One of the great A-ha moments I've had in life has come as a direct result of my children. If you have kids, or have worked with kids, you probably know what I'm talking about. It's that moment you catch them misbehaving...doing exactly what you do. They say something, or do something like you, and when it comes from them, you know it's wrong. You know that moment? The flip side of that is also true -- those times they do what you should be doing, but aren't. Kids have a way of bringing out our very best, and, unfortunately, showing us our very worst. Parenting is humbling.
I had one of those latter moments a few days ago. My middle daughter, BJ, was playing outside by herself, enjoying a rare, blue-sky winter day, here in the Pacific Northwest. Suddenly she stopped, started singing, loudly, a Justin Bieber song she learned from some school friends, and then she began dancing wildly on the sidewalk in front of the house. At first I was a little shocked, then, as I watched from the window, I realized she was doing what I should be doing more often -- relishing life.
BJ soaks-in moments fully. She lives in a moment, relishes every aspect of it, laughs genuinely, smiles ginormously, and lets the rest of life go on while she imbibes the full depth and flavor of those God-given seconds where everything in life is okay. She didn't care who was listening to her sing (which was probably a significant portion of our small neighborhood), she wasn't dancing for any audience, she was overcome with a moment -- and she dove in deep, and loved it.
When her song was over, she stopped dancing and just continued on her "game," of walking up and down the sidewalk and pretending to teach a class of students about road safety and her dad's lack of lawn-care skills.
I wonder how often we don't sing Bieber at the top of lungs, or dance like we have piranhas in our pants, when we should? I wonder how often God pours out moments in our lives, then just sits back and shakes his head as we fearfully, tentatively, looking-around-to-see-who's-watching-ively enjoy them, instead of dancing our joy before our all-gracious, all-giving, life-loving Father.
The Bible is full of people who relished moments and praised God with their unfettered joy. David danced...nekked...because of his all-surpassing sense of God's eternal worth! He was humiliated, said one of his wives, in the eyes of onlookers and David reminded her he was dancing for an audience of one -- THE ONE. (By the way, next time you sing, "I will Dance like David Danced" at church....) Jesus was full of joy when His disciples came back from a missionary journey in which they spread the Gospel of the Kingdom and did many miraculous signs and wonders. When they came to report to their Master, the Bible says Jesus was full of joy at their reports. I wonder if He danced?
Joy is a part of our journey, and God promises it to those who trust and follow Him. The question isn't whether or not there is joy in this life, the question is whether or not you are taking time to enjoy it? Just this last week God brought a great event, full-circle in my life and ministry, and two days later I realized I had never taken time to just enjoy the moment. I had worked hard, prayed hard and watched as God did what only He could do, and how did I respond? Not well. I don't even think I smiled, as I faced the next daunting tasks on my list.
The Overboard Life is filled with adventure, obstacles, mountains to climb, valleys to navigate and unseen warfare that seeks to hinder our Kingdom work. God calls us to life on the water, where Jesus is building His Kingdom, and it can be a tough life! But in, and through, it all is a God who promises to give joy. And we have an obligation -- yes, an obligation! -- to relish those moments when they come. We must sit back, look to heaven, smile and dance! It's not that everything in life is, as it should be, but it's that in a moment, in a glimpse, we get to see the joy of what is now, and what will be one day, in the presence of our God.
My daughter reminded me of the need to worry less and enjoy more. To stop and hear the music that's playing all around us, then belt out the words in unison while dancing like no one's watching...even when they are. To sit in a moment and let it overwhelm you, so that you don't even have words to express the joy you feel -- but you can do nothing else until every last ounce of it has washed over you like a flood. And when that divine moment has passed, like BJ, we must carry on in the journey until the next one comes.
Most of you know the "B" in BJ stands for Bethany. It probably won't surprise you to know that the "J" stands for Joy. We got that one right!
Go ahead and take the plunge, life is better on the water!