Enduring For Enjoying

Find the joy in your life.” —Carter Chambers, The Bucket List

Because of my Type A personality, much of my life has been spent obsessing about the end product rather than enjoying the overall process.

I remember in High School, all the guys at my table would poke fun at me because I would eat my baked potato like an apple. That’s right, I would literally pick up the potato and take bites out of it like an apple. While other guys would be carefully cutting their potato and lavishing it with butter, sour cream, ranch and salt and pepper, I would already be finished and licking my fingers clean.

When asked why in the world I was eating my potato this way, my response was always the same, “Because, it’s quicker!” Why waste my time going through the trouble of doctoring up my potato when I could scarf it down in a few bites and get the same nutritional value—with half the effort and in half the time? Although I didn’t necessarily enjoy this method, I endured it because it was more efficient.

Regrettably, this is a picture of how I’ve lived most of my Christian life. I’ve endured it instead of enjoyed it.

For some reason, I’ve lived my life as an ascetic—someone who withholds pleasure from the flesh or inflicts pain on the body in order to appear or become more spiritual.

I somehow adopted the mentality that the more uncomfortable and dry the approach to God, the more spiritual it was. To pray while on my knees or lying prostrate was sure to get God’s attention more than sitting on my cozy couch. To drag myself out of bed at an extra early hour to study the Scriptures was sure to merit God’s blessing and smile over my day. To go about my day in a somber and reflective mood meant that I understood my stance before an Almighty God.

Although I certainly believe in reverence, this approach not only resulted in a dry spiritual life, but a dry life period! Music, laughter and lingering conversations over dinner were virtually non-existent in my life. My days were mostly “business” that saw very little enjoyment.

So, I’ve thrown in the towel.

As I’ve discussed HERE, I now sit comfortably with Jesus in the mornings with no agenda other than to have coffee and to “be” with Him. If you come to my house, you’ll hear music playing softly in the background pretty much every waking minute. Monica and I are strategically (but slowly) decorating our home to be the most comfortable place on the planet. Dinner around the table is now for conversation instead of consumption. Wine is enjoyed. Food is savored. Conversations are lively. Friends are welcome. Life is being enjoyed.

If you have found yourself enduring your relationship with Jesus and others and not enjoying either, you may want to consider throwing in the towel with me.

Take a moment and think about the things in your life that brings you the most joy. Walking? Running? Music? Sushi? Golf? Make a point to include these in your days and weeks and make them an on-going part of your life. I’m convinced that our Father delights in seeing His children enjoying Him, themselves and life way more than painfully watching us endure these things.

So, the next time you eat a baked potato, I pray that God will bring this silly little post to your mind and remind you that it’s OK to butter up your life and enjoy it. After all, in the words of John Piper, “God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him.”

So, enjoy and be satisfied.

Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it…with the finest of wheat, and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.” – Ps. 81:10,16

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