Living joyfully is about finding contentment right now. Can we just decide to WANT to be where we are right now? Can we just decide to cherish the uniqueness of this day and this moment? Can we slow down enough to touch, to taste, to really see, to listen, to feel things I may never experience in this way again? In this episode of Calibrate Life we talk about living joyfully right now.
Joy is About Contentment “Right Now”
If I could send a message back in time I would tell my 21 year-old self many things, but near the top of the list would be, “learn to live in and enjoy right now.” Being a forward looker, a strategist, a dreamer has help me build and develop, but I’ve not always been great at right now. The joy of life is something experienced right now, and only right now, not something we reserve for later.
Living joyfully is about living contentedly.
“… I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians [4:11]-13 ESV
Discontent can cause us to want to be in another place, somewhere other than right here, right now. You cannot have joy if you despise where you are.
If our lives had a fast-forward function, allowing us to skip the hard parts, and if we used it every time we came upon a challenge or a hardship, I’m afraid we would be tempted to skip the best parts of life—the things that make life joyful and worthwhile.
When we have small children we think about how much easier it will be when they can walk, when they are potty-trained, when they are in school, when they can do their own homework, when they can drive themselves around, when they finish college and get a job. And then the day comes that we grieve their childhood that went too fast.
Just how do we soak in the moments of our lives?
Here are some thoughts.
Want to be where you are.
Bingo! When I realize the joy has been sucked out of my life, usually it’s because I don’t want to be where I am, I don’t want to do what I’m doing, and I just want to be somewhere else.
It sounds trite, but can I find what I love about where I am and what I am doing and the people I am with and be glad about it?
Loving life “right now” is a lot about focusing on the things I love and finding joy in my connection with those things. (Last week, in episode 136, we talked about how to love doing the stuff you don’t love)
Can I just decide to WANT to be where I am right now? Can I decide to cherish the uniqueness of this day and this moment? Can I slow down enough to touch, to taste, to really see, to listen, to feel things I may never experience in this way again?
Take a day off every week, be intentional with how you spend it, and make it about walking slowly through life.
I scheduled speaking at a men’s conference for Saturday, what I failed to realize is I must transgress a part of my sabbath on Friday to drive to the meeting and stay in a hotel. Since I did not see it coming I did not compensate by building in an unbroken period of 24 hours somewhere else in the week.
One reason we don’t have joy “right now” is because we never do anything we love to do. I love to set on my back patio in the mornings, drink coffee, listen to the heartbeat of God, and write. This podcast is late this week because I had to slow down and experience my own life for a few minutes.
Stake out a bit of every day that is your time to reflect and enjoy the Presence of God.
For me, that time is from about 5 to 7am. Lately I’ve been letting my day start earlier and earlier and I’ve been letting other things get into that time. When I consistently sacrifice that time to other things, the joy gets sucked out of my life.
Spiritual charging, reflection, journaling, coffee, and relaxing in God’s Presence sets the daily tone for joyful living. It paces your day into a God-rhythm.
Slow down and walk slowly though the day.
I always admired focused people who moved fast, got a lot accomplished, and reminded me of a lightening bolt. Perhaps this admiration is why I am dangerously close at becoming one of them.
We have to walk slowly through rooms and relationally engage. We also have to walk slowly through life. Some people call it “taking time to smell the flowers.”
Some people are just lazy and they need to pick up the pace, but for me, the challenge is slowing down. How do you know the difference? It is in the stewardship of time. It is about pace. We are still accomplishing, still moving forward, stewarding the days and the time well, but at a pace that allows us to truly appreciate the moments and the movement and the people. Laziness is sloth and not taking care of business, pace is about getting the business done in a healthy way and actually enjoying the journey.
Take that “S” off of your chest, you are not Superhuman.
I usually sacrifice joy because I think I can accomplish more than I actually can, at a faster than healthy pace. Again, and again, and again, and again, and again this has been the pattern of my life. I see the possibilities, I overestimate what I can accomplish in a short period of time, I UNDERESTIMATE what we can accomplish over a long period of time, and because of it I think I have to move huge amounts forward “right now”—and sometimes we can, but we sacrifice living joyfully “right now.”
We tend to place greater expectations on ourselves than do others.
We need to get funding in place and get to Africa (if you want to help, CalibrateMission.com). We start a training cycle in January and we need to start another in April. We have to be there for both of them. It is freaking me out. Our goal, as of this recording is $1000 a month in new monthly support partners for the next 4 months. Yes, it can be done, yes it is aggressive, yes!we are going to try, but we cannot sacrifice our “right now” lives in the process.
“But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” 1 Timothy 6:6-10 ESV
Let’s substitute “rich” and “money” for the things that tempt a lot of leaders. Let’s insert words like “successful,” “effective,” “respected.” The problem is the snare of “riches,” or of reaching beyond where we are. The temptation is discontentedness with “right now” in lieu of reaching for a greater contentedness that we might obtain tomorrow.
I’m (not) sorry everyone. I choose to slow down today and experience the joy of “right now.” At lest I will keep trying.