We are about a week into lent, and it is already proving to be one of the most difficult ones I have had. I honestly didn’t have much expectation apart from knowing it will be good for me, but one thing God has shown me over the past few weeks is how shallow my sources of joy can be and how that has altered my joy taste buds.
Both of the major things I have given up for lent are revealing this about my own heart, making this a much needed season of me learning once again what it means to delight in God and His word.
Giving up junk food and picking up healthier eating habits has been showing that I am not only trading nutrition for convenience but also what will give me the quickest satisfaction. During lunchtime, I am thinking where can I go for the quickest meal possible that will fill my empty stomach and not what can I get that will give my body the fuel it needs for all I need to do while tasting delightful. The latter often requires me to think carefully about what I am putting into my body which is God’s temple but also my living sacrifice to him, most of the time it requires me to take time to make my own meals which require some conscience shopping time. The fact that all this has been tedious and not joy giving has been teaching me this much-needed lesson on how to delight in the LORD. The reward for putting in work into my meals doesn’t come immediately, it takes time for your mind and body to start feeling the effects but once they do, it significantly improves my quality of life. But at the moment, when I am faced with the difficult decision of KFC dunked wings, or go home and make a salad, the most satisfying things isn’t the salad.
The same thing goes with social media, while some decide to stay off social media because their heart falls prone to comparison; which is the thief of all joy, I, on the other hand, don’t really struggle with this. One of my major reasons for staying ON social media, especially on Twitter has been for the humour, I love that a simple meme or GIF can crack me up and switch up my whole day. I am here for the funny tweets, funny videos and the various forms of humour on the social media platform, until this past week, I didn’t see this as a negative thing after all it could be worse.
These tweets are offering me momentary happiness and distraction from all of life’s troubles and anxieties, but just like fast food they are ruining my taste buds for true meaningful joy. I no longer find pleasure in waiting for the more satisfying thing, I want to my happiness and satisfaction to some airtel money style; instantly.
Unfortunately, that is not how the kingdom of God works, often times we have to not only wait on the joy God gives but fight for it. The joy of reading scripture isn’t in just fulfilling a 15 minutes “devotion” time, but in taking time to dig out and study the treasures of God’s word. The joy of answered prayer isn’t in walking out of your prayer closest to find all your prayers answered by to wait and see how God will answer them. The Christian life is a continuous cycle of delayed gratification, it’s the very reason why we don’t give in to sin and fight our flesh.
More importantly, the next biggest thing we are waiting for requires us to wait for a longer period than we know. The second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, this is the joy that awaits us, a period of waiting that requires me to build some serious muscle in order to not get tired, or worse get bored. While we are waiting for Jesus to come back, we have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, we enjoy communion with the Holy Triune God something that I can easily lose track of when my mind is easily satisfied in lesser things.
As C.S Lewis puts it, “we are far too easily pleased”, the quote in its context is as follows:
“We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
I realize I have been making mud pies in the slum of memes, 15-second videos and 240 character tweets that should have been blogs instead of delighting in the holiday at sea that is God’s presence.
I want to retrain my taste buds to delight in God for more than my 15-second attention span, I want to slow down my pace and build the patience it takes to truly wait on the Lord. I want to spend more time experiencing the infinite joy that God offers me through Christ.
This desire only came after taking away the things that were not only distracting from experiencing true joy but offering me less than. My hope for you and me my friend is that God will continue showing us what our Mud pies in the slum threaten the holiday at the sea offer of infinite joy in Jesus, after all, it what we were created for.
“As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.”