Good Treasure of the Heart

Last week my husband Mark and I spent time in the mountains of Grayson County, Virginia. I'll admit that one of my favorite things about going up there is I don't worry much about what to pack. We go hiking, canoeing, and biking, so I don't need special outfits to look nice. When we aren't out exploring God's beautiful creation, we're reading, playing board games, or watching birds from the front porch. It's a very relaxing and simple vacation, and I find it refreshing not to think about what I'm wearing or whether my hair is a mess!

This trip was special as while we were away, Mark and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary. The morning of, I opened the Daily Texts and read the following verses from Matthew, Chapter 12:

Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things. (verses 34-35)

On that day, in that place, I felt like my heart was full and I was bringing forth good things; it's so easy to do both on an anniversary and while on vacation! I didn't care about the outside as I was in the woods connecting with what matters on the inside. But as we biked down the Virginia Creeper Trail to celebrate, and I was overwhelmed by the splendor of God's world, I couldn't help but think about how often it takes a vacation or other special circumstances for me to make room for and pay attention to what's good. In my day-to-day life, I sometimes don't speak well, I focus on what I think is missing, and I get caught up on the outside. Idle words come out of my mouth as my perceptions and judgements spill over and affect what I say.

So what do we do to make sure our hearts are full of good treasure so we can bring forth good things? I'm no expert, but here's what I came up with on that beautiful bike ride through the forest:

  1. Be grateful for what we have.
  2. Share our blessings with others.
  3. See God in everyone.
  4. Pray.
  5. Apologize.
  6. Open ourselves up to new ways to serve and use our skills for the betterment of God's world.
  7. Be generous.
  8. Love as God loves us. With grace, mercy, and selflessness.

As Mark and I came to the end of our anniversary adventure, we pulled off the trail to play in a stream. I leaned in to take a picture of the rushing water and saw a rock shaped like a heart; I felt like God practically hit me over the head with it. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. A good woman out of the good treasure of her heart brings forth good things. I stuck the rock in my pocket, and when we got home, I put it on my bedside table, in hopes that seeing it every morning and night will remind me not to worry about looking or acting good, but to really BE GOOD. To show my gratitude, to get off Facebook and pray, to recognize the abundant blessings in my life, and to love generously in return. I have no doubt I'll need a few more rocks over the head to help me be filled with good treasure, but thankfully I am loved by a God whose grace and mercy are new every morning; I don't have to go out in the woods or put on nice clothes to receive them. I just need to open my heart.