Saturday, December 10, 2011

Joy in the Process

I had the blessing of getting to go to a conference today for most of the day (with work). My boss did a presentation on our system and its new features and I assisted him with certain parts. The people attending were current clients of ours and it was neat to be able to put a face with a name and voice. I got off a bit earlier since I had worked some extra hours previously this week and decided to put up the Christmas lights outside.

It doesn't usually take too long as I put up nails in previous years and can reuse them. I didn't get off quite as early as I wanted since we ended up being stuck in some traffic, so I was running out of daylight to get the lights put up. I am the "to do list" type of guy... I like to know what needs to be done and when it needs to be done and do whatever it takes to make that happen. Sometimes God needs to remind me to slow down and really take joy in the process, not just in the completion of the task. Such was the case this afternoon. Dad had taken out the box of Christmas lights for me and I went over to the neighbor to borrow a ladder. I quickly unpacked the lights and started testing them to make sure they still work. I really don't understand how Christmas lights stop working as they sit in that box in the garage all year, but anyway... almost all the lights worked which was actually just fine because some of the lights were unneeded. I got up on the ladder and put up the first story of lights pretty quickly. I went to move on to the next section when I realized that I had put that entire section backwards. After contemplating how I could run an extension cord up onto the roof to another strand and then down again to an outlet on the other side of the house, I just decided it was best to start over. God used that in my heart to remind me to take joy in the process. I was in my own world in my race against the clock (or sun going down) and found that I wasn't taking joy in it. I was just trying to finish the task. Had it not been for that incident, I would have got it done much faster, but I also wouldn't have enjoyed it nearly so much. I'm thankful that the Lord works in small ways like putting a few sections of Christmas lights on backwards to slow me down and remind me to take joy in the small things.

I was reminded of Psalm 63:1-8.
O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water. Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory. Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise You. So I will bless You as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips. When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches, For You have been my help, And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy. My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.
The Lord has satisfied me. He has done far more than satisfied me, but I think it honors the Lord for us to be satisfied--to be content in all we have in Christ. It feels strange to use the word "satisfied" because it makes me feel like I am saying that God owes me something and He satisfied my requirements for happiness or something, which is not at all the case. He owed me nothing, but gave me everything... all spiritual blessings in Christ... everything pertaining to life and godliness... eternal life. It is a my reasonable service to respond to His indescribable gift with joyful praises to Him. As I muse on His deeds, I can't help but be joyful as I remember His deeds from the past and see work that He has "finished" and trust Him for the work that is still in progress. It would be a Christ-honoring thing for me to take more joy in the sanctification process. It feels slow and hard at times, but there so much joy to be found in Christ and His unending faithful work to conform me into His image. God, help me to take joy in the process in preparation for when Christ makes me to stand in Your glorious presence blameless and with great joy. May You be glorified now by my joy in You.

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