This month I shared my “word of the year” over on the socials. My word was a clear choice this year, but really this word has been calling to me for years. The more I meditate on my word, the more I see its themes weaving through significant healing and transformative moments of my life! It’s as if God has been nudging me to pay attention to this word, because He has hidden a secret here. And you know what? It’s only the end of month one but I’m beginning to see the edges of this secret. In fact, the up-close look at this word is requiring me to wear a different lens altogether, and this view is changing everything!
Let me start first with my word.
D E L I G H T
delight (de·light | di-ˈlīt) noun | verb
:: a high degree of gratification or pleasure : something that gives great pleasure : the power of affording pleasure | to take great pleasure : give keen enjoyment
Easy to discern fact about me: I love delighting.
Taking great pleasure is not something I struggle to do. I take, and take and (try to) take great pleasure in life. But what I take great pleasure in has not always given goodness back to me. What has started out as pleasure has on occasion ended in pain. Maybe you can relate, but I can tend to take great pleasure from things like excessive food and entertainment when Jesus has asked me to look for it first with Him.
For many years I didn’t know I could experience great pleasure in my relationship with Jesus. After discovering deep satisfaction is found ultimately only in Him, I wish I could say I was fully converted to being a pleasure seeker in Christ, but it doesn’t work this way. All kids have a learning to do, this one included. I can still knowingly refuse to try and see how Jesus wants to meet my need for goodness in daily life. And, I can refuse to learn a new way.
Ok, now let’s move on. It’s 2020 and we can make new choices!
Maybe it’s being 42 and weary of the same stories playing out in my head. Maybe it’s the speed at which my daughter is growing, and I’m tired of wasting time looping destructive beliefs that keep me from the fullness of joy. Maybe it’s the timing of God and He is calling me to dig deep into the delight He offers.
Maybe all of it. It doesn’t really matter, because I’m digging deep, and the labor has already been so worth it!
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.Matthew 11:28-30
Jesus describes His way as easy and light, and since life is not easy or light, I’m curious. His way sounds delight-full, so I’m setting out.
I have new lenses this season with filters that block out stimulants that make my eyes freak out. But they aren’t the only things helping me see my life better. Using the word “delight” as my guide, and practicing #thewayofdelight (this is just how I’m describing it on the socials), has me asking a different kind of question, or set of questions. And funny thing about questions — they are filters that take us from broad, undisciplined and disorganized thoughts into clearer focus. (Don’t quit me just because I got a bit philosophical there, we are about to get super practical, I promise!)
We ask ourselves questions all the time, and are mostly unaware of it. We process information coming at us at record speed these days. It’s no wonder why our souls are freaking out over the hyper-stimulation that is our culture. But the good news is we can choose our questions, and get relief and order in the midst of chaos. So, do you want to know my question this year? What lens I’m putting on to help me focus on the way of delight with Jesus? Ok, here it is:
What can I say ‘yes to’ right now that will bring me great pleasure with Jesus?”
Asking this question stops me in my automated habit-driven track. Overeating, procrastinating, nail-biting overwhelm, aimless scrolling, unnecessary online shopping, you name it, asking this delight-with-Jesus question turns my attention back on the Creator of delight. It rescues me from mindless drifting where I’m vulnerable to all kinds of stinking thinking and plants me back in the presence of Jesus who stands ready to comfort and bring order to my life.
This is no small shift, by the way. One question can direct the flow of our thoughts creating a river of decisions that fill a pool of new life!
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.Isaiah 43:19, ESV
There is life-altering power in the wise use of the word “no” — but this season I’m learning about the secret of delight found in the well-timed use of the word “yes”! And not just a general “yes” to the opportunities that come our way. I’m talking about an intentional, weighed out and brave choice to direct a “yes to…” those choices that lay hidden before us maybe behind distractions and our temptations to tune out in denial.
Let’s look at how this plays out in real life:
Ex: I am tired after a hard day. I just want to plop down on the couch with a bag of dark chocolate peanut M&M’s and watch a cheesy feel good movie recorded on our DVR, but historically by bedtime this rhythm leaves me with a vague sense of regret, numb to my soul and still stuck looping negative tracks from my day
Question: “What can I say ‘yes to’ that will bring great pleasure (delight) to me and Jesus?”
Resolution: Depending on the situation, I say “yes to” sharing my thoughts and emotions with Jesus and Jonathan (or a wise friend) first, then may slowly wash my face, or take a bath, or read an entertaining book, or still watch a sweet movie. I may eat some peanut M&M’s too, by the way. It will be a different me though, rested on the inside and led by the smile of Jesus instead of the pressure of escape
Asking what I can say “yes to” reminds me of my power to act. I am not hopeless and helpless in hard times, I can take a step toward or away from growth and delight with Jesus. Asking this question and focusing on what I can do to enjoy Jesus and life also feels more life-giving than constantly looking for what I need to quit or shrink.
Here’s one more practical story of how saying “yes to” the way of delight with Jesus has recently impacted our lives…
Back in the Fall when I first started to get weary of “no” and longed to say more “yes” to God’s goodness, I looked at our nutritional life as a family. I wondered, “What can I add to our diets that is good for us?” We were like so many other families trying to find ways to creatively increase health while managing picky tastebuds and inconsistent schedules. I was weary of the same effort of trying to quit fast food, shrink sugar intakes and limit processed snacks. After a couple days of asking this new question I thought, “What if I said ‘yes to’ what I already know is hands-down good for us: fruits and vegetables?”
This new question led me to connect with a friend and sign up to start our crew on Juice Plus* — which in their words is “adding the nutrition of 30 fruits, vegetables and grains” to our diet. Hear that “yes” word hidden in there? Adding. Not removing or subtracting, but putting something good in with intention. After several weeks I started to notice something unusual shift in my cravings — I actually wanted to eat more veggies! It was so strange I even mentioned it to the friend who got me started. She explained it was to be expected because we are boosting our nutrition and our bodies can be rewired. That wasn’t the only thing rewiring! What I also wanted more was to say “yes to” the things that feed me and my people well, not just in food but in other areas of life too! I caught a glimpse of the power of one well-placed yes — and how it can have a ripple effect! *By the way, if you decide on adding Juice Plus to your nutritional life, this link helps kick some extra goodness back our way through commissions – so thanks for that too!
Here is the thing: we cannot say “yes” to two thoughts at the same time. We choose one, and that choice leads us down a potentially very different path than other choices. So this new year delight is my new word, and asking this question is my new way of seeing my life:
“What can I say ‘yes to’ in the way of delight with Jesus?”
What could our lives look like if we made this a year of “yes to” delighting with Jesus! #ayearofyesto #thewayofdelight
But before you go delighting all the way, remember to check back in here next month as I continue unpacking this discovery in the way of delight! Also, there is a slice of the world getting extra tips this year from me for doing this in simple ways, so if you’d like these too, subscribe here for my delight-full monthly newsletter and you won’t miss out!