Jeff Foxworthy had a joke that said, “If your life has ever been changed by watching an episode of ‘Walker, Texas Ranger,’ you might be a redneck.”I loved the one about the Latino kid rescued from a gang by Chuck Norris’ “Kick Drugs Out of America” campaign. Sniff, sniff.I laughed when I first heard Foxworthy’s joke and thought how silly some people are for feeling so moved by the most inane or cheesy kinds of things.Chief among these for me are inspirational sayings. You know what I mean.Things like, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” Just shoot me now.
But this past week at the Arts Conference at Willow Creek (apologies to those who see Willow as the great evil of our day, representing everything wrong with the contemporary church – okay, not really), I heard a single sentence that could be thought of as just another pithy slogan. But it did something to me. Nancy Beach issued a challenge to live with your default setting on “open delight.”
Just take delight in what God has done and is doing all around you. Be delighted to engage in conversation, to take on challenges, to meet new people, to accomplish a task, to go through the trial and error process of creating something new, to be with family and friends. Just delight in all you do and all that makes up your day. Live with your default setting on open delight.
So I came home and tried it out. And it worked so well. No matter what was going on at home in the chaos of my two oldest kids moving out on their own, getting our house ready for sale so the rest of us can move, thinking about all I need to do to start a new church in my new ministry setting, leaving a church I love, taking care of an aging mother who lives 100 miles away, etc…, I managed to be more open and gracious and cooperative and giving than I have in a long time – maybe ever. At least for a couple of days, I managed to live that way.
But then old patterns of thought and behavior started creeping back in. Even after all these years, I had the expectation that if I changed, the world around me would be inspired to change as well. But this time, things are different. I’m not changing my setting. The joy (delight) of the Lord will be my strength. The rest of the world will just have to deal with open delight however it feels it needs to do so. And that has been an incredibly freeing thing for me. Delightful even.