(Please note the inadvertent sharp contrast between yesterday’s post on how difficult it is to get through life on earth sane and today’s post. I didn’t plan it this way and I’m not sure what it means.)
I live where people go on holiday (that makes me sound so European). We even sell bumper stickers that say “my life is better than your vacation.” Chances are the mountains twenty miles from my house are July’s photo on the calender hanging in your kitchen. When we discuss the weather, it’s not small talk to break the ice in a conversation but to actually seek information on the powder conditions (and what it’s water content percentage is.) Skiing, mountain biking and kayaking are apart of the regular routine round here. We are a recreational bunch, and as such we have a high life satisfaction.
We asked a question recently in my community group – can Christians be happy? Not like is it possible, but is it permissible for us to enjoy our lives? It may sound like a silly question, but I think it’s worth exploring (and note I’m referring to something different from the joy that comes from the Lord). In Christianity we talk a lot about going into the dark places of our world and living your life for others, and quite frankly you can convince yourself that God doesn’t want you to be happy – that he made you for higher, holier things. Our earthly pleasure can seem very primal and dirty and hedonistic.
I don’t have a solid answer to harmonize the tension, but I do think we can get some clues by looking at our origins. Why did God bother to dream up and create this world and populate it with little soul bodies? We can give the true yet still obligatory pious answer of “to bring glory to himself,” but I don’t think that’s all there is. Hope that doesn’t make me sound like a bad Christian. I think ultimately we were created to enjoy the lives that God has given us. If you can imagine yourself in the Garden of Eden and receiving the freshly created land from God – I think you’d know that it was given as a gift to be enjoyed.
Am I’m not asking is it okay for me to go skiing this weekend. Of course it is, and even if you told me I must deny myself of all pleasures (especially in Lent!) I’ll still go because the powder has been low water content lately and ripe for spraying. But there seems to be a fine line somewhere between partaking in life’s pleasures and living a servant’s life.
I ask this hoping you have some insight – so swing away!