All of that being said, I want to move on to my middle child. He has been floundering and wandering for many years. He came back to a place of loving the Lord again last November. About six weeks ago he had another setback with old ways haunting him. Yesterday started out well for him at his sister's wedding and he was joyfully celebrating with all of us. As the day progressed I could see him become more troubled. As I watch and pray for him as he tries to find his way in life, I find myself not knowing what to say to him or how else to pour into his life. Yesterday, he expressed that he just wanted to be happy. Hugs and words about making choices were given. Then, this morning, I read Psalm 34. It is a psalm that David wrote while he was hiding from Saul and had an opportunity to retaliate, but didn't. He tells us how we can truly enjoy life!
Psalm 34:12-14 (Today's English Version)
Would you like to enjoy life?
Do you want long life and happiness?
Then keep from speaking evil
and from telling lies.
Turn away from evil and do good;
strive for peace with all your heart.
Joy. It comes from having a right relationship with God and a healthy relationship with others. As I pondered over what this looks like in real life I realized that we find many things that can take the place of truly enjoying life! Some mistake joy with an adrenaline rush (or any kind of 'rush') and seek it from any number of things: getting hyped up over a sporting event, skydiving, some intense physical activity, drugs, or even a highly emotional church service. Then they simply feel let down afterwards. Have you been there? I surely have... To maintain the joy the Lord offers, I'd like to suggest that we seek to attain a 'rush' from pouring God's love into peoples' lives! A big part of this act is the planning of the execution, thinking about how we can unexpectedly do this in someone else's life, and then putting the plan into action! That is the climax, the rush, the joy in it all.
How about if we plan to carry out a top-secret act of kindness or mission for someone in need? Let me give you an example. We knew of a family who was in financial need. My then teenage niece and her friend went to the store and bought this family some groceries. They snuck up to their door, left the groceries, knocked on the door and RAN! The excitement and adrenaline rush was very real - and legal- and they came rushing into our living room laughing and out of breath! And it blessed God and His people!
Another time, when it was time to take the trash to the transfer station, my husband and I went to a couple's home that we knew were hard-pressed financially. It costs money to take the trash to the dump (I mean transfer station) in our town. We went to see if they wanted us to take their trash. They weren't home so we took their trash without asking or telling them. They figured it out the next morning at church. :) Now, I don't suggest you just go do something for someone any old time - there are some things to consider. Some people like things done a particular way, or you may get in trouble for taking something that wasn't yours, or for trespassing! Use caution and common sense. But in these two situations we knew these people well and they are part of the body of Christ. Besides, I don't think anyone would be disappointed to have free pick-up for their trash!
The point is that we can enjoy life in doing the unexpected. So, love on other people in unexpected ways! Say farewell to trying to fill a void in life the same old way. Welcome the new and anticipate great things! Try it out today. Begin a plan to put into action. See how God opens doors and fills YOUR heart!