Intentional Observation: Delight yourself in YHWH
11 September 2010 2 Comments
One of the categories in the sidebar of this blog is “entitlement.” I haven’t posted about this idea (or reality) for a few years now, but was reminded of it this morning when a friend on Facebook decried a Christian radio program for saying “Something that you want can be considered a need if it is part of your lifestyle.”
Apparently, according to this friend’s report, “The dj’s were asking people what they needed to buy or spend money on but just haven’t yet. They wanted to know what it was and why they haven’t bought it yet? What a conversation to get us thinking about our own self-absorbed lives!” Health and wealth gospel, anyone?
Summers during my high school years I worked at Maranatha Bible camp. It was common for a few Canadians to be on staff, as well as a few people from other places around the world. One summer in particular there was a Latino student helping out around camp. His name was Pedro, or was it Pablo. Anyway, he played the piano quite well, and his mantra that summer was “Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart; Pamela Anderson.”
I get the sense that we [Americans] often, or pretty much always, forget the first half of that Psalmic invitation. “Delight yourselves in YWHW.”
Do we remotely know what does that looks like? Via Biblios.com, “‘To delight’ is most frequently expressed by chaphets, which means originally ‘to bend’ . . . hence, ‘to incline to,’ ‘take pleasure in.'” How often can we honestly say that we take pleasure in God? I know I can’t say that very often with honesty. Admittedly, I’m too self-absorbed. The to-do list whirling about in my head keeps me from delighting in much of anything, actually. Even when I get to spend time sculpting in my studio, of late, all I can think of is how little time I have to actually spend there and how I need to get as much done as I possibly can. Presently I have to find work to pay the bills, which can be an enormous distraction at times.
Email — and I really don’t get that much of it anymore — is always calling, as are the blog stats (even though they never really change, and I know in my head that I don’t really care that much). Apparently there is some interesting psychology behind our relationship to social media and technology according to a Fresh Air interview from August. Useless distractions abound in our culture, super-saturated with media of all kinds, and keep me from delighting in God.
What would happen if we actually did delight in YHWH, even in our partial understanding of Psalm 37’s invitation? I’d like to think that the desires of our hearts would change. We would be less self-absorbed, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” We would worry corporate America and its quest for ever more cavernous coffers because the next best digital gadget just wouldn’t mean all that much to us. I believe we’d find more joy in every aspect of our lives.
In short, the desires of our heart, whether you want to call them needs or wants or whatevers, would change. They’d look more like the goodness of God, more like His desires for us, for creation.
So how can I do better at delighting in YHWH (regardless of my intentions, my desires, which do not include Pamela Anderson)? I need focus. I think a lot of us need focus. It’s much to easy in the U.S. to go in ten thousand and one different directions, to have 10 hobbies or passions or interests and not be really proficient in any one of them. Additional options play out ever before us thanks to advertising in newspapers, on websites, on television or along our commute to the office. We see what the Joneses just bought or where they vacationed and think we’d enjoy that too.
And we might, actually, but the more directions I’m going in the less — in general — joy I have There just isn’t time for all of them. I must realize what’s most important to me (and what presently allows me to delight in YHWH) with respect to my faith, my God-given talents, my family etc. and adjust accordingly. Subsequently I have to realize that, even in light of similar faith or family values, my direction will often look very different than other peoples.