Books

The Fight for Delight

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Remember that word you picked in the dark days of January to guide you bravely into the new year? How’s it treating you, now that seasons are fully changed and its been carried under the bridge and down the river?

Sometimes the year’s word tackles head on.  This year the word delight has come at me sideways, pulling me under only occasionally when least expected. The big thing I’m discovering is that delight is more complex than just a synonym for joy or pleasure.

This post has simmered in the background of my thoughts for months. Pulling it together has been hard as I mediate the mysterious chatter between my heart and head. I created this graphic awhile ago after searching for the opposite of delight. Then something whispered that the phrase needed testing.

Is discontent, that queen of all the dis-s (dissatisfaction, disgruntled, displeasure), the thing that strangles our delight?  Understanding the oppositional forces of a concept is key to diving deep. Does discontent kill delight? I wasn’t sure.

So I’ve just sat with the phrase until it could prove itself to me.

Then along came a book called The Justice Calling. A beautifully written, wide-ranging look at injustice and the reason it’s so vital that we play a part in “setting things right” in this broken world.

Another lesson in delight was the last thing I expected to discover between its covers:

“By delighting in God’s love for us and lovingly responding with grateful service, we can delight in loving relationships with humans and care for everyone in our midst. By delighting in our relationships to the created world, we can nurture what God has made and responsibly use what God has entrusted to us in our own acts of creation, thereby living the way of life God intended. To live the call to justice is to live as God has planned from the beginning. Fittingly, the word Eden means delight.”

The Justice Calling: Where Passion Meets Perseverance by Bethany Hoang and Kristen Johnson.

Whoa. Thank you ladies for helping me connect some dots.

God’s Presence means Eden means delight.

His presence and our presence, in relationship, is the essence of delight. And when humanity’s discontent with God’s presence slipped into that divine connection it essentially assassinated delight. Reclaiming  Eden, the pleasure of being in right relationship with God, has been the epic battle ever since.

What happens when we take pleasure in the beauty of nature or food or art? What happens when we’re humbled by perfect timing or moved to tears by music? What happens when we experience delight in our various relationships?

We are ushered into a holy garden moment.

A heart washed in delight is to experience the very presence of God, but a discontented heart surely separates us from it. When we make the choice of delight over discontent, we recover a glimpse of what was lost in Eden.

Delight is a mutual emotion and affection, the response of relationship. He delights in us and we are invited to delight ourselves in him. Being satisfied in the mere presence of God is the antidote for a discontented life. This enables us to find delight in every corner of life, even in the mysterious places of sorrow and pain.

Which obviously ticks off the enemy of our soul, whose unseen force conspires against us fully experiencing delight.

The lie says we can’t experience Eden moments.
The lie says because of brokenness, delight is only a fairy tale.
The lie says we no longer deserve delight.

The truth?  We are most able to contend with our mess and the world’s mess when we stay close to the presence of God. This is how we become agents of love and healing and justice and hope. Delight requires an intentional mindfulness to what is happening around you and who is around you. It chooses to confront the lie discontent tries to make us believe; that delight in God’s presence is just not enough.

Not only can we find delight in nature and friendships and good books, but also in every other corner of our lives:
…amidst conflict in our relationships.
…as he engages us to fight injustice across the strata of humanity.
…as we wrestle with sorrow and pain and loss and brokenness.
…in the middle of unresolved circumstances.

To seek the presence of God, with our whole hearts, as we move through our days, is to experience the most delightfull existence.

Now for the work of living out that truth.

Delight

She arrives with delicacy, a flash of welcome color
inviting eye and heart to wonder.

With the hushing settle of wings, the slightest of sighs,
discontent awakens and aims strike with nasty intent.

Delight escapes elusive
ever seeking a home to rest.

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