Day 31: Gathering Fruit of Joy
Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord. Psalm 150.
Life is too short to miss out on praise, joy and fun in general.
There are moments each and every day to experience the wonder of life and share it with others. When we do this well, joy is a natural byproduct; praising God is another.
We miss out on so many precious opportunities to enjoy life for all kinds of reasons. Some reasons are good; many are poor.
We have all kinds of excuses for working ourselves too hard, for failing to find time for fun, recreation and relaxation. Some of us think of “play” as a luxury or indulgence we should not take. Leisure time may seem extravagant—something we cannot afford, either in financial terms or as time away from work and important household obligations.
We set up confinements and demands for ourselves, and others can become dependent on our over-performance and obligate us even further.
But spontaneity, fun, vacation and enjoyable activities are an important blossom in the spiritual life of all people. We need surprises and breaks from our routine to jolt us away from mediocrity and ruts—to refresh our souls and prompt new spiritual growth.
When you are at play—in total enjoyment of life—something new and different happens in your soul. The fruit of spiritual joy is cultivated in joyful experiences.
Review the devotion for Day 9: Seeds of Enjoyment. Review the Scripture, the reflection and anything you wrote in your journal.
Now take your calendar and plan a full day of fun for yourself, sometime in the next 7 days. What activities bring you joy and soul refreshment? A day in the mountains? A day in the city? A day with a fun friend? Meals out? Cooking for a whole day? Taking grandchildren to the zoo, park or pool? Going to the movies? Watching movies at home?
Let you imagination guide you; plan the best day (that you can afford!), and block it out on your calendar like sacred space.
Now talk with God about your plans. Thank God for putting these seeds of joy and fun in your heart. Sometime today, make arrangements for this special day.
If you are taking the 10-40 challenge that Dennis Anderson gave us on the first week of the GROW series, try this reading plan that will take us through the Book of Galatians in 3 days. Dennis urged us to do 10 minutes of Bible reading each day, for 40 days. Galatians is a good book to read this week, while we are reflecting on gathering fruits.
Did you miss the intro? Start here.
[This six-week devotional is based on a daily life retreat by Pegge Bernecker and her book, Your Spiritual Garden: tending to the presence of God. St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2006.]