North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose 

    There are many remedies offered for the ills of life. As a chaplain I’m often sought after to help people gain relief from the stresses in their life, but I don’t always have an immediate cure for them. Many of these folks have either become overwhelmed to the point they can’t see beyond a great mountain in front of them or they haven’t ever considered the Higher Power in relation to their problems.    At one of my battle assemblies where I was serving as an Army chaplain, a Soldier within my unit came rushing up to me as soon as our initial formation was over, “Chaplain, I’m sure glad to see you! I need to talk because I don’t know what I’m going to do about my situation!” He seemed desperate and I could tell by the look in his eyes that his heart was heavy. This soldier is not the only one who has ever had a heavy heart. In fact, the world is full of heavy-hearted people. All of us have to fight life’s battles and it’s not easy. There’s no avoiding difficulties completely, they come to the rich and the poor. No amount of possessions, cars, trucks, or boats have the power to take us away from all that burden our hearts. And because problems and troubles come to all, there must be a universal solution; something that’s within the reach of every person. What is it that can help all of us to lighten the load on our heart and affections? Victory over our problems begins by being equipped for the battle.

    The first secret to a light heart is friendship. The one thing that can keep us from falling into despair is the conscious idea that we have a good, strong, faithful friend on which we can turn. It’s a great mistake to live in this world without cultivating friends. It’s a relief to us to come in contact with a sympathetic touch from a kindred spirit. Friendships are made even greater when centered on the spirit of Christ. Jesus said, to his disciples, and through them to us: “You are my friends” (John 15:15). Friendship is part of the formula in attaining a light heart.

    Another secret to a light heart is appreciation by others. Having the consciousness that we know of someone who thinks well of us, has a positive effect on us mentally and emotionally. Being appreciated carries with it the responsibility of returning that good will. Knowing someone cares and admires you promotes a glad heart and helps us face the day with music in our soul. Think of this, if we live honestly toward God, trying to please Him in everything, we can know we have His favor. Is it not true that much of the unrest within our heart comes from the feeling that others are not pleased with us? There’s only one way to lighten your heart of that feeling, and that’s to “set the record straight”.

    Many people who talk to me about conflict in their relationships have either wronged someone or they have been wronged themselves and all joy and peace are gone, their faces lowered or turned away, and their heart’s heavy. When apologies and confession are exchanged and the wrong-doer’s been forgiven, faces brighten and shine and hearts are lighter than a bird’s wing. When we trespass God’s law, and the Holy Spirit sweeps in with loving, but firm conviction, our hearts become heavy. The way to lighten our heart and become happy again is to frankly confess our sins and receive forgiveness.

    Another secret of a light heart is the conscious effort we put forth to be helpful. The person who is most waited on, petted for no reason other than they’re lazy and spoiled is often the one that is so far down emotionally they’ve lost their sense of helping others. Selfishness clips our wings and we will fail to move beyond ourselves inwardly. Selfishness is like a bowl of heavy dough that doesn’t rise, but sinks where it’s at and becomes soggy and sour. Fill your heart with a selfish attitude and you’ll never know the joy that helps you overcome your own hardships. Jesus was happy and even content when he saw the Cross before him knowing how much he would help and bless all the world. The consciousness that we’re helping somebody, making them happier, will bring a ray of sunshine home to us and make life a little more bearable.

    Finally, a light heart is possible when we have the assurance that this is God’s world and not the devils, and though we can’t see how any good will come of it, God is orchestrating a symphony that will play a melody that’s tuned to our own ears. There’s a bright side to any difficulty and God in His way and time makes us know that all things are working together for our good (Romans 8:28).

    A beautiful passage from Psalm 61 speaks so clearly the feelings in many of our hearts: “O God, listen to my cry! Hear my prayer! From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for you are my safe refuge; safe beneath the shelter of your wings!” (Psalm 61:1-4).

    Make note of these four secrets for a light heart and remember them when you need a cure for a heavy one: friendship, appreciation, consciousness of being helpful, and God’s guidance. One of these can help you where you are right now in this moment, but all four are within your reach. I know so, because as a child of God, there are doors set before you just waiting to be walked through and only you can shut them. Be watchful and walk where God leads.

• This bi-weekly column is written by Matthew Dobson. He’s a teacher, U.S. Army Chaplain, and the Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in the New York Community. His “Living With Purpose” Book series can be found and purchased on www. You can contact him at:

Posted by on Oct 8 2017. Filed under Church News, Living With Purpose, Local, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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