A few weeks ago, I was reading through a friends blog, CandleLight Cottage, and came upon a lovely article in which she speaks of her two youngest sons, who sought her out to ask if they could have the change in the bottom of her purse. She writes:
It sounds sweet, and simple enough. So simple, in fact, it’s easy to miss the significance of what I began to see. My children don’t have any money, or “income” of their own that they receive on a regular basis. Everything they need is supplied for them, and if they want something above and beyond their basic needs, they have to come and ask for it…. They are totally dependant upon their father (or parents) for everything they have or don’t have, for everything they need or don’t need, and for everything they want-or don’t want. Getting the picture here? I could have “all the money in the world” or ‘ … but it is within my “power” (not theirs) on whether I give it to them, whether they receive what they so desire. What a very simple thing to say “Yes” to my boys, and fill them with glee! What a very small effort it takes to bless my sons—because I love them and want to give to them. Out of my abundance or out of my lack, my heart is always reaching out to them… and I saw the heart of my Father, in the same way, reaching out to His children in love. And He has no lack!
This article spoke to my heart in a powerful way. Lately, it seems that God has been teaching me about His blessings, specifically about His desire to bless me in ways I haven’t been very open to considering before (financial blessings, in particular.) I read my friend’s blog post, and it suddenly occurred to me, the kind of relationship I’ve had with God all these years. In the comments section of her blog post, I wrote:
It seems that God has been returning me to the theme of “ask and you shall receive” and, more specifically, dealing with me regarding the feelings of guilt I often have when I find myself wanting certain things. Imagine if your boys neglected to approach you about things as “trivial” as the change in the bottom of your purse – imagine if they only felt comfortable asking you for the necessities in life, like food and clothing… how would that change your relationship with them? It would become so incredibly utilitarian… a relationship like that with my own children would break my heart. And yet, this is exactly how I find myself approaching God. I hesitate to go to Him with the “desires of my heart,” feeling guilty for wanting things that aren’t necessary or “spiritual.” And yet there He is, with His hands open in front of me, begging me to come to Him with my desires, telling me over and over again that His desire is to bless me “fully and abundantly,” making it clear that He WANTS to give me the “desires of my heart,” if I’ll but ask. My hesitancy to ask must break His heart.
Can you imagine, for a moment, if your children never felt comfortable asking for anything but their needs? Can you imagine if the only things they ever asked you for were food and clothing and a roof over their heads? That would be heartbreaking to me! And I think it must be heartbreaking to God, too.
Personally, I think Jillian Michaels hit the nail on the head when she wrote (in a quote I posted a few weeks back):
“Many of us are taught to settle & made to feel guilty if we are single-minded about going after something we want. We go on to believe that our desires are selfish, our self-love is arrogant & pompous. Society tells us it is okay to want things, but only within reason & at a price. We’re allowed to want comfort, but in …due time & within limits.”
I believe CS Lewis was absolutely correct when he wrote (in a similar vein): “If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this…is no part of the Christian faith.”
“Delight yourself in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)
It is my belief that God not only desires to bless us with “trivial” things, He’s waiting for us to ask for them! In fact, I’m coming to believe that not only is there is no shame in asking God for trivial things, but that many of the desires I have, that I’ve labeled as “selfish” and fought to rid myself of, are actually from God Himself! What does it mean to have a loving Father? What does it mean when the Bible tells us He wants to bless us?
“What man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!”
As a parent, I would be saddened if my children didn’t feel free to ask me for toys or books or the change out of the bottom of my purse. It is my delight and privilege to grant their small requests and see them smile over a new toy car or baby doll. It is the delight of many parents to be able to give their children big things, like new cars or fancy dresses. And of those parents unable to give extravagant gifts, how many have wanted to? Is the heart of the Father toward us any different? The only difference that I can see is that God “owns the cattle on a thousand hills” and is not limited in resources.
Is it possible that many of the “desires of our heart” that we’ve labeled as “selfish” are actually the very things that God wants to bless us with?
I’m beginning to think so.