enjoy what is

A while back I was visiting with a mentor friend of mine who lives out-of-state. We were having a great time getting caught up on each others’ lives; sharing on a heart level. I unburdened my heart about a specific disappointment I was aching over because of hopes and desires that weren’t met and may never be. My friend listened graciously with love and empathy, but then she said three words that impacted me and have influenced me ever since!

“Enjoy what is,” she said.

As I’ve reflected on her advice and put it into action, I’ve found that I’ve been able to handle that disappointment with more skill, and with peace in my heart.

Circumstances, people, even our lives rarely turn out as we expect, or hope. It’s okay to be disappointed; to acknowledge it and grieve the loss of what may never be. But we eventually need to turn from focusing on that discouragement and find things to enjoy instead of just focusing on what isn’t.

Often we over-spiritualize our response to disappointment. Pretending to be happy by plastering a big phony smile on our faces while reciting spiritual words we think others expect to hear, isn’t real or righteous (or honest).  There is a very fine line between faith and falsehood sometimes. Faith is expressing that we trust God and that even though we are disappointed, we know that He is aware of it and that he loves us and that somehow He will work it out for our good as we love and obey Him. Faith is not pretending what is, is not. Faith is not a magic wand. Faith is seeing what is and asking God to get involved. Faith is praying and trusting and hoping and believing, but it isn’t assumptive or demanding. Our heart’s motives determine on which side of that fine line we land.

Minimizing is another response we often use to deal with disappointment. Downplaying our discouragement isn’t the answer. Denying that it was ever important to us devalues our desire which devalues us. It was important to us or we wouldn’t feel the way we do!  Minimizing will only keep the issue submerged until another time when it will surface again and need to be stuffed again or dealt with.

It’s permissible to express disappointment. Acknowledging it is healthy. Repeatedly bringing it up and sulking about it isn’t. Harboring anger and resentment is self-destructive. God knows what’s going on in our hearts anyway; it’s best to just fess up and tell Him how we’re feeling. Talking to God about it is the best thing to do.

Then, find things to focus on that are encouraging, uplifting and positive.

Then, as my friend challenged me, enjoy what is. If you didn’t get a raise or promotion, rejoice that you still have a job in this difficult economy we’re enduring. If upon looking in the mirror you find you’ve got a bad case of bed-head and a pimple on the tip of your nose, don’t let it ruin your day! Wash your hair and be glad that you’ve got some concealer to hide that blemish!

If it’s a person in your life, a parent or sibling or your child that has disappointed you or let you down, remind yourself that you’ve let others down a time or two yourself. Then look for qualities in them to delight in. Perhaps the sound of their laughter or the taste of their cooking or the smell of their perfume – anything positive is a good place to start. It doesn’t have to be big.

Paul wrote these words to the Christians in Philippi:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things…and the God of peace will be with you. (Phil. 4:3-9)


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6 Responses to “enjoy what is”

  1. Kristyn Says:

    If you had any idea, how God used you to speak to me tonight, you would be in awe. I have been stuck on what not to do for some time. This was a breath of fresh air for me. I attended Harvest for some time, and still look forward with anticipation when Les is coming to speak. I think we met once when you were able to come. Please keep writing:)

  2. Lana Dawson Says:

    Thanks to your husband for posting your blog on his fb status…. I have a difficult relationship with my almost 20 year old son who has pretty much kicked us and God out of his life. It has been a hard ride. I like your message …… Enjoy what is! I was just at my kitchen sink after over hearing him planning a possible move out of the house, which you would think would be a good idea given his age, but he has had a “train wreck” in his life and is still thinking he can play chicken with any other trains that might come his way. In other words, it doesn’t look like he has learned anything. It has been the hardest thing to do…. love the unlovely…. but if Jesus did that for me then I can do that for him.
    So my new motto will be….. Enjoy what is… Not what I want it to be!
    Thanks for posting your thoughts……. Les – I am one of those in Dothan waiting for your return! God be with both of you! Blessings, Lana

  3. Nanci Says:

    Thanks for your postings! I look forward to reading them almost as much as I do the Word. This one hits home… because I am constantly praying for God to heal me from my “blood disease” that could be potentially terminal if not managed.correctly…I hear the words “enjoy what is” Oh I do enjoy my life the way it is, don’t misunderstand me, but I also hear my Jesus saying to me… “Don’t just enjoy what is, but “rejoice” in what is!” For me, that means Rejoice, a command to me, because of “what is” I want to “rise above” my here and now, and live my life as full as I can for HIm, no matter what my day to day is… You reminded me of that ……that I love my life in Him!! I am who I am because of Him…I relish everyday because I am in His image, and that’s what matters the most…Thanks Kris….

  4. your best friend Says:

    I can’t even begin to thank God for the way you, my best friend, live out what you are writing about. Thanks for “enjoying what is” with me, with us as a family and with our fellowship, who are our friends. Your words are so true and rich and written with such anointed artistry. May you continue to grow and flow and impact many with words which express the Life that is truly life!
    Is it okay for this reply to be a love letter? ’cause it is. I love you, Les

  5. Bonnelle Pagel Says:

    At times… I’m able to trust God and see what’s good in a situation. Other times… I stuff it. I was convicted with these words:

    “Minimizing will only keep the issue submerged until another time when it will surface again and need to be stuffed again or dealt with.”

    This was a great blog post. Thank you for the reminder.

  6. Deb Schmidt Says:

    Kris, I love it! Thanks for continuing to write!

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