Moments of celebration aren’t new to me. In fact, I normally attempt to practice celebration each and every day. This morning, however, I was noticeably not celebrating my life. This is due to several circumstances beyond my control but I do know I haven’t done my part in keeping the negativity ‘in check’. Lowell, realizing I was having a ‘rough’ morning, a little ‘low’ time if you will, suggested I re-read one of our favorite chapters from a best-loved book of ours.
It’s not that I was putting off reading this but I went ahead and got some other stuff out of the way … and here it is almost 3 pm … I haven’t read it yet. The book was finally found, and is laying beside me right now. Was I kind seeing if my good humor would return on its own? Was I enjoying the ‘wallowing’ time? I don’t know, really. But, and this is deliberate, I am going to do a before and after test. Kind of a test of myself as to how something as simple as reading a few pages will or will not make a difference as to how I see the world. Up front, let me tell you, I believe I will be better for it. You see, I’ve been here before – this little detour into the land of “Melancholy” and generally I spend as little time here as possible. My husband knows me well and he and I both know I am a sucker for a good read. I’ll be back …
I am back – it’s been over an hour. My heart is lighter; my outlook is brighter and joy is reigning … maybe not as brilliant as sometimes in my life, but definitely reigning.
First of all, I knew what to anticipate before reading this chapter and so I chose to go to a solitary spot – the front porch. As expected I laughed out loud and then before another page I cried. The first few pages were read on the porch but then I moved further away from the house to the woods by the pond and sat in a chair there to finish the reading. That was a good decision because, oops, more tears.
Wait, I said I felt better for the read. What? Well, sometimes weeping for the right reason can be cleansing, you know? Once in a while, we need a gentle prompting to remember what really counts in our life story. In the whole scheme of who we are and what it is that we want in life … where is our celebration? It is in the day to day moments that make up our existence.
Just a couple of points and then I truly recommend you get this book for your own family library.
Sometimes we confuse waiting to live with living. Other times when we’re killing time we are really killing our self. Now and again we give up the responsibility of our own joy to the circumstances that surround us rather than exercising discipline to take ahold of joy and let her have her way with us. Instead of being a ‘joy-carrier’ we live a life of the ‘joy-impaired’. Many times we neglect this most wonderful of all Christian disciplines … The Discipline of Celebration. The Lord has commanded numerous times to celebrate – “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again, I say, Rejoice.”
The book I am talking about is The Life You’ve Always Wanted, by John Ortberg. He is by far one of our favorite authors and this is absolutely one of our favs of his. The chapter in the book is Chapter 4, A “Dee Dah Day”. My first exposure to A Dee Dah Day was probably close to 6 or 7 years ago and we’ve read the book together at least 2X and once on our own. Each time I let A Dee Dah Day ‘get to me’, I am better for it. Now, Lowell is teaching the book in Sunday morning class. If you have never read one of Mr. Ortberg’s books, you’d do yourself a service by doing so sooner than later.
True joy is something greater than the seeking of your own personal happiness – it is joy in spite of pain, joy irregardless of your conditions. If we insist on waiting until tomorrow to be joyful, we may still be waiting when we die.
And so I am once again living in the land of celebration. Celebrating one moment at a time just as they are so graciously given to me.
|The Life You’ve Always Wanted, Expanded Edition By John Ortberg|
The heart of Christianity is transformation—a relationship with God that impacts not just our “spiritual lives,” but every aspect of living. John Ortberg calls you back to the dynamic heartbeat of Christianity—God’s power to bring change and growth—and reveals both the how and why of transformation.With a new chapter on prayer and added discussion questions, this expanded edition of The Life You’ve Always Wanted offers modern perspectives on the ancient path of the spiritual disciplines. But this is more than just a book about things to do to be a good Christian. It’s a road map toward true transformation that starts not with the individual but with the object of the journey—Jesus Christ.