Surely one reason the Lord gave this procrastinator a wonderful otter daughter is because I needed to learn to play. I needed to lighten up. She was His prescription for me. (Our Otter Daughter, September 6, 2015)
“A merry heart does good like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” Proverbs 17:22.
A merry heart is healthy physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. A child, husband, friend, or colleague who has a merry heart brings sunshine into our days. I love those people!
Truly, I loved our daughter’s otterness even when she felt I didn’t. I just felt so RESPONSIBLE for getting things done I was afraid to pause and play. I had to learn.
At last, I began listening to our daughter’s encouragement to lighten up. It helped spending time with certain friends – a mother and daughter who both love to play and enjoy each other. Thank you, friends!
It was hugely helpful to recognize that I carried a wrong and unhealthy sense of responsibility. Yes, as a wife and mother I had – and have – certain duties. But I thought it was my responsibility to make everything in our family turn out right. That was a burden God did not put on me.
No wonder I didn’t have time to play or to tolerate children playing when I thought they should work. We had to get things done! Again, that burden was not from God.
A broken spirit dries the bones. There’s life in that marrow where blood cells are made. I think I broke some spirits in our family by mishandling the pressure I felt.
Recognizing a difference in goals and desires helps. With a goal I have control over the factors that make a thing happen. With a desire I do not have control over those factors. I could teach my children about the Lord, but their trusting Christ was between them and His Holy Spirit. I could feed my children healthy meals and teach them good hygiene; I cannot protect them from all disease. (See Goals and Desires, March 2, 2015)
Finally, I saw the burden I had wrongfully taken on myself by trying to make everything turn out right. I saw how I had affected our family. What a relief to let that burden go!
I became open to a merry heart. I could play and rest. Thank you, Otter Daughter! Thank you, Lord! I’m still more beaver than otter, but that’s how He made me. Even a beaver can have a merry heart!
What can you release in order to open yourself to a merry heart?