Blog by Jenny & Mark Rowan
The final installment in our New Year’s series is based on one of the most popular resolutions. In fact, last year Time.com named it as the number one resolution for 2016: Enjoy Life to the Fullest. It makes sense. All the goals that we set do not amount to much if we cannot enjoy the process along the way. It is one of the chief desires of any person: to live a happy life. It’s even written into the United States Declaration of Independence.
“We hold these truths to be sacred & undeniable; that all men are created equal & independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent & inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, & liberty, & the pursuit of happiness.”
Honestly, there are plenty of opportunities for our enjoyment to be hijacked … a bad doctor’s report, family issues, a crummy business deal, watching the news for more than 30 seconds. It is not difficult to find discouragement. The pursuit we all must set as a priority is finding joy wherever and whenever possible. Enjoying life must be intentional. Here are a couple of ways to do just that.
Laugh A Lot
Laughing and making people laugh if one of my favorites. Funniness is funny to me. I don’t know how God decided to dole out senses of humor, but everyone seems to have completely different ones. Just the other day I was watching an animated movie with several kids. I was the only one consistently laughing the entire time. Meanwhile all the adults were in the other room discussing the weather or something.
I do know that I’ve never met anyone that doesn’t like to laugh. A friend of mine from college comments about how watching comedies was more fun with me. The main reason being that my obnoxious laughter was contagious. You may have seen a video by Coca-Cola recently that showed a man on a train laughing hysterically at something on his tablet. At first he is all alone in his hilarity but before long nearly everyone in the car is laughing. Try watching it without at least smiling. Surround yourself with people that are full of joy. Sooner or later it will spill into your life, too.
Scientists continue to show that laughing improves health. In 2014, researchers at Loma Linda University found that laughter helped improve short term memory in older adults. Can’t remember where you put your keys? Watch a video compilation of people falling down steps and then try again. A University of Maryland study showed that humor can protect against heart disease. That sounds familiar. Proverbs 17:22 says, “A joyful heart is good medicine …” Or maybe we could say that joy is medicine for your heart. If you are heartsick, the best prescription may just be hanging out with those friends that keep you laughing.
Two times in my life I have experienced the Spirit of Joy during a special group prayer time. I’m not given over to overt physical displays of spirituality. It is either God or it is not. Some moves of God have been maligned because of outbursts of uncontrolled laughter. I’m of the mind that if God wants to make you laugh, He can pretty much go ahead and do it. That was my personal experience during those two encounters with God. I have never laughed so hard in my life. I was literally rolling on the floor and I didn’t care. I never felt so free. Even thinking about it makes me giggle. While those types of experiences are up to God to bring about, I can attest to the benefit of “holy laughter” and the fact that God likes a good laugh as much as the next guy.
I looked up the definition of enjoy and this is what I found:
en·joy [enˈjoi] verb
take delight or pleasure in (an activity or occasion)
Have you taken notice of an activity or occasion that brings you the most enjoyment? What do you take delight in doing? I mean I enjoy having an occasional Krispy Kreme doughnut or watching the Dallas Cowboys lose. Those things are truly delightful, but they do not make my heart come alive. I believe there a few activities that each of us have been created to do and when we participate in those we find no greater joy. This delight of our lives originates from one place.
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
Enjoying the presence and person of our Father in Heaven will result in our greatest goals being achieved. The desires of our heart are interesting. While we lay claim to them, they were not created in a vacuum. They were created inside of us by someone who knows what we will most enjoy doing.
I’ve seen this play out in my own life. Learning to hear the voice of God better has been one of my main pursuits over the last several years. It has driven me to research, read and pray more than any other subject. It is not just a good idea I thought I should pursue. I believe God injected that desire into my DNA. In the moments that I have been able to help someone understand a dream or I was able to give an encouraging word that only God would know … that is where my delight lies.
Each of us has a passion God put inside of us. When we walk out the desires of our hearts we are connecting with the heart of God, as well. Not only are we enjoying life to the fullest, but God is enjoying us as we come alive to His purposes for us.
If you have had trouble identifying something that brings you the most enjoyment, take it back to step one. Delight yourself in God. Jesus reminded us of this in Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.” All these things includes why God put you together the way He did.
From the smallest of life’s pleasures to the grand purpose of our life, we can find joy in every day. A full life encompasses both of these ideas – laughing whenever possible and pursuing the desire of our heart. Now go watch some cat videos on YouTube.
Bible Study: Learn more about enjoying life with Oswald Chambers’ “Joy – Strength in the Lord” 30 day reading plan. https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1041