Enjoyment: What a topic!
I mean, if we spent every day going to Disneyland, lounging by the pool, watching the waves roll up from the ocean, or eating hot fudge sundaes, it would be a simple topic, right? However, that is far from the reality of our daily lives!
Most days, our lives are full of responsibilities, timelines, deadlines, grumpy people, dirty dishes, loads of laundry…you fill in the blank.
In this crazy, ‘dog eat dog’ world that we live in, even in our “nice Christian” circles, life can be anything but enjoyable. Yet God calls out to us to enjoy ourselves. To enjoy this creation that He made. To enjoy this life that He gave to us. Although, that is not always an easy task.
This past week was a really difficult one for me. I found myself with more to complete and do than there were hours in the day for. I found myself coming home late every night, still, with an uncompleted check list.
Just so you know, Mondays are the worst for me. Not just because Mondays are the beginning of my work week, but they are also my husband’s day off. Now, that’s just throwing fuel on the fire!
Not to mention, I was entering the countdown to a very difficult deadline at work. I made it through this past Monday, by the grace of God, and was heading home just after dark. I had been too busy that weekend to shop, and I needed to pick up some groceries for dinner. I automatically turned my car in the direction of my neighborhood grocery store, but then it occurred to me. Why not go to the new Whole Foods they had just opened up down the street? I could slowly cruise down the aisles and look at all of the items I could not afford to buy, and then pick up one or two that I loved. I could peruse the sandwich bar, the salad bar, the pastry bar, and maybe even treat myself at the coffee bar! I was feeling enjoyment at just the thought of Whole Foods.
It has been one of my families favorite places for years. There is one right around the corner from my mom and sister’s house, and one within walking distance of my son and daughter-in-law’s house. I have been waiting for one to open close to us for a long time!
Enjoyment came to me as I reflected on all of the special times my family and I have spent there. We had a recent visit with our son and daughter-in-law, and took a lovely walk to the fountains by their house. We went into Whole Foods and had a coffee, accompanied by one of the best cookies I have ever tasted in my life! My daughter-in-law turned me onto a cookie called, “the kitchen sink.” It is everything delicious in one cookie! I thought of the times my mom and sisters and I had gone on a morning walk from my mom’s house and sat and shared coffee and conversation together. As you can see, Whole Foods brings up all kinds of memories of enjoyment for me.
My heart was already filling with warm thoughts, and it was helping turn a difficult day into a better one. I pulled into the parking spot right up front, I walked in and there, to my left was the coffee bar. My eyes read the menu and I discovered they not only had cappuccinos, but gelato as well! My husband’s favorite! I found the darkest chocolate gelato they had and asked for a cup to go. I asked for the largest nonfat cappuccino they make–the mega grandissimo! I was feeling enjoyment inside knowing that Jim would be excited when he came home from his men’s meeting and I had a cup of gelato waiting for him. It got even better-the woman behind the counter handed me my cappuccino, and on the cup it said, “ENJOY COFFEE.” Could it be any more perfect? That is exactly what I intended to do!
Maybe it was the difficulty of my day, maybe it was simply the delicious flavor, but that cappuccino was the best I have ever had. I strolled down the aisle sipping it’s deliciousness, savoring the foam and strong espresso. In that moment my mood was lifted! God was speaking to me, in the little issues and in the big issues of life.
I have a decision to make: Am I going to enjoy my life and allow God’s goodness to shine through the good times as well as the bad times? Or am I simply going to focus on the not so enjoyable parts?
I love that God has a sense of humor! I love that He teaches me exactly what I need to know, even before I know I need it.
I find it completely comical that He put it on my heart this week to write about ENJOYMENT, when I am going through one of the most stressful seasons of my year.
I feel like I’m barely holding my head above water most days, let alone “ENJOYING MYSELF!”
However, when I pause, and give myself a moment to reflect on something other then my “stress”, I see that there is enjoyment all around me. When I am the most stressed, the most frazzled, the most pushed to my limits, where exhaustion makes me want to sleep standing up…that is when I need these moments of enjoyment more than ever!
God’s word calls to me, and brings enjoyment as I listen to the truth of His word:
Ecclesiastes 3:12-13; ” I know that there is nothing better for men then to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil- THIS IS THE GIFT OF GOD!”
And also, Ecclesiastes 5:19; “Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to except his lot and be happy in his work- THIS IS A GIFT FROM GOD.”
Are you catching this? It hit me like a slap across the face! Lisa, wake up! Do you understand that when you work, when you toil, I can give you enjoyment through it, and as a result, it is a gift from Me to you?
Are we too stressed out at the beginning of our day to enjoy a beautiful sunrise? Or are we too tired and frustrated at the end of our day to enjoy the beautiful colors across the sky when the sun sets?
God is asking us to be content in ALL things, in any and every situation. God wants to be our enjoyment in and through every situation. Not just when we have the whole day off, or we get a spa certificate. We need to sense Him, in and through our EVERY DAY, No matter how stressful it may be.
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty, I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I CAN DO EVERYTHING THROUGH CHRIST WHO GIVES ME STRENGTH.” – Philippians 4: 12-13.
I used to think contentment was a bad word. I used to think that if I settled for contentment, it would keep me away from doing my best. However, all it proved to do was exhaust me and keep me from experiencing enjoyment all around me. I must cling to the truth of God’s word and what it tells me about contentment, and find enjoyment through it!
Romans 14:17, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
Righteousness, peace, and joy! These can be mine, and these can be yours, no matter what our circumstances.
So, lift that cappuccino up and enjoy it. Take that walk in those lush green parks. When you walk or run, feel your heartbeat in your chest. Talk with a friend, laugh heartily at a good joke, and let the joy of children put a smile on your face! God smiles when you do, and He wants you to enjoy your blessings.
God smiles when we enjoy what He’s given us.
Find true enjoyment in something this week and thank God for it!
Next week, get ready for the topic of, contentment.
Looking forward to talking with you then.
Speak Truth Love