Any food lovers out there?
I deeply enjoy food. Deeply.
And all of it - the entire process. From meal planning, to grocery shopping, to preparing, to cooking and baking, to presentation, to eating the food and sharing it with friends and family around a table, and even remembering a good meal... all of this is incredibly enjoyable to me.
Most of my vivid childhood memories involve eating food around a table with family, telling stories and laughing for hours, celebrating life through food and community. Sharing food is powerful and wonderful.
I realize that not everyone feels that way about food.
When I was in high school, I met a woman who had won some body building contests in years past. She had trained and focused her mind to only put the kind of food in her body that would fuel her muscles and help her to stay fit. (I met this woman when I topped the 200 lb mark, which is not the healthiest on my 5’4” frame. So, my mom and I started going to a gym to work out, changed some of our eating habits, and with the Lord’s help (for real), I lost around 60 lbs over the course of 2-3 years.)
This body-builder even said at one point, “I don’t even taste food anymore. I really only see food as fuel and will drink my green smoothie and know that this is just what my body needs.”
As a food lover, this made me very, very sad.
My husband Blake is wired very differently. He enjoys food (particularly meat), but he doesn’t think about it. In fact, he sometimes forgets to eat.
Blake is very good at enjoying people, though. He feels about people like I feel about food.
He will think about the people that he enjoys and will tell them all the things he likes about them. He radiates happiness when he's around fun people. And he is great at keeping in touch and fostering community.
Enjoying people is something I would like to get better at. But people are messy sometimes. And donuts are always just delicious.
TRUE ENJOYMENT is something we all deeply need. Mostly because I think it is a God quality. I believe God enjoys us and His creation more than any of us realize, and it would do us great good to make room in our lives for ENJOYMENT.
God attempts to help us with this by instituting the Sabbath. After creating the heavens, the earth, and all of creation in Genesis 1, He rests on the seventh day. I don’t really think God needs to rest, but we sure do. And it’s hard to enjoy something when we are frantically moving on to the next task.
If you’ve ever tried to keep a Sabbath, Sabbathing is hard. Which means it just might be really valuable.
In our goal-driven, focused, results-based culture, how do we make room for true enjoyment? And there is a huge difference between deep soul enjoyment and cheap entertainment to pass the time.
Even our spirituality and God-relationships tend toward goals, progressing, and spiritual achievement in our culture.
In all of our church-going, quiet time, prayer, worship, Bible reading, and fellowship, how often do we pause and ENJOY God, simply because He’s wonderful?
This probably happens most easily during worship, when our hearts and minds are fully focused on God and His attributes and who He is and the wonderful things He has done.
Here are some simple ways to intentionally enjoy God:
- Set aside some goal-free time to think about God. Toss the agenda. Even just a few minutes will do.
- Consider some of the ways that God has proven Himself faithful in your life. What challenges have you gone through and how did God show up?
- Write God a letter or say out loud a list of the things you enjoy about Him.
- If you are walking through a crisis or great difficulty, know that you can still enjoy the presence of the Savior. I recently read "Tortured for Christ" by Richard Wormbrand, and he tells of his 14 year horrific experience in a Communist Romanian jail where he was tortured for his faith in Christ. He details some of the awful things he encountered, but also describes the unspeakable JOY he found through suffering for Christ. Even in unthinkable circumstance, or when prayers haven't been answered yet, or you desperately need God to show up, you can still ENJOY who God is in this very moment.
- Take some time to worship and sing to Him of His greatness (if you’re feeling creative, sing a song from your heart and just tell Him how incredible He is!).
- Think about His character traits… The names of God really reveal WHO He is. Think on these and let your heart enjoy the nature of God. Here is a resource on some of the names of God.
- Throughout your day, tell God what you enjoy about his creation. Sunsets, leaves, people, FOOD, colors, stars, weather, ANYTHING!
Think about someone close to you in your life. Doesn’t it feel amazing when someone enjoys you for WHO you are? They don’t need anything from you, they don’t have a list of dos or shoulds, they just ENJOY your presence. That’s one of the best feelings in the world. That's how God feels toward us, and I imagine He really longs for that from us.
Sure, He can do a lot of things for us. He is willing and able. But WHO He is, is astounding. Pause and Enjoy Him today.