It seemed appropriate, when I kicked off my TGIF playlist this morning, that "Vacation" by the Go-Go's started. I'm reading Eat, Pray, Love by Melissa Gilbert about her year long trek across Italy, India and Indonesia so my mind is in a get-away kind of mood.
When Gilbert was first in Italy, she struggled with the notion that she was there for pleasure. She had an ingrained sense of guilt about deserving to enjoy her surrounding. In a response that I'm very familiar with, she tried to strive for pleasure. "I wanted to take on pleasure like a homework assignment."
I am constantly striving and the question in this week's study, Java with the Judges, is very hard to register: Does it ever bother you that you're weak? Yes! Always!
Somewhere along in my early childhood I surmised that being weak was bad, very, very bad. So, from this childhood mystery developed my self preservation technique to never be weak. Seriously. Freaky, huh? I mean, how can someone do that? Quite obviously, not without a lot of damage which defeats the whole self preservation thing and creating guilt in experiencing any kind of pleasure. Hmm, that sounds like a cycle.
God wants us to have pleasure in the way that we live and serve; he's provided so much for us to have pleasure in. The reward in living and obeying is in discovering where you fit and experiencing pleasure from it that you never imagined possible. The obstacle we all run into is our modus operandi - our mode of self preservation. It blinds us from seeing what we can do.
Gideon was scared, there's no doubt about it (Judges 6:15). When told what he was to do, he stalled. But when you get him in battle, he's on fire (Judges 7:15)! He takes the reigns and thrives. It may be hard to say he took pleasure in this but its obvious he's in his element; there is no more fear or worry of self preservation. When he got past his knee jerk reaction, he learned something new and amazing about himself.
So maybe the false modes of self preservation we have aren't only preventing us from serving God in some cool way but even keeping us from experiencing the amazing delights God has bestowed generously on us like food, worship, and relationship.