Thursday, May 3, 2012

choosing delight: substitutes

tea time
I remember exactly where I was when it happened. It was the moment; you know the one just before you completely lose it? That’s where I was. Maybe I’m being dramatic, maybe you might think I just need to de-stress and get less busy. Maybe I’d agree with you. All I know is that on this particular Saturday morning hormones were surging, emotions were flying and my husband and I were suffering from I haven’t spoken one meaningful word to you or even seen you in the last week- itis. It was definitely one of those days. And when he left the house I was left with nothing but frustration, anger, and a twinge of disappointment-disappointment with myself, with our situation, with everything.

That is where I found myself. Starving for breakfast, yet driven to stop everything and complete a silly mundane task. In this case it was organizing tea. Of course the tea fiasco was simply the substitute for the cure. Organized tea does not magically erase frustrations or make anything better.

I realized then that it’s easy to trade the unseen eternal for what is visible and fleeting. That’s because the thing that is God’s best for me is usually hard. And because of my poor trade I forfeit God’s best, casting it off for what temporarily satisfies. I take his unfathomable gifts and swap them for little things I can control. And in this case it caused me to place my delight not in God, but in an organized and cleaned out cupboard. I took that outstretched gift from the hand of God and threw it away for a basket of tea.

As I furiously separated Earl Gray from Peppermint and Chai I heard that faint whisper. Thankfully grace broke through and pointed me straight to the cure I so desperately needed. It’s something we all need.

Can you delight in me here?
In the undone, in the tensions and fights, can you stop everything and rejoice in God your Savior?

My friends, this is where it’s hard. This is where I want to wallow in pity, cry on a shoulder, run away. This is where I frantically clean everything in sight, trading God’s way for mine and robbing myself of his joy in the process.

But this is exactly where I am. I am a flawed human who strives to live out God’s best and so often exchanges it for something less than. I always forget that if the Lord gives the day, as chaotic as it may feel, then I must trust that he plans grace for me. Even when I can’t see it. Delight is there-God is waiting. With extended arms and outstretched grace, inviting me to enjoy him. Even when it’s hard.

Delight should be my first line of defense. When things are falling apart I must run to God first. Delighting in God doesn’t have to be as hard as I’m making it out to be. I complicate things and screw them up with my over thinking and poor substitutions when all God is asking me to do is put my face towards him and soak up the joy his presence gives.

You fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11

Accessing God’s joy isn’t complicated, but it is hard. It takes turning to him first, and that means turning away from doing this thing my way. So often I choose my way first. I clean instead of pray, I worry when I should be praising, and those are poor substitutes for the lasting joy that God wants to give me.

Learning to delight in God first gives me a place for my frustrations. Turning my face to him first gives me the right perspective on things. That has become my new quest: Delight first.


At the beginning of this year I felt God speaking to me. It was a gentle whisper, that eventually came relentlessly and persuasively. It was a simple question, wrapped up with a command.

“Will you choose to delight in me? I want you to delight yourself in me, and in me alone.”

And so I have been on a quest to find delight in God. Along the way I’ve realized that it is often my choice to make, despite circumstances and regardless of emotions I can choose to delight in the Lord. Or I can walk the other way. I am unpacking what this means to me in the middle of a busy and hectic life where distractions abound. I imagine that it’s a life just like yours, where children are needy, husbands want our time, bills need our money, and floors need our mops. It seems like an insurmountable task to delight in God even though life is spinning around us. But that is precisely what God has command his children to do. To delight in him in the midst of the even thoughs. I am excited to unpack this here weekly for you, for me…for all of us on the journey.


  1. Oh, what a wonderful post Gina! So many times especially when my girls were small it was so very hard to delight in THIS day. To be thankful for it all. To praise Him. I pray that you can find time to relish in THIS day and to be happy in it! always, Melody

    1. Thank you Melody! I think whatever season we are in there will be things that challenge our efforts to rejoice in God, to turn to him and praise him. I am reminded often that I have a choice EVERY DAY, to turn to him first. It's a good day when I do!

  2. "I take his unfathomable gifts and swap them for little things I can control. And in this case it caused me to place my delight not in God, but in an organized and cleaned out cupboard."

    AMEN! things i can control! that's it. that's what i do. sheesh.

    ah, but delight. delight gets ME CLEANED OUT AN ORGANIZED! right!??!?
    "i WILL enter His gates with thanksgiving in my heart, i WILL enter His courts with praise" i need in there, to get cleaned out and organized emotioanlly, spiritually, financially, physically.

    great post, gina!

    1. I would a trade those organized places in my home for a heart that is cleaned out and ready for God any day! I love that declaration, I WILL enter his gates. It's a bold choice-I want to make that choice regularly...willingly enter his presence with thanksgiving and praise. Could you imagine what life would be like if we did this EVERY day?!? It would be so good, so good!

  3. Printing this out to read again!!! I hope to respond later, soooooooo gooooooooooood.

  4. i lined this on f.b.
    received likes and comments. other resonating with your words. God being glorified through them.

  5. i needed this right now. well, actually a few hours ago would have been even better when i was a whirlwind, list-making and overwhelmed with tasks undone. shoot. i love what denise added too...i needed to stop, find an "inner room" and organize my heart first, find my delight, and then press on in peace. funny that i've been thinking about the word "counterfeit" today and how satan places so many counterfeits around us that promise to meet our needs instead of Jesus. and we choose them. it's so lame. it feels like i never learn this lesson, like really, deeply learn it. well, tomorrow is a new day.

    1. I choose those counterfeits all the time, I'm grateful that God has been opening my eyes to see that exchange.

      Tomorrow is a new day, and God's mercies are new every morning! Just think, God wants you there even more than you patient with the process, we're all on that journey to learning deep within what he wants us to learn!

  6. Such a good word, Gina, and timely for me. Thanks so much! (Shannon)

  7. Thanks so much, Gina. Your walk inspires me and reminds me to delight in Him. You are a treasure.

  8. YES. IT IS SO HARD. And I know that moment you beautifully describe...the "on the edge of the cliff" moment is what I call it.
    I see the storm coming, and It is almost as if I make a conscious decision to turn my back on God..because I am so pissed off!!...and to do things MY way. And my way has never worked. Ever. SUre, the house might be cleaner...but my soul is a wreck.

    Grace is lovely when we recognize it.
    To be able to delight in the Lord not just when things are going our way, but really, when life is crumbling around us, is what I aim for.

    This is all so great. Thank you!!!

    you should stop by my blog for a great Give Away!!!!!!! A little grace to wear around your neck :-)

    1. I love what you're saying, a clean house does't make up for a wrecked soul. It's just not worth it!

      God's way is always better, but sometimes it's more difficult. My prayer is that I would be able to embrace his way, his route, his joy in the middle of everything-even when I can't see the immediate good. And then I'm always so grateful for his gracious patience with me when I don't get it right away!

      and a little grace for my neck sounds pretty good...I'm heading over now! :)

  9. I'm really good at this too. It's a form of procrastination--putting off the ONE THING we really need to do, which is to be with Him. You wouldn't believe the bizarre things I do to avoid the ONE THING. Everything from doing dishes to pulling weeds. It's weird.

    Fantastic post! Love you ~ Jen

    1. I'm with you there Jen, and yes I get a lot of bizarre things done too. But I too easily neglect that one perfect thing. Maybe that's why my cupboards are so clean right now...I need less clean and more prayer! I'm obviously still walking this one out in my life, still working on it. Thank goodness God is patient with me!


I love to hear from you! Thanks for coming by and sharing your thoughts with me.

LinkWithin Related Stories Widget for Blogs