There comes a time for all of us when we realize that life is painful and we begin to ask the hard questions: who am I? why am I here? where am I going? For some people that time could have been moving away from your home, losing a loved one, not making the school soccer team, having to forget a dream, a friend betraying you.
For me, that time came when the man I loved, yes loved, told me he loved someone else. And I’ve been asking myself those questions every day since. Even though I’m a Christian and should know all the answers (or so I’ve been told by some well-meaning people), it’s not easy to be alive. But in my time spent searching, I’ve come to think in a new way about living life.
I believe God expects us to enjoy life. I was taught growing up that God cares more about my holiness than my happiness. I realized this semester that truly holy people are happy people. God does not want His children to be miserable. He did not break my heart to make me holy and miserable. He broke my heart to make me holy and happy.
This semester I’ve taken steps to celebrate life. I want to taste my coffee every morning instead of drinking it to survive the day. I want to sit down an enjoy my meals instead of rushing off to do homework. How often do you sit down and enjoy your food instead of rushing through it to get to work? Or are you too busy counting calories to enjoy what you’re eating? I believe you can fully enjoy eating rice cakes if you make up your mind to. How often do you take a walk through the neighborhood and notice the sun or the rain or the snow? The weather is an example of common grace; anyone with eyes can see it and appreciate it. How often do you turn up the music and dance as if no one is watching? I expect that the general populace likes to watch movies because they see people in the movies enjoying themselves. Who doesn’t love to see Meg Ryan walking through the streets of New York with a tall decaf cappuccino from Starbucks? Life is busy. I understand that; I haven’t wanted to quit school this much since my freshman year of college, but I’m trying to find ways to enjoy it, too.
I believe God wants us to have the faith of little kids. I believe He wants us to believe in magic. I believe He wants us to have dreams. Maybe our dreams won’t be fulfilled in the way we expect, but I believe He fulfills every dream that is good for us. I think He wants us to live enthusiastically. If you must clean the house, clean with gusto! If you must study for a test, study with joy. If you must cook the entire Thanksgiving meal by yourself, then cook it with love and peace. If you must spend another night all alone with no one to talk to, then bake some cookies and eat them all by yourself while watching an empowering movie or reading a feel-good book by the fire.
I believe God wants us to live spherically. Of course, He wants us to know Him and love Him, but He also wants us to love the people around us. I’m not good at that; I like to keep to myself and be safe. If you are like me, afraid to hope for someone who would love you in spite of all your insecurities, then look for the people that you can love. I guarantee you, you’re not as alone as you feel. Invite them to enjoy life with you.