Refreshing Your Own Heart

Spring dining room A

This week I shared some advice given to me on “How to Refresh the Hearts of Others.”  But has your own heart ever ached and wished someone would come and minister to you?  I understand.

This week has been full of activity, ministry and needs.  One morning when things seemed to be spinning out of control, I stopped – literally stopped with tears in my eyes and my heart pounding with frustration and the feeling of being overwhelmed.  I turned my heart to the Lord.  I told Him my burdens, my frustrations, and my need.  At the end of my prayer I said, “Lord, please show me what to do.”

It wasn’t much later after that the Spirit of God spoke to my heart, directing my steps in a clear, biblical answer. My plans were to head out the door to join others in a good thing – we were to pray together – but the Lord said,

“Be still.  Pray here.”  

I thought, “Really? That makes so much sense! Yes, Lord!  Thank you!”

I let my friends know I wouldn’t be joining them where they were gathered, but I did join them at the Throne of Grace from my home.  It kept me from running there, running back, then running to prep for another obligation later in the day.

It gave me rest.

It calmed my heart.

No one but the Lord could have done that.

Now I slowed my pace.  I took time to pray for the needs of others.  I cleaned the mess that was around me.  I added a few touches of decor in my dining room. I listened to a podcast while I worked.   It wasn’t long at all until my own heart was truly refreshed.  I was thankful that it had come completely from the Lord’s directives speaking into my heart and not from a person.  It made me so thankful for the reminder that God cares about every detail of my life – even the little things that can trouble my heart.

My need was so simple, really, and I know there are times when there are HUGE needs, but there is nothing too big for Him to handle!  When you have a hurt, confusion, anxiety, burden or longing that causes your heart to be filled with emptiness and longing, what do you do when God sends no one to your doorstep, your pew at church, or your side?

  1. Recognize the need to go to prayer and tell Christ about what’s on your heart.  He already knows, of course, but this isn’t for His benefit, it’s for yours.  Stopping to put that longing into words and tell the Lord is so helpful. Divine intervention is what you need, and if you don’t ask, how will you receive it? This time of prayer also makes us realize that we are completely dependent on Him.  That’s always the best place to find ourselves, because He is omnipotent!  In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me. Psalm 86:7
  2. While in prayer, ask God for His wisdom for the next step.  What do you do after you finish praying?  Without God’s help, you’ll be just as hopeless as before if you don’t have His direction for the next moment. But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. Prov. 4:18
  3. Look for verses of promise regarding your situation and meditate on their truth.   If you can’t think of one off the top of your head, or you don’t have your Bible with you, Google it!  We ask Google for other things we need information on, right?  Use it now!  Google Bible Verses on God’s Provision  or Bible verses on Comfort.  A list will come up that can anchor your heart with Truth!!!  Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations. Deut. 7:9 
  4. Listen to music that will minister to your heart and calm you.  It’s amazing what good music will do.  I love to listen to instrumental music that points my heart to God.  It brings peace and a reminder of Who He is!
  5. Don’t isolate yourself!  Get with others that will encourage you.  It’s easy to want to sulk and be alone, but you need other believers to help you – even if they never hear a word from you about your trouble.  Invite a friend to lunch or coffee.
  6. Talk with a godly friend about your trouble and ask them to pray with you.  You decide with whom should share – it might be your husband, it might be a friend or your pastor’s wife.  Two are better than one.  Eccl. 4:9 Humble yourself and admit you have a need.  We ALL need encouragement from time to time!
  7. Put yourself in an environment that helps your attitude.  Open the blinds and curtains and let the sunlight in!  Straighten up the clutter that might be right in front of you.  Create the order that will clear your head and heart.
  8. Get some fresh air.  Take a walk in your neighborhood or walking path at the park.  Go walk through the nursery at Lowe’s or your local greenhouse.
  9. Do something you enjoy.  Stop for a sweet tea and take a drive in the country.  Go to the library.  Buy a bouquet of flowers for your kitchen table.  Stop for a Dairy Queen treat.  Rearrange your living room.  Do a craft you love.
  10. Do something for someone else.  See this list to remind yourself of what you could do!  The focus gets transferred from your problem to someone else.

I pray this will help you to know how to refresh your own heart when you need it!

What do you do when you’re anxious or feeling overwhelmed?

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Usefulness While Aging

 

I don’t believe I have ever met anyone who is excited at the thought of aging. Take this woman, for instance – an interviewer said to her:

“I see your birthday is May 5, Ms. Beale. May I ask what year?” Ms. Beale replied: “Every year.”

We don’t want others to know how old we are; lest they think we’re old. There really is no option however, and we all have to determine not if we will age, but how we will do it! It’s really up to us how we live our years as seniors. Denying the truth won’t change the situation, but a biblical perspective will be the best help we could give ourselves.

This week our Sunday school class studied Psalm 90-92. There are some wonderful helps in this passage to guide our aging process. Consider Psalm 90 verses 9b, 10 and 12. “We spend our years as a tale that is told. The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” We spend our years as a tale that is told – in other words we are preaching our funeral while we are living. You will be remembered by how you are living your life each day. The average years of a person’s life are seventy, but we can by His grace live to eighty or beyond, but we need to remember that we are living for the Judgment Seat of Christ where our works will be tried. We need to be living so that we will hear “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

I read that there are Seven Ages of Man:
6 weeks–all systems go
6 years–all systems “No!”
16 years–all systems know
26 years–all systems glow
36 years–all systems owe
56 years–all systems status quo
76 years–all systems slow

How then does an aging person continue to live so that their life counts for eternal purposes? They don’t have the stamina and strength that they had when they were younger. What can a senior citizen do for the Lord at this time in their life when “all systems are slow?” Here are a few suggestions:

  • Become a prayer warrior for a younger person. Ask the Lord to burden your heart for someone for whom you could pray. Go to that person and ask them how you can pray for them that week, then pray! Go back to them and ask them how that situation is coming, reminding them of your prayers. Continue to pray for their needs each week. 
  • Take a younger person under your wing as a mentor. Perhaps there is a younger person that would love to learn a skill you can do – knitting, sewing, baking, quilting, etc. While you’re with them, encourage them in the Scriptures and their walk with God.
  • Be a prayer warrior for your pastor and other leaders in your church. If you are familiar with other pastors, pray for their needs as well. Write them a note to tell them you’re praying for them. Satan is seeking to destroy them and their ministry; what a blessing you could be to them!
  • If you are able to bake, make something – cookies, a pie, homemade bread (you could just bake a frozen loaf) to a family that has moved into your neighborhood and is unchurched, a young family in your church that’s had a new baby or a new family that’s visited your church.
  • Give out tracts. When you go out to eat, give one to the waitress. Hand one to the clerk at the store where you shop. Put one on the bread you give to your new neighbor.
  • Be a verbal witness. Be praying for someone that the Lord would give you the chance to share the Gospel with. If you can’t get out, ask Him to bring someone to you!
  • Write a card or email of encouragement each week to someone for whom the Lord burdens your heart. It might be a missionary your church supports, your pastor, or a church member going through a trial.

These are just a few suggestions to get you thinking. I believe if we really desire to be used of the Lord we will be like Psalm 92:14 says, “They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing.” I love this verse. A person that serves the Lord with a right heart won’t just have leaves, they will bear fruit! No matter how old we are, we can be useful to God -even if your “systems are slow!”

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