This past weekend was a good one. I mean, a really good one. We had family over for the night for a mini “staycation” and were able to play games, eat good food, celebrate my sister’s birthday, and just relax and be. We spent lots of time just hanging out on either the front porch or the back porch, both of which are some of my favorite spots in the world.
Although we see my family fairly regularly, there’s often more of an agenda for our getting together. A birthday party, a funeral, a holiday…which are all filled with hustle and bustle. This time was different. Nothing fancy, nobody to impress. Just chatting, wandering around the yard observing all the budding plants, playing with the kids, and just resting in each other’s presence. (Oh, and eating fried morels. If you’ve never experienced the pure joy that is a fried morel mushroom, my heart aches for you. What a sad life you’ve lived. 😉 Thanks for finding them, Dad, and for frying them, Mom! YUM!)
I’ll be honest. In the middle of having a great time with the family I found myself having to fight off thoughts like, “But they’ll have to go home in a few hours, that stinks.” Or, “What if someone gets sick or gets in an accident before we can all get together again?” You get the idea.
Am I the only one who can ruin a wonderful moment just by imagining what tomorrow might, maybe, perhaps, possibly bring? I have a feeling I’m not alone here.
I’ve been a stay at home mom for 10 years, but before that I had a 9-5. It was a fulfilling, but stressful job (social work), and I found myself rejoicing every time Saturday rolled around. And every Sunday? I found myself stressed out by what I knew Monday would bring. Instead of finding rest on the last of my two days off, I would spend it fighting anxiety about the upcoming work week. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to waste my good moments (or days!) worrying about the future.
Matthew 6:34 says it well. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries.”
There’s no denying that troubles will find us here and there. But on those sacred instances when all seems to actually be going right? Let’s make a point to be in the moment and just breathe in the goodness of life instead of ruining it with worry. Or maybe you’re the type to feel guilty when you’re having a good time; like you should be doing something more “productive” with your time.
Well, let’s not forget this verse found in Ecclesiastes 8:15: “So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun.”
I take this verse to mean that times of rest and enjoyment are not only nice, but necessary. They pump us up for the rest of life’s required hard work and ups and downs that inevitably come our way.
Contrary to popular belief, God is not a grumpy old man up in the clouds who frowns down on us when he sees us resting and enjoying life. God actually loves a good party!
If you’ve ever read through the Bible you’ve seen how often people gather to celebrate for various occasions. It’s true – Jesus himself (God as a man) loved spending time with his friends and attending parties and celebrations! Isn’t that permission enough to embrace the good times??
If God didn’t intend for us to enjoy the world he made, why would he have invented so many brilliant colors, hundreds of beautiful flowers and trees, so many different personalities, and even senses of humor? There’s no denying that we have a God who appreciates fun. He gives us all these amazing gifts and loves to watch us enjoy them.
So let’s free ourselves to be able to embrace the good when it comes, instead of worrying ourselves out of the joy that God has for us today. Of course we all have work to do and bills to pay, and we do need to be responsible and fulfill our duties. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be joyful in the process and set aside times just to rest and enjoy the life God has given us.
Maybe we should actually schedule it in more often. I’d hate to get to Heaven and have God ask me, “Why did you spend so much time trudging through life when I gave you so many good things to enjoy?”