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Monday, April 26, 2010

Make Time For Joy

From Honest to God? Becoming an Authentic Christian by Bill Hybels, page 185-190.

The third key to maintaining authenticity is establishing the proper pace...

Along the way I found three good reasons to maintain a slower pace: survival, reflection, and enjoyment...

when we're exhausted and living on the ragged edge, we're more vulnerable to temptation and less tuned in to God's leading...

I'm convinced that busyness is the archenemy of spiritual maturity. Why? Because it keeps us from reflecting. It destroys our ability to think critically about the important issues in our lives--God, relationships, purpose, goals, service...

One more value of slowing down is that it lets us rediscover the joy in life--the fun, the laughter, the pleasure...

God wants us to enjoy pleasure and refreshment. He wast us to taste a bit of the goodness of heaven in the here and now. The stereotyped picture of the stodgy old Christian with sunken eyes and sagging shoulders is not the picture God wants us to paint with our lives. He wants us to be authentic people who exhibit authentic joy.

Jean said:

Dear Lord, I remember well that sour-faced Christian that I used to be. And I'm sooooo sorry for it. One of my big regrets in life is that I didn't have nearly as much fun being a parent as I have being a grand parent. I was so consumed with being a "good" parent, of getting it right, of making sure our kids turned out to be responsible, compassionate adults that I took life way too seriously. And I stayed way too busy doing good things. My days were packed full from 5:00 A.M. to midnight.


What a ninny I was.

Lord, I want to shout from the tip-top of the Empire State Building, "Slow down, people! Take time to live. Take time to be alone. Take time to be quiet and still every day! Take time to cultivate and enjoy the relationships you have. Take time to sit in silence and wait for God to speak!"




Some friends have a set of DVDs that depict the New Testament accounts of Jesus' life on earth. They are wonderful to watch. One of the best things about them is that the actor who portrays Christ doesn't show Him serious and dour in every scene. This "Jesus" smiles and laughs a lot. He teases His disciples and smiles as He touches people. Maybe that's not perfectly accurate; we'll not know for sure until we ask You about it personally, Lord. But I like it. It reminds me that Jesus smiles when He thinks of me. Jesus looks across the expanse of time and space and laughs when I do something ridiculous. It helps me remember that Jesus must have enjoyed experiencing His Creation at least part of the time He spent on earth.

I want that kind of joy to pervade my life, too. Your joy, Lord.

God said:

Little One, you are sooooo prone to chink every crack and crevice of your days with activity. I want to stuff those cracks with enough good sense to make you spend a little time sprawled out in cool, green clover watching the clouds drift and morph; time sitting on a park bench watching children run and play and giggle about nothing; time kneeling before Me letting Me fill your thoughts with My thoughts.


Trying to cram a little joy into a life that's already packed full of calendars and schedules and agendas makes for a really tight fit. It will pinch your toes, scrunch your nose, and squeeze every drop of authenticity right out of your days.

Take -- no MAKE -- time to live, Little One. Make time to think, to listen, to reflect. And make time for joy.