“A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?” Ecclesiastes 2:24-25
This weekend, September 25 to be exact, my husband and I will celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary. Due to the fact that we have a toddler and a baby, the latter of which is still nursing, along with the fact that we are low on funds (see aforemetioned children), we plan to go to dinner at our favorite restaurant downtown. No movie, no overnight trip, no long walk on the beach. Just dinner–although if we have a little extra time, we might get a stroll in by the riverfront. And I am incredibly excited.
Ever since we had children, life has been a whirlwind. Exciting, close to chaotic at times, exhausting, and wonderful. I am extraordinarily thankful for our children. I do have to confess though, that there are times I want to give myself a kick in the jeans for not making the most of my time with my husband B.K. (before kids). I look back now and marvel at the time we had together that went under-appreciated. And I’m not just talking about time we could have used to travel or go on dates, I’m talking about the simple things. Like being alone in a car together, going on quiet walks, laying in bed talking, or sitting on the couch watching a movie uninterrupted. Through the enhanced lens life with children has given me, these things are increasingly priceless.
Of course, adding children to the mix has provided me with a whole slew of additional simple pleasures. Hearing them laugh together in the back of the car, hearing my 2 1/2 year old daughter sing Chris Tomlin’s “How Great is Our God”, rocking my 9 month old son to sleep, getting to see all their “firsts”, holding their little hands…as I write this I recognize what a valuable activity it would be to list these pleasures the next time my little ones have me wanting to pull my hair out!
And aside from the appreciation of couple time and family time, I have come to really appreciate time I am given just for myself. I take a minute each day to enjoy chocolate (or something sweet) when the kids are napping. I love to read. I love to take walks. I find that enjoying those little things can have a major affect on my attitude and that I need that time to myself. Sometimes I hesitate to say that, as it can sound selfish, but God certainly shows us in His word that taking time to relax is important and that enjoying oneself is okay and even encouraged.
Ecclesiastes 2:24-25 tells us that enjoying the pleasures of life is from the hand of God, because without Him, we cannot really “eat or find enjoyment”. The key in this verse is the “for without Him” part. Sure, those that are not believers may have fleeting enjoyment, but to be blessed with full and lasting enjoyment in even the simplest of things is a gift we can only receive from our Heavenly Father, from whom comes “every good and perfect gift” (James 1:17). And to enjoy His gifts means we need to live as He would have us live (another important key in looking at this verse!). If we are not living as His word calls us to live, then we cannot expect to find true meaning in the pleasures we are offered.
In addition to the importance of finding pleasure in living the life God has called us to live, it is hard for many of us to take time to appreciate those pleasures at all! So many of us are “on the go” that we have developed the mindset that to slow down and enjoy life is lazy. Our culture is big on vacations, but what I’m talking about is a regular enjoyment of life, not a planned event that only happens once or twice a year (*note- this is not a criticism of vacation time, as I would love to take one about now!). It’s stopping to smell the roses within walking distance without planning a trip to the botanical gardens a few hours away. It’s enjoying the everyday blessings of God- like nature, laughter, family, friendship, books, food!
But enjoyment can’t end there- it needs to turn us to the Giver of those gifts and lift our hearts in praise to the One who loves us so much, that He not only provides us with these simple pleasures, but teaches us in His word that it is okay to enjoy them.
With that in mind, I will fully enjoy getting dressed up and eating fondue (cheese and chocolate!) with my incredible husband this weekend, sans children. I intend to enjoy every minute of our date, especially because date nights are currently a rarity. But to practice what I preach, I need to look at each moment with my husband, whether it be in the middle of dirty diapers, getting woken up at night by a little voice declaring her need “to go potty”, or at the end of the day when we have collapsed on the couch from sheer exhaustion, as an opportunity to enjoy time with him and/or with my family. I guess that would be “finding satisfaction in my work”! And to also use those moments to stop, take a breath, and thank God for the pleasures that can be found in the life He has given me. And then to maybe get a piece of chocolate and sit down with a good book!
This blog is part of the Rachel Olsen devotion carnival-check it out!