DRUM ROLL! The winner of Andrea Merrill’s book Praying for the Prodigal is: Cheryl! CongratulationsCheryl, please email me your mailing address and the name of the person who the book should be autographed to. Send to: KathyCollardMiller @ gmail.com (omit spaces). 
Have you ever thought about how even good things in childhood can contribute to disregarding God and trying to meet our own needs?
I remember the day as an elementary school-aged girl that I heard my aunt say at a family gathering, “Oh, look how nicely Kathy is sitting. She’s such a good little girl.” She smiled at me and patted my head.
Those affirming words and touch were like springs of living water that my thirsty soul lapped up. Of course, I was sucking the mud from a broken cistern (Jeremiah 2:13) but I didn’t know that. It just felt good and fed my need for approval, which my parents gave me but it never filled me up.
A new idea turned into a belief that I accepted as true without questioning it. It was, “Be good and you’ll get approval.” From that I vowed, “I must look for ways to be good.”
Years later while a young teen, I belonged to a teen-aged girl’s organization. Once a year, we spent a weekend in a mountain cabin. At the end of the weekend, one of the adult chaperones announced at our final meal, “We’ve never done this before, but we want to give a special thank you to Diane who so selflessly helped in the kitchen over the weekend. Diane, come up here, and we have a little stuffed animal for you to say thank you for your generosity.” Everyone clapped as Diane went forward to receive her gift.
My immediate thought was, “If I’d known there was a gift for it, I would have helped in the kitchen too. Next time, I’ll do that.” 


Oh! My selfish little heart! My sinful motives replaced any need to look to God to provide approval. My vow to be good in order to avoid pain and experience the pleasure of approval had found another method to lap at the cistern of muddy water. 
Can you think of a childhood experience that contributed to your journey to disregard God and take care of yourself–even if it was a good experience? And has it shaped how you “do what you do”? Let’s forsake those things that encourage us to take care of ourselves and instead, learn to trust God more.
(This has been adapted from Never Ever Be the Same: A New You Starts Today. Graphic “Bulb and Head” by Idea go from www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net)