Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Slowing Down Almost Always Brings Joy

It snowed 8-10 inches last night. Our town and much of the Midwest came to a screeching halt. Churches were closed and even the road crew trucks got stuck at times. The winds are picking up, more snow is on the way and we could be hunkering down at home for another day or two. And while the Super Bowl is on tonight many of the parties simply won't happen.

Families will have to watch the game by themselves and have their own little party. Kids and parents may together be eating hot dogs and chips while laughing at the silly commercials. For most who wins the game won't matter that much.

But I wonder if on this slow day many will experience something deep within that is good, refreshing and re-filling. Perhaps some will stop long enough to remember what is really important - their family, others they love, time for themselves, moments to enjoy what God has made and delight in the little things. Maybe some will be glad watching the game at home. I hope so.

A young man did some work over several days for a woman and stole a valued coin collection from her when she wasn't looking. When she suspected him of course he denied it. However, he was caught when he spent several of the valuable coins for pizza and movie tickets. One was worth nearly $19,000. He didn't realize how valuable they were.

Slowing down is often what we too need to remind us of things we possess that are so valuable. And when we get those moments I think that's when we get a taste of much more than happiness. Instead we experience JOY. And times of joy are rare for many people these days.

Joy is a deep feeling, a profound awareness that we are engaging and embracing something more eternal, not totally of this world and certainly not merely of our own making. The problem is that we spend much of our lives running past joy, spending our valuable coins so to speak on the mundane.

But when we stop, get snowed in perhaps or just take some moments on our own to walk not run we will have more and more opportunities to experience what matters most. And I'm convinced that God intended it that way.  He never wanted us to keep getting busier, accomplishing more and running ourselves ragged.  Even churches can get caught up in the bigger and better syndrome where spirituality and success for God is measured by how much we do or how many people we impact at one time.

Early this morning, while I was making contacts to let our church people know we would not have services, I noticed through the dawn's faint light a car stuck in the snow in front of our house. So I headed out there in my boots and winter coat with a shovel to see if the person needed help.  I discovered a young woman was trying to get to a nursing home where she was needed to work.

Thankfully another man stopped and together we guided her out of the snow and got her on her way. Somehow I wondered if that wasn't a small, but significant opportunity to be Jesus to a person in need and experience joy.  No, it wasn't at church and it was only one person. But somehow it seemed to matter a lot. The sermon I didn't get to preach wasn't important. 

In fact, maybe I actually did preach one - to an audience of one.  It probably wouldn't have happened without the storm. Perhaps we all need a few more storms or at least the motivation to slow down so that joy is more predominant in our lives than mere happiness.

At least today I think I'm going to have another cup of coffee for now and just embrace the joy.  And hopefully I'll be willing to slow down more often even without winter's brutal help to do it. How about you?

Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.