My dear friend Misha is an amazing writer. I met Misha when we were both in our early twenties on the East Coast. I admired her from the start. Misha is the most encouraging, lovely person and I pray this post ministers to you as it did me because I often have a hard time believing that I am God's greatest enjoyment. She writes about pain, joy and laying down one's life which leads to more joy. It's an honor to have her guest blogging for me today. You can find her writing here
and if you are in a particularly difficult season, this post
will encourage you.
|Misha and her lovely children by B.Chalmers|
What is Your Deepest Enjoyment?
I leaned my back against a big block of concrete and sighed. I could smell the heat that was coming later. I could taste the smoke from a hundred fires all over the city and see birds swirling above me in the pastel-hues playing on currents of air only they could feel. It was exotic and wonderful.
In New Delhi, India the pollution is world-renowned and it can leave your skin grey and your breathing black after just a few hours. That day as I sat on the roof was unusually clear. I could see blue and the sun was not yet hot enough to force you to go in. It was gorgeous.
|Slum Smile by Jasper van't Veen. Used by permission here.|
I looked down from where I was to a small slum area below. There was barbed wire stretched in front of a few cobbled together tin huts and outside one of them was a lady hanging up her wash. One by one she strung up these vibrant colored clothes: an emerald sari, a deep blue sash, a faded pink tunic... and as she made her way down her clothesline I was captivated. Two little boys played by her feet, no doubt inhibiting her task, but they were so cute. Both of them were naked, except for tiny-too-small t-shirts. They were kicking around a half-deflated football and shouting and laughing.
"Oh God," I sighed, "Do you see that? She is so lovely. And those colors... and those sweet little boys... I wish I had my camera." I exclaimed over every detail. "I want so badly to capture this. To take a picture to remember this beauty by."
But just as soon as I had said the words out loud I felt ridiculous and horrified. What was I thinking? Those boys were half-naked and covered in dirt because that was all they had to wear in the first place. They were poor! And as I looked more carefully at the clothes the lady was hanging up I could see that as bright as the colors were, the material was tattered, barely holding together. They were, after all, living in a slum. And I thought it was beautiful!
I was mortified. "I'm so sorry," I whispered this time, "I didn't mean to be so callous. I didn't mean to make light of her surroundings or her pain." It was quiet for a moment and I had the distinct impression of God crying. I hung my head thinking I had caused Him shame.
|Weight of the World by Megan Burmester|
Did you know that the way we see others is often a mirror of how we see ourselves? The grace we give - or don't offer - is the greatest clue into our personal image. What am I quick to notice? What do I see missing? Is it failure to measure up? Short comings all over? Imperfection?
We have to train our eyes to see beauty and we do that by being coached by someone who sees lovely in us. I have cautioned my own kids from a very young age: "Look for beauty, son. Look for grace, not flesh and bones broken. Sweetheart, don't stare at what's missing, look for what is under the surface. That can't be the voice you speak to yourself with, I say when they are four-year old exposing. You are so beautiful, look for the gifts in others."
|Grace by Megan Burmester|
As I sat on that rooftop in India God taught me that. He coached me. "Don't you see, Misha?" He said softly, "That's exactly how I see you. I look at you every day and I am captivated
by your beauty. The colors of who you are, the way you move and smile and play - I am transfixed by you. I adore you and I love watching you. I feel exactly the same way you just did. I don't see your dirt, or your nakedness or your poverty. I see your loveliness. You look at yourself and feel shame; I see beauty so dear to me that I want to take a picture!"
For the first time on that gritty rooftop half-way around the world from my home, I heard - and believed - that I was beautiful. That I am captivating just as I am. National-Geographic-God-wants-to-take-a-picture-of-me-beauty. It began seeping in. It started changing everything about how I see myself and others.
|Shimmer by Megan Burmester|
What memory do you have of a sweetest fulfillment? A sunset? A loved one's hand? A burst of some longed for moment that happened? That enjoyment is a mere homesickness compared to His presence and experiencing life with Him.
If I had just one dream it would be this: That everyone would do what they are made to enjoy today and do it with God. You have his personal invitation for this. It is, in fact, why He made you.
Is it hiking in the mountains? Hike swinging your arms with Him.
Is it writing secret poetry? Scribble words while whispering with Him.
Is it working and lifting a heavy load? Then lift conscious of Him there, too.
Is it dancing in the rain? Scooping up precious children? Baking early in the morning? Scoop and bake and twirl with Him. Talk to Him while you do it and if you sense or see or feel something encouraging in return? That's Him communicating with you. All around you are love letters trying to win your hand from the King of the universe.
Do what you love to do today with Him. Because you are His deepest enjoyment.
Labels: "you are His deepest enjoyment", beautiful, beauty, captivated, enjoy, enjoyment, God, grace, India, life, seeing, today