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Cindy Dennis

Executive Director

**The Power of a Cheerful Heart: Finding Strength in Adversity**

Late in November, my daughter and her family came for a visit. I love being around the grandchildren and we were looking forward to celebrating birthdays and an early Christmas with my mom. Not long after everyone’s arrival, I discovered I had a runny nose, just like my grandson Noah.

Unfortunately, my runny nose was relentless, and in two days I had used up four boxes of tissues and had to go out to buy more. Even with drinking lots of fluids and getting plenty of rest (not normal for me), I was still not getting ahead of this.

Of course, under my own strength, I tried to go to work and prepare for my Monday Night Confident Women Workshop. Not a good idea. I was not working on all cylinders and made some mistakes along the way. While leaving work and driving to the Workshop, I had a serious coughing attack, such that I did not see the car in front of me suddenly stop and I caused a rear-end collision.

The other car was not nearly as damaged as mine. To top off the evening, the arriving police officer gave me a citation as the cause of the accident. Moreover, I never made it to the Workshop and had to drive home with a damaged car, damaged pride, and damaged heart, for I was trying to overcome this sickness under my own strength.

I am thankful my husband demonstrated a positive and cheerful heart, as he was very caring. I finally gave all my situations to God, went to bed early, and slept through the night, feeling so much better in the morning. I had not been this sick since I was in the fourth grade and it took almost two weeks to finally overcome, but through it all I vowed to keep a positive perspective and attitude. I prayed, listened to healing scriptures, made declarations of faith, and was hopeful to be on the mend, but it took longer than I had suspected.

Early one morning, the Lord spoke into my spirit that He is my healer, my redeemer, and my strength. And though it took me time to get my strength back and feel like myself again, one promise carried me through all this: “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength” (Proverbs 17:22). When you look up the literal translation of this verse, it reads: “A cheerful heart causes good healing.” To me, this means my attitude, the way I approach the problems and trials of life, actually brings about good healing.

As I did further research, I found that from a medical perspective, a cheerful disposition helps the body to be both healthful and vigorous. Doctors confirm that people who came to them deathly sick got better amazingly fast because they went in with a positive spirit and were surrounded by positive people.

I praise God for the family and friends who surrounded me with prayers and words of encouragement. Through all this, I discovered the value of having a cheerful heart. How can you have a cheerful heart even in the darkest moments of life? Since our attitude makes all the difference, it is up to us to choose to obey Jesus' words in John 16:33 that says, “In the world you have trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.”

You can have a cheerful spirit if you believe God will not fail you, nor leave you without support. He will not let you down. Assuredly not! (See Hebrews 13:5).

Here are some suggestions to help cultivate a cheerful heart:

1. **Cultivate an intimate relationship with God.**

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." - Matthew 6:33

2. **Cultivate a forgiving spirit.**

"Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends." - Proverbs 17:9

3. **Cultivate a positive mindset.**

"All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast." - Proverbs 15:15

4. **Cultivate a giving heart.**

"In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" - Acts 20:35

Remember, “A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired.” (Proverbs 17:22 MSG)




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