Straight from a Delighting Heart
By Lisa Elliott
A verse that has often caused my heart to pause and take inventory is Psalm 37:4. It says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Who doesn’t love the thought of getting his/her heart’s desires? But what happens when God doesn’t give us what we desire? How do we handle the turmoil in our hearts when things don’t go our way? What if the desires of our heart don’t line up with the Lord’s? I know for a fact that I haven’t always got what this little heart of mine desires! So then what?
Perhaps a question we should rather be asking is what the desires of our hearts are? Could it be that we’re putting the emphasis on the wrong portion of the verse? Maybe if we focused our attention more on delighting ourselves in the Lord we wouldn’t be as concerned with whether or not we get what we desire? So what is it exactly to delight in something or someone?
When I think of delighting, children come first to my mind. I think of the ecstatic excitement that permeates the air when they hear the ice cream truck pull into their neighbourhood. I think of my own kids elated squeals when their father walked in the door after work. I think of my grandson, Seth, on a park swing for the first time, laughing with full-blown abandon as he soared through the air.
According to Wikipedia, to delight in someone means to experience great joy and pleasure in his or her presence. And perhaps therein is our struggle when it comes to delighting ourselves in God. Many of us look at spending time with Him as an obligation to some foreboding task, rather an opportunity to enter into the Holy of Holies to meet with the Creator of the Universe. Obligation is opportunity with the heart taken out!
In my experience, the more I delight myself in the Lord by basking in His presence and immersing myself in His Word, and the more richly I invest in and nurture my relationship with Him,the more His desires become mine. He replaces the desires of my heart with His own — like a spiritual heart transplant! His priorities become my priorities (Matthew 6:33). His thoughts become my thoughts and His ways become my ways (Isaiah55:8-9). His attitudes become my attitudes (Philippians 2:5-7). His perspective renews my perspective as I soar with wings as eagles (Isaiah 40:28-31). His power is made perfect in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:8-10). The things He treasures become the things that I treasure; for, “wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be” (Luke 12:34 NLT). And the really sweet thing is, when I allow Him to transplant His desires into my heart, what I ultimately end up desiring is more of Him!
Here are some practical tips that have helped me to delight myself in the Lord:
⦁ Remember you’re meeting a person — not a habit.
⦁ Choose a regular time to meet with the Lord that works best for you. Jesus tended to “head for the hills” to meet with His heavenly Father early in the day to beat the crowds. Perhaps for you, it’s while your children nap, or over your lunch break at work. Or maybe you’re more of a nighthawk and your prime is in the evening.
⦁ Remove distractions. Unplug your phone, turn off the radio or television, shut down your computer, pull the blinds so that you’re better able to give the Lord your undivided attention.
⦁ Make a “worry list.” If you find your mind wanders easily, write down anything that enters your mind, such as remembering to put the roast in the oven, make that phone call, send that email, etc. On paper, out of mind.
⦁ De-clutter your quiet time space. Take 15 minutes to tidy up the kitchen, or whatever needs attention, so you can enjoy a guilt-free time with the Lord.
⦁ Create an inviting atmosphere. Light a candle. Put the kettle on. Play quiet, inspirational worship music. Settle into a favourite chair with your favourite blanket and celebrate your most intimate relationship with the Lover of your soul.
⦁ Make things available. Keep a basket by the place where you plan to meet with the Lord and include in it things like: a Bible, devotional book, journal, pen, paper, highlighters, Kleenex, etc.
⦁ Go for a walk with the Lord. Enjoy His presence in the beauty of His creation.
⦁ Meet the Lord in your garden.
⦁ Find a body of water and sit by it, allowing the Living Water to refresh your body, mind, and soul.
The Lord longs to be gracious to you (Isaiah 30:18). He delights Himself in you (Zephaniah 3:17). The question is do you delight yourself in Him?
”The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)
About this Contributor:
Lisa Elliott is an inspirational speaker and award-winning author of The Ben Ripple and Dancing in the Rain. Additionally, she has written articles for Just Between Us Magazine and devotionals for theStory. She and her pastor-husband, David, have four children (3 on earth, 1 in heaven) and serve the Lord together in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
To book Lisa for a weekend retreat or day conference contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org