Good to Great - Enjoying Great Moments Part 4
So how do you start enjoying life?
Well first we have to slow down. (And doesn’t it seem like every lesson we have in here it tells us to slow down?) It must be important.
We get frantic when we’re rushed and we often don’t do a good job when we multi-task. But more then that, spiritual development and intimacy with God are impossible in a hurried life. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.”
Next – cut some things out. Out of your to-do list. Off of your calendar. Even in church we can be so busy serving we neglect a relationship with God. Remember the story of Mary and Martha and how Jesus told Martha, Mary was doing the better thing.
Next – learn to live in the present. Jesus told us not to worry about tomorrow. We need to take stock and be thankful for what we do have rather than what we don’t. Practice being happy. Where you are right this minute. You can make it a game. If you’re bored, think – how great, I’m inside, warm and dry, or isn’t it wonderful so many of my friends are here – that kind of thing.
Start to really notice things around you and appreciate them. God keeps some things changing all the time for us. Sunrises, sunsets, fall leaves, spring flowers. Notice them! Enjoy them! While most of this sounds like just “enjoy daily life and simple pleasures” Chip ends with “Make great moments.” Try to make every moment better that it might have been. Give it your focus. Schedule time with friends, time with family, fun activities, leisurely walks.
One last thing I want to share –
This is an excerpt from Ruth Graham’s book Simple Joy:
Mother had an amazing capacity to find and to make joy wherever she went. Some years ago, my two sisters and I were traveling with her. The circumstances were less than ideal. A dark, dirty hotel. No food service. Our passports had been taken. There was political tension in the area. It was late, and we were weary from traveling, so we collected what food we had between us - some crackers and apples - and we sat around a little table in Mother's hotel room.
Right away the three of us girls began noting the grim circumstances. Not Mother. Instead, she started to sing: "If Jesus keeps you polished you will shine. 'Course you will shine. If Jesus keeps you polished you will shine." How can you keep complaining in the midst of that kind of mirth? We all joined in, and soon we were laughing - not to mention the happy memory we made!
My mother knew how to live. I want to be able to follow her lead, finding joy in the simple things: Hearing the birds singing in the morning. Seeing a beautiful sunset where I live in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Giggling with my grandchildren. God has given all of us a great capacity for joy. Life is full of opportunities for delight and pleasure, and God wants us to experience them - to listen to the birds, to watch the sunsets, to revel in life's unexpected gifts, to enjoy other people, to delight in the laughter of children.
So often we miss out because we are burdened. Burdened by the cares of this world. Burdened by guilt, shame, and the weight of sings we've already taken to God probably many times over, seeing His forgiveness.
God's forgiveness sets us free. It gives us a fresh start to become who God created us to be. The things that encumber and hold us back are lifted, and we are liberated! That sin is gone. God erases it from His memory. He removes our sins from us "as far as the east is from the west" (Psalm 103:12).
As Corrie ten Boom wrote in her book Tramp for the Lord, "When I confess them to the Father, Jesus Christ washed them in His blood. They are now cast into the deepest sea and a sign is put up that says, NO FISHING ALLOWED."
That is grace. If we embrace it, we can come to know a freedom and a joy from which we were designed. God has freed us to live, freed us to enjoy life and love. But more often than not, we walk around joyless under a yoke of past and sin and feelings of failure. Jesus invites us to trade our heavy load of guilt and our feelings of not measuring up for his yoke, which is pulsating with the joy of life (Matthew 11:28-30). That is what God offers us through Jesus.