Do you ever start something out of enjoyment, only to keep doing it out of a sense of obligation? Do you ever wonder over the disappearance of your delight in the things you always wanted to do?
My world involves being a wife and mother, homeschooling, serving as a pastor’s wife, and writing. Each one of those has been a dream for years, and it still amazes me that those dreams have all come true!
I love organization and administration, and many of the things I’m involved in allow me to exercise those particular muscles regularly.
My heart’s desire is to mentor and encourage other women, especially fellow homeschoolers and ministers’ wives. God has flung open doors to allow me to see that desire fulfilled.
Yet even as I smile over that list and think about all of the ways I have seen God give me the desires of my heart over and over and over again, I am also reminded of the many times each of those things has overwhelmed me, feeling like a drudgery instead of a joy.
Just this past weekend I stepped away from writing temporarily. Those of you who follow this blog know I typically have posts every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with occasional book reviews and other posts scattered in between. This past week, though, I just shrugged my shoulders and ignored the Friday and Monday posts. I had other things I wanted to do. I realized that posting something those two days would be simply an act of filling a supposed obligation, not acting upon a desire of my heart.
Maybe I’m alone in this, but all too often I begin to do the work set before me out of obligation rather than out of delight. I think it all comes from swerving away from a heart that longs to honor and glorify God and veers instead into the lane of people pleasing. I have always struggled with people pleasing. When the temptation rears its ugly head again and again, I must fight hard to resist. I want to make people happy.
I think I need to keep my husband, children, church, and friends happy with what I do and say.
I think I need to perform my organizational and administrative responsibilities with perfection so as not to disappoint.
I think I have to offer the perfect advice rather than simply being a listening ear.
I even think I have to have the perfect “quiet time” each more to make sure I please God.
And the delight and joy disappear.
So many verses pop into my head every time I begin to fall into obligatory actions. Verses like:
Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33
Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31
And those are just a few. I’m sure many more are popping into your mind right now.
Our delight in life arises because we are delighting in Him, in service to Him, and in His glory. Our desires are born out of who He created us to be and what He plants in our hearts to do for His glory. Everything He places before us is intended to honor Him, and only in accomplishing that can we find our incredible joy and delight.
When we forget that, we instead find dread. We find obligation. We find the loss of our joy.
What doors of delight has God opened for you? When was the last time you truly enjoyed it? Are you ready for it to be restored?
I would not have smiled while editing or writing a blog post last weekend. It would have been a drudgery. Today, though, it is a delight. I am not writing to fit a schedule. I am not writing to make you, my readers, happy. I write because a thought has stirred within me and I want to share it. I hunger to glorify God through it, and I trust that if He planted the seed of thought, He will use that seed for His glory and His purposes.
Delight has been restored.