum

2.  Black gel pen-medium point

3.  A candle that smells of the season

4.  New pair of white socks

5.  Lemon flavored Propel

6.  Brownies from a box mix

7.  Dryer sheets-fresh spring scent

8.  Inspirational CD

9.  Cup of White Chocolate Mocha, skim, no whip, no foam, extra hot

 

If you feel like it, share your sweet treats with others.  Sharing the experience can make it that much more enjoyable!

 

Reflection Points:

What are some simple treats that make your heart happy?

 

What small gifts of happiness has God allowed you to experience recently?

 

Do you acknowledge them as gifts from your Heavenly Father?

 

God is a parent who loves to give gifts to His daughters.  How has God taught you about being His child?

 

Power Verses:
James 1:17, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (NIV)

 

Ecclesiastes 2:25-26, “For without him, who can eat of find enjoyment?  To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God.  This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” (NIV)

 

Proverbs 15:13, “A happy heart makes the face cheerful.” (NIV)

 

Additional Resources:

The Bathtub is Overflowing, but I Feel Drained; by Lysa TerKeurst

 

The P31 Woman Magazine

 

Connection Rituals, ETC Corner