She then posed the question,“What do you do for you, and no one else? What do you do for you that doesn’t necessarily have to have any spiritual significance, but is simply for enjoyment?”
Late one Friday night, I was hanging out on Park Avenue with a few friends. Though most twenty something’s were off doing what they do, my group of friends was hungry for authentic, honest conversations filled with the spirit. As we sat there, enjoying ice cream conversing about our lives, the conversation quickly led to the subject of joy.
One of our friends sitting there has been very honest and vulnerable in his struggle to find joy over the course of his life. He has confessed to us in the past, and began to confess again, that many times sadness and loneliness are often his “normal.” He does not know how or what could help him experience true joy, though he desires it deeply.
My friend admitted his circumstances weren’t exactly ideal and his struggle to find joy has been an ongoing battle ever since childhood. His early years consisted of heartache and feeling abandoned. This caused him to have a callused heart that is familiar with experiencing sadness and unfulfilled expectations.
Though my friend knows joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit and is a God-given core emotion, he feels stuck and doesn’t know how to experience it. His head knows the joy of the Lord is our strength, but his heart does not.
So as we were sitting there processing with our friend, I remembered a quote I had heard Jenn Johnson say via podcast earlier this year, “The kingdom of God is one of work, rest, and play.”
In the counseling realm, this is called “self-soothing” (e.g. taking a bubble bath, sitting on a porch, drinking hot tea, riding a bike, going to the beach). I posed this question to my friend. He thought for a while but found himself speechless. Eventually he admitted he couldn’t think of one thing he did for the sole purpose of pleasure and enjoyment.
This conversation stirred a righteous hunger within me to see God restore enjoyment and pleasure within humanity. We often associate the word pleasure with immorality and indulgence, but that association is purely the enemy’s corruption and distortion of God’s original design.
John 10:10 says, “The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy,” but Jesus says “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (ESV). The New Living Translation says “My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”
It’s time to take back what the enemy has stolen. It’s time to take back pleasure in our lives; the kind that is originally designed by God.
And with that revelation, my friends and I were determined to help our friend find some enjoyment. The next day we drove to the Sixt Rental Car Station and rented a BMW 4 Series Convertible. Our friend decided driving a fast fancy car was something he enjoyed to do for fun. It was good to see a smile on his face as we drove aimlessly through the empty roads and watched the beautiful sun go down; driving head on into a life that was meant to be enjoyed.
Though finding pleasure is one small part to a much greater solution of finding our joy, if you are experiencing loss of interest or joy in your life, I’d encourage you to pose this question to yourself.
“What do you do for you, and no one else? It doesn’t have to have spiritual significance, or any other purpose than seeking play.”
If you or a loved one are struggling with finding your joy, we strongly encourage you to come receive prayer at the Glennon House. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you into wholeness and healing.