Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting.
RALPH WALDO EMERSON
Tending Your Heart and Investing In Your Soul
She called it her treasure chest. I had taken my fifteen year-old son Nathan with me on a special trip to Austria and Poland, the places where I had spent time as a missionary in my twenties. In an open air market in Krakow, I found a special souvenir to take back for Joy. It was a hand-carved box, made of glistening cherry wood, with soft red felt lining on the inside, and a cheerful-looking bear carved onto the top.
It was treasure chest for small treasures.
To my delight, Joy loved the box. She carried it with her everywhere collecting in it little treasures she would find. After playing outside, she would come in and place a beautiful bird feather or a shell in the box. After church, she carefully tucked away a bookmark with a prayer on it. After a trip to the Denver Art Museum, she tenderly folded the small print I bought her of a favorite painting and placed it inside.
She filled her little box to the brim, and at nights her eyes would shine with delight as she would take out each item to cherish them all. “My treasure box reminds me of all the beauty God has put in the world, Mama!”
Joy’s treasure box gave me an image of what it means to cultivate my soul and fill it with truth and beauty. Wherever Joy went, she carried with her a reminder of the light, beauty, and truth of God’s goodness. As Christians with the light of Christ in us, we should have hearts full of God’s treasures—beauty, grace, and truth—to sustain us in the darkness and to offer to others.
To have a rich treasure chest in our hearts, though, we must be intentional about pursuing activities and practices that fill the heart instead of draining it. God has filled the world with delights for us to encounter, and yet our culture often thinks of beauty, delight, art, and music as secondary pursuits which are perhaps a bit frivolous in comparison to the “real” work of being serious and holy.
I would suggest, however, that God wants us to worship him every bit as much in our delight as in our duty.
When we dwell on the extravagant delights God has given us in the world, our hearts are drawn toward Him in worship. When we gaze on God’s gifts of beauty to us, we find our eyes drawn away from the ugliness and sin of the world. Perhaps this is why Paul so sincerely exhorts the Philippians saying, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things” (Philippians 4:8).
When we fill our hearts with excellence and virtue, we find ourselves with a wealth of God’s goodness to offer others from the treasures we have collected. Just as Joy carefully filled her box, so we must learn to intentionally pursue activities that will fill the treasure chest of our hearts with good things. We should look for ways to fill our hearts, minds, and spirits with goodness, truth, and beauty—the things that inspire us, cause us to worship God, and bring light to others.
Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting. that will fill the treasure chest of our hearts with good things. We should look for ways to fill our hearts, minds, and spirits with goodness, truth, and beauty—the things that inspire us, cause us to worship God, and bring light to others.
Heart, Mind, and Soul Restoration
Life is draining, every moment, all the time. We have bills to pay, work to do, meals to make, people to care for, tasks to complete--and then we must repeat these tasks again and again.
When we are constantly emptying our hearts, minds, and souls, it is essential that we take responsibility to keep filling them up. What we feed our inner bing will determine what we can give to those in our spheres of influence. What we have stored, cherished, and valued in our lives is reflective of our true selves.
If we wish to live out the best virtues of life, we must feed our minds, hearts, and souls upon all that is virtuous. Our souls reflect our true selves. What we have fed upon will be reflected through the ways we live in relationship to people and to the culture at large.
When you learn to take responsibility for your own well-being, you will produce a harvest of influence and grace in every other area that is influenced by your heart health.
An excerpt from Own Your Life, Chapter 10.