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Your heart's desire?

When I read Bible verses promising that God will give us ‘the desires of our heart’, I tend to think they are written for people other than myself. They are for those who have very clear targets and ambitions, people who are beseeching God to fulfil their hopes and dreams. My problem is that I’m not very clear what my desires are. I tend to recognize them in retrospect!

I have two sons. One of them was married ten years ago, on a gorgeous summer day in July. With his lovely wife, he raised two wonderful children, and I became a granddad. Until they were born, I didn’t realize how wonderful it was to be a grandparent. It wasn’t something I was seeking or dreamed about, but when it happened, I was overwhelmed. It was something beyond my dreams and it brought me such joy – it still does.

Last weekend, my second son was married. I had not imagined him ever being married. In fact, I thought he would probably always be single. However, last Saturday I saw a wonderful couple joined in matrimony, in an idyllic village setting, surrounded by friends and family, in the most glorious summer weather. It was amazing.

I truly believe God does give us the desires of our heart, whether we name them in advance and regularly bring them to God in prayer, or whether, like me, we identify them in retrospect. What is important is that, at some point, we take time to reflect and acknowledge the good things that have happened in our lives and be thankful.

A few years ago, I was given some advice that has changed my life. It was very simple. I was told to begin my time of prayer by listing 5 things from the previous day that I was thankful for. They could be heart-lifting occasions like weddings but more often they would be the ordinary things of life like the scent of a flower, the kind word from a neighbour, or the fact that the computer didn’t let me down when making a presentation!

I believe establishing a ‘habit of thankfulness’ is one of the keys to good mental health. When I’m thankful, I’m happy. St Paul taught the very same thing 2000 years ago when he penned these words, ‘Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus’. Good advice indeed!