How to Glorify God Every Day of Your Life
“Each child put his hand over his heart, and each one smiled as he listened to God’s little fire within. Jesus also smiled and continued his story. 'That pounding heart within you is saying that it wants you to think good thoughts and perform good deeds, and every time you do, it burns brighter and brighter and tries to make God glad. The little fire within your heart longs to enter Heaven, and in its impatience it says with every beat, "Let me out, let me out! I want to hurry to God!" Say this to the beating fire in your hearts, "Little fire in my heart, I know you are restless – just like a caged bird that desires freedom – but until God comes for you I promise to console you when you feel loneliness for Heaven. This body of mine will take you praying, swimming, boating, playing, and to school. In all our living together let us glorify God."’” — The Refugee from Heaven by Cora Evans
I want to hurry to God!
“They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar on eagles’ wings; they will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)
Sometimes I wish I could be a child again. I watch my older two daughters with admiration as their eyes widen and glimmer with each new discovery about life. At times, these are not revelations for me, having lived three decades longer than they; instead, it’s a lesson to me that I need to have the heart of a child – a heart that is receptive, earnest and eager to leap at the chance of running into the arms of Jesus.
What does help me get to that place within my heart is the image of soaring on eagle’s wings. A popular metaphor for God’s might, riding on the back of an eagle somehow makes me lose sight of all the emotional and spiritual clutter that remains on the ground. When I soar with God, I am uplifted to the heights of heaven. I no longer worry about what I’ve left behind, because I am with Him.
And somehow that revitalizes my drooping spirits.
“We will know God to the extent that we are set free from ourselves.” ~ Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
I often feel trapped, or maybe a more accurate adjective is suffocated. As a mom of three girls under six, one of whom has multiple special needs and one of whom is an infant, I rarely get a moment to breathe during the day. Freedom, be it literal or figurative, is elusive to me. I can’t just run away when I feel as if my heart will implode. No, I have to stand and face my frustration, preferably with the gentleness of God’s good grace.
To be free from myself, however, is an altogether different matter. I can rid of my ego, my wants, everything that turns me inward with worry and angst. What’s truly liberating is to, at last, be immersed – absorbed – in thoughts of God. When I think of Him with fondness and affection, I notice the tension in my chest slowly loosen. Then my heart is gently washed in peace. And my mind is fixed on the One who loves me.
I can’t be full of self and full of God simultaneously. One must necessarily decrease (my self) and the other increase (God). Then I will know His heart more intimately.
Little fire in my heart, I know you are restless…but until God comes for you I promise to console you when you feel loneliness for Heaven.
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for ourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” (Matthew 11: 28-30)
Everyone is carrying a heavy cross today. I haven’t met a single person who doesn’t have some very serious struggles they are battling. And loneliness, well, we can certainly find pockets of it throughout the nation and the world. It is an unfortunate and ubiquitous conundrum: feeling bereft of community and as if one must bear his burdens without help.
Jesus reminds us that we are not alone in our loneliness, as ironic as that statement is. Its truth is nestled in the comforting verse from the Gospel of Matthew: “You will find rest for yourself. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” God is never too burdened to carry us. Sometimes it is in the palm of His hand. Other times it is upon His shoulders. Regardless, we discover our loneliness is allayed when we spend more time alone with God – in the silence that solitude affords us.
So take some time, dear soul, however painful it may feel to you now, to sit quietly with Jesus. Allow Him to fill you with Himself in consolations you may never understand or explain. But know with certainty that He understands your loneliness, because He bore it upon Himself in the Garden of Gethsemane. Ask Him for the grace to bear it for His sake and for those suffering from loneliness in all of the forgotten corners of the world.
“Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.” ~ St. Augustine of Hippo
My heart is restless every day, riddled with anxiety and swarming with countless ideas, inspirations, or insights. Usually this is exacerbated by my emotionally high maintenance daughter, Sarah, who is never still and in constant motion both verbally and physically. At the end of the day, there is nothing left for me to give – no deep philosophical musings, no energy to do something fun. I am depleted. My well has run dry.
I know my restlessness is derived from that dried up wellspring of the soul. It is He who says to me every day, “He who drinks of the Living Water will never thirst.” And how I thirst for God! But I somehow fall short in finding the never-ending supply of He who will quench my longing.
Still, God is present in our restlessness. He shuffles His way through the muck we shove in the dark crevices of our innermost selves. He still seeks us, despite the myriad diversions that steer us away from Him. I know He will never stop searching for me, and my search will never be complete until the day I pass from this world into the next.
To quell the heart’s disquiet and discontent, one must unabashedly discover God in the everyday mess. Sometimes I weep aloud in my home, weary from the day’s shenanigans. But more often than not, I simply pause for a fleeting second and ask Him to help me, to find me here in this place where He has put me.
And I know He has, because I am given the grace to fly to Him over and over and never tire of doing so.
In all our living together let us glorify God.
“I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall be always in my mouth. My soul will glory in the Lord; let the poor hear and be glad. Magnify the Lord with me; and let us exalt his name together.” (Psalm 34: 2-4)
I was driving this morning with my three girls in the backseat of our hunter green Dodge Caravan. It had been a trying morning: Sarah’s bus driver forgot to pick her up for school; Veronica had been teething. We couldn’t seem to get through an entire store without some mishap: spilling the shared water bottle on a newly mopped warehouse floor; losing a beloved stuffed animal; or sticky fingers swiping a random licorice piece from the bulk bin.
So I was frazzled, to say the least, and not much in the mood for any fluffy platitudes I might faintly catch on the local Christian radio station. But I caught the words, “thank God in every circumstance,” and I had to smile wryly to myself. Even as the older girls were bickering in the backseat, I knew that God was asking me to trust Him in the overbearing, loud, and stressful moments – days, weeks, years even.
Thank God in every circumstance. Doesn’t gratitude make our hearts just a little bit bigger, more willing to give? Every circumstance doesn’t just mean when my prayers are answered the way I want or when a day runs smoothly and without incident. It means thanking God when the storms strike and I’d rather take shelter away from the ruckus.
Begin today with gratitude, no matter what has unfolded thus far. Perhaps you will discover, as I did, that a smile can thaw the edges of your frozen heart so that God can penetrate them with His unfailing love.
“What we do matters little; who we are matters much.” ~ Catherine Doherty
When I was younger, I adopted the erroneous societal belief that I had to be accomplished at something. Everyone has to choose his or her vocational ambitions, be they a particular field of study in postsecondary education or through an apprenticeship or by way of on-the-job training. No matter, we are taught in so many words and ways that the more highly educated one is, the more superior to others. And that’s what the world tells us to seek: superiority.
Set your standards high. Pursue the American dream. So I did that for a time, but it faded rather quickly. Even so, I was lost. Who was I without a career? Why did making money leave me feeling hollow instead of fulfilled?
When Sarah was born, I saw for perhaps the first time how truly superficial I had been in my worldly desires. I thought, as most everyone does, that my identity was contingent upon what I had achieved and accumulated. But it wasn’t. It wasn’t about intelligence or giftedness or net worth. It wasn’t about physical beauty or quick wittedness. My identity was as a child of God, just as I saw Sarah to be, despite her outward flaws and obvious limitations.
Who we are matters more than what we do. Who we are encompasses all the little ways we reach for Heaven every day: through moments of prayer, in a smile to the check-out cashier, a quick handwritten note to a friend for her birthday, a thoughtful question to one who seems sad.
Do I spend my time learning about virtue or researching the best academic program for my children? When I am alone, am I sad or even fearful at what I might discover about myself, or am I content to face my limited nature in the company of an infinite God?
I’m not perfect at it, but I see life differently now. I see humanity differently. When I pass the janitor in the hallway of Sarah’s school, I pause to smile and say hi. Instead of turning away when I see a person with a disability, I ask their name and engage in conversation. All of life’s little moments like these create a domino effect of charity. I have to believe it all comes back to who I am rather than what I do.