By: Gail Armatys
HeartSong Life Coach
Want to Get High?
If you are reading this and you know me at all – pick your mouth up off of the floor! You can relax. This isn’t a reference to the ‘high’ you may think I’m referring to (Whew!). I’m talking about ‘helper’s high’.
Science Catches Up With Jesus
Research conducted at the National Institutes of Health in 2006 revealed that when we give of ourselves, regions of the brain associated with trust, social-connection, and pleasure are activated. Scientists also believe that such giving releases endorphins in the brain producing a positive feeling called a ‘helper’s high’.
Not sure about you, but I am soooo not surprised that science determined there are positive, stress-reducing outcomes to giving. Jesus told us this would happen.
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Luke 6:38
Last week, I was honored to witness this promise fulfilled and experience a heavenly helper’s high.
Giving Brings Light to Darkness
Tuesday, I attended a local fundraiser for Child Advocates of Fort Bend County. As I sat in my nice suit chatting with nice people I heard some not-so-nice stories from women of unimaginable strength and dignity. These stories were about the abuse they experienced from family members – the people that were supposed to love and protect them.
A high school student shared a heart-wrenching poem that offered all the nuance of her pain in the rhythm, ebb and flow, tenor of her voice, and selection of her words. Numbing and powerful.
The other presentation was a personal recollection of the trauma of a newborn discarded with the trash and set on fire with the intention of being hidden and forgotten. That plan did not yield its premeditated results but brought scores of surgeries of the flesh and the heart to this tiny baby…child…young adult…and now, mature woman and mom.
Both life stories – human tragedies. Until… a greater truth begins to shine through even as they finish speaking. This truth is: horrible experiences can be, and in these lives have been, turned into ‘something good’. I am reminded of Paul’s statement in the book of Romans:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
Why do these women sacrifice their time, comfort, and pride to share such atrocities? They know it will help others. It will call people to serve those in need, to encourage those who have suffered, and are suffering still, to seek help and heal. What do they receive for their sacrifice? The knowledge that they are making a difference in the lives of others and a heavenly helper’s high.
The Real Point of Giving
At the end of the week, I participated in the ‘Exceptional Rodeo’ at the Fort Bend County Fairgrounds with one hundred other volunteers. We were ready to ensure the exceptional kiddos attending experienced the fun and excitement of being in a real rodeo arena, with an opportunity to ride a real horse and bucking bronco, rope a not-so-real calf, and race barrels in or out of their wheelchairs, in the arms of a volunteer and to the cheers of others there in support.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there. Matthew 19:14
There were many smiles from the children who were able to smile. Others would never smile. Some could not talk, or clap, or move. Yet, the silent sparkle of their eyes told us they were feeling the love…which was really the point.
Exceptional rodeo. Exceptional kids and the gift of humility given to us who were able to participate. That, and a heavenly helper’s high.
As the two events come and go in my thoughts, I remember Jesus and his immeasurable love. How it surrounds and pours into unfathomable situations. And although pieces of grey sometimes morph into complete darkness in this ol’ world, the greater thing is that it can be turned to light.
God’s amazing grace and love shine for those who have been hurt and held back through no fault of their own and allows the rest of us to see their scars, share in their pain, and rejoice in their lives.
It’s God’s Promise
Two separate events. Two different groups of people. Givers. Hands reaching out. Hearts leaning in.
Bottom line? Giving of ourselves is a command. Jesus calls us to be intentional about it. Give to the widow, the orphan, the prisoner; those who have less and who are often treated as less.
Like you, I know that as I give, I receive. For as we surrender ourselves for the good of someone else, we find fulfillment. It’s God’s promise. It’s a heavenly helper’s high.
Oh, generous and loving God, you have called us to a greater good well beyond anything we can know or plan ourselves. You have called us to give, to be your hands and feet. Open our eyes to see where you would have us serve in both big and small ways. We praise you as we don’t deserve your gifts or blessing for participating in your work but we readily acknowledge that any biological, physical or emotional high we receive as a result is not just a helpers high, it is a heavenly high. In Jesus’ holy name we pray, Amen.
- How do you sense God calling you to serve him today?
- What cause makes brings a tear to your eye and excitement to your heart?
- Is something holding you back? If so, identify it. If not, be bold. Take a step forward. Give.
- Write down your experience and how you felt during and after this experience.
- Feel the heavenly helper’s high? Praise God!
Listen to your HeartSong!
Helping Hand/Gloryfall: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rl1YOc8wMek
Listen to the Song Written on Your Heart.