Seeing the big picture in life is important. Yet, sometimes we forget God blesses us to enjoy life in everyday snap shots, one simple pleasure at a time.
I received such wonderful responses in comments and emails from my earlier post “Laughter Can Be the Best Faith Medicine“, I couldn’t help, but start a series of posts on Babysteps to Recapturing a Life of Joy.
One of my favorite Bill Murray movies is What About Bob? (If you haven’t seen it, you’ve got put it in your Netflix queue, next to the movie Up. It is h-i-l-a-r-i-o-u-s.). In the movie, Bob (Bill Murray) suffers from multiple phobias and his mantra towards recovery was: “Baby Steps”.
Those words became keys to my recovery to laughter as well. Like Martha in the Bible, my head was full of worries, bothered by so many things. Jesus told her to stop and choose what her sister Mary did: simply sit down and enjoy time with Him.
So, my journey to recapture joy started with a very simple list.
Baby Step #1: Take Pleasure in Simple Things
I didn’t know it at the time I was talking to Pastor Rich, but I was just entering into a spiritual dessert. In that dessert, I retreated back to the basics of activities and places where I felt closest to God and enjoyed Him the most.
I had to learn once again to find pleasure and rest.
We often emphasize the importance to graze and munch on God’s Word. This is an undeniable truth we cannot live without.
But, we often make the mistake of overlooking life God intended, by missing out on simple pleasures.
Don’t take the simple pleasures in life lightly. Jesus Himself found great joy, comfort and refuge in them during his earthly days here. So should we.
My Simple Pleasures List
1. Cooking for Friends. I love cooking, especially for an audience. I grew up cooking meals Chinese style, which means, there are more than a few pairs of chopsticks on the table. I love the rush of going to the market to shop for the ingredients fresh on-the-day-of. Put on some Sarah Vaughn or The Eagles. Before you know it, an evening with friends becomes the perfect night for me.
“They saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread… Jesus said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish you have just caught.’.. Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’”John 21:9-12
2. Eating with Friends. This is different from #1. I don’t have to cook! Just meet up for coffee and a pastry, or catch up over a scramble and a stack of pancakes (yum,yum!), and life is good sitting across the table from a friend or two.
“Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him.” John 12:2
3. Looking at the Ocean. I love enjoying the ocean alone or with friends. It’s easy to exhale into the crash of the waves on a beach. If it’s cold, I’ll snuggle up with a beat up old sweatshirt, pull my cap over my ears and stay until my nose can’t stand it any longer.
“As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew.” Matt 4:18-22
4. Hiking. Alone or with a friend, hiking never fails me to lift my spirits, as I find myself surrounded by nature’s beauty: tall redwoods, hovering over me like a warm blanket, majestic mountains reminding me of God’s protection. I always see something new even if I’ve hiked a trail a dozen times. And if it starts to sprinkle, it’s double the pleasure.
“.. Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives..” John 8:1
5. Camping. In the woods, with crickets chirping to keep you up, the stars up above shine so bright, I can’t help but stare until something comes out of me. Might be a smile, a tear, or a prayer. And my favorite, a yawn.
“Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives..” Luke 21:37
6. Live music. I can’t explain it. There’s just something about music that can move you like no words can. Even if you sit in the back of the room, you can hear a voice linger in the air or a note from a piano resonate. And your soul breathes.
“And David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethren the singers, with instruments of music, psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding aloud and lifting up the voice with joy.” 1 Chronicles 15:16
How about you? What are the simple pleasures God’s given you to enjoy?
Make your Simple List today and make plans to check them off. Slowly. Baby steps.. Baby steps.. Repeat after me.
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