As long as I can remember, I have been good at getting things done. Even in the 7th grade, I could chew through the academic work. When I attempted a career as a recording artist, I could sit for hours in front of the mike. When I was in the ministry, I could format time calendars to get through sermon preparation. When I bought my first home, I could create master lists of things that needed to be done and click them off methodically. When I began teaching, I could push through the paper like a shredding machine. I could create check-off boxes, clean off desks, organize closets, file endless papers, maintain the cars, keep the yard in shape. Perhaps I looked like the model of efficiency and discipline. Perhaps I was.
But there is one thing I couldn’t do in my endless pursuit of getting stuff done. I couldn’t enjoy. I couldn’t enjoy people. I couldn’t just be in a conversation and just relish the time. I couldn’t just sit at the dinner table and delight in the company. It’s as if that part of my heart had been freeze-dried, shelved, and tucked in some back corner of my psyche. I knew that something was terribly wrong, but I had no idea how to change.
One recent morning, as I was going through Scripture and journaling, I was aching to listen to God here. I was dutifully praying, approaching God like I often approach others, asking for something I need before I disappear back into my private bungalow. But this time, he interrupted me. This is what I heard. “Just enjoy me.” Three quiet words that stopped me. More than anything, this is what I needed, beyond all my other prayers. It was the gentle and persistent coaching of a good father. I stopped and tried to enjoy the moment, to delight in his power and beauty, to relish his company and coaching. And as I began to do that, something very surprising crept up on me, almost unnoticed. I began to enjoy others around me.
“Blessed are those who walk in the light of your presence.” (Psalm 89:15)