“Love is what exists between people who find their joy in each other’s joy.” – Tullian Tchividjian, Unfashionable.
I’m sure that I’ve come across this concept in other writings, but Tchividjian puts it concisely and clearly. Mrs. Random and I have talked about this many times. Sorry to say I’ve not been as good at this as she is, but we try. It really isn’t too hard when we keep our eyes off of ourselves and our needs, wants and desires. OK. I guess it can be difficult since it is so easy to find myself looking out for me. Yet when I focus on Linda or others and find ways to foster her joy even in little things it is wonderful – and I think I might enjoy her joy more than she does! I’m pretty sure that the feeling is mutual. It doesn’t even have to be something big. A favorite chocolate bar, or a stop at a quilt store, may bring some to the greatest smiles from her. I can’t speak for her, but she seems to really enjoy it whenever I enjoy something. Which means I enjoy her joy at my joy which brings her more joy which means I … wow!
Imagine if we practiced this, not only with our spouses, but with our friends – actually all those whom God has called us to love. What if we didn’t even have to think about it – that it was just who we were? I’d like to hope that I could love like that. It would be a good thing for a pastor!
Of course there is a danger of getting self-centered in this. When I enjoy bringing delight to my wife, or a happy moment to a friend, or something fun to my kids or grandkids because I feel good or want the focus to be on me, I selfishly undermine the “gift” – not to mention my integrity. I think I cheapen the relationship as well. Thank God for grace!
The thought that blows me away most is that God, as ultimate lover, takes joy in my joy. It amazes me that I should matter that much. This too is grace!
Wind chimes have not really been one of my favorite things. At least most of them. I guess I’ve been around some poorly made, poorly tuned, chimes that are often grating and annoying, rather than peaceful and soothing.
So, a few months ago, when I arrived at SonScape for a week-long retreat I was somewhat dismayed to note that there was a wind chime on just outside the rear door to our suite. I wondered if there would be a way to “disable” it or even remove it, but then forgot about that as I enjoyed the spectacular view of Pike’s Peak and took note of the wonderful accommodations that were supplied. The air was absolutely still so the chimes were quiet and I gave them no further thought. In fact, I didn’t notice them again for three full days.
In the midst of a time of reflection and prayer, seeking God’s direction and insight, I expressed my frustration that God seemed rather silent and was failing to make himself known. Linda and I were being very quiet in a setting created for solitude when I noticed gentle, sonorous, music just at the edge of my consciousness – perfectly tuned wind chimes playing in a very gentle breeze. Unbidden, my thoughts seemed guided to the insight that God, like the chimes, is there all the time, he is often silent, and rarely makes much noise, and is often forgotten, but never forgets … and speaks gently and peacefully into the chaos of our lives … even if we don’t understand the words.
I began to hear the chimes more often, and missed them when they were silent. They became something of a metaphor reminding me God’s presence and his peace. I noted several themes within the metaphor that mean much to me – including the recognition that chimes speak loudest in a storm.
So, I came home and promptly bought some chimes to hang outside my office at home. And every so often a gentle breeze has come up and the music begins. I’ll notice it after a while and smile at the reminder that God is there and he is not silent.
While on a brief vacation last week, we spent some time on the beach at Corona del Mar in Southern California. I didn’t go surfing or even swim (still not sure I trust my shoulder to that stress yet). I did do some web surfing though (not on the beach – I just thought that made a nice segue). Since I haven’t done the random link thing for a while, and haven’t posted anything for a week, it sure seems like a good time to share some of the waves … links I found.
This site is pretty sobering. But it makes it here just because of the name behind it – Poodwaddle.com.
Decide what you’re afraid of. I may be Alliumphobic. Or Chorophobic. Maybe even Ophthalmophobic.
Balldroppings is kind of addicting. Turn on the sound. Drive people crazy.
This is just a little scary – especially when alone.
Come here when you need to make some noise or hit something.
How about a truly annoying site – click a couple with the sound on and you’ll agree. It will drive your mates crazy.
Need a new clock for your computer. Turn on the sound for effect.
My favorite spot to grab a bite. Fresh ingredients. Well run. Owned entirely by a young lady. Read the book. This place is run really well. Some great lessons for the church.
Finally, you can learn to understand cats by looking into their brain here.
The other day I was somewhat chastised by someone for highlighting, marking, and writing in my books. It makes them less saleable, and less valuable, and ruins something. I think this might have been something generational where books were a bit more rare, and expensive. So Challies’ extended quote from Adler was meaningful. False Reverence for books may prohibit us from truly possessing them.
Besides, most of my friends like to borrow my marked up books … something about not having to read everything that way. I’ve thought about getting a Kindle but I don’t know if the screen would survive my pen instinctively jotting notes and underlines.
Are You Busy? is a convicting blog post by C. J. Maheney I recently came across. It probably made an impact as I wrestle with the changes I’ve had to make while in-between ministries. I used to be very, very busy with little down time. I now have lots of potential down time that I have to fill with intention. At times I feel a bit lazy, but I think that I’m just busy with different things, with different meanings. This excerpt brings the point into challenging focus:
But the realization that I could be simultaneously busy and lazy, that I could be a hectic sluggard, that my busyness was no immunity from laziness, became a life-altering and work-altering insight. What I learned is that:
- Busyness does not mean I am diligent
- Busyness does not mean I am faithful
- Busyness does not mean I am fruitful
Recognizing the sin of procrastination, and broadening the definition to include busyness, has made a significant alteration in my life. The sluggard can be busy—busy neglecting the most important work, and busy knocking out a to-do list filled with tasks of secondary importance.
When considering our schedules, we have endless options. But there are a few clear priorities and projects, derived from my God-assigned roles, that should occupy the majority of my time during a given week. And there are a thousand tasks of secondary importance that tempt us to devote a disproportionate amount of time to completing an endless to-do list. And if we are lazy, we will neglect the important for the urgent.
Whether we have a job description or not, we each must be about the most important tasks God has called to accomplish. And sometime, I think, the important thing is to discover what God has called us to.