Life can go on and on from day to day, but when we stop to notice little moments of delight, something profound can begin to grow—hope, joy, and thankfulness. Bible stories come alive.
For me, there is nothing quite like sinking my teeth into a perfectly ripe Black Doris plum and tasting the fullness of flavor as its juices flow across the taste buds.
As I write this post, it’s mid-January in New Zealand, and it’s summer. The Black Doris plum tree has come to its time of harvest, and I gorge myself on its delight daily. I have pruned this tree, given it fertilizer, and watched it flower.
I have longed for this harvest time whenever I have walked under its canopy. It’s the moment of tasting and seeing that Lord is good. God has provided a tree full of delight for me and others to enjoy.
This is a time of delight.
It is the little things that I need to train my brain to focus on.
The sip of coffee first thing in the morning.
The attention my grandchild gives to the story I am reading her.
The way a mother bird feeds a demanding chick hopping around behind her.
Where do you find delight?
It’s too easy to find dismay. Far too easy to find rotten fruit, bitter moments, anguish, hardship, and despair.
The brain is trained to have a magnetic pull to the dark.
The songwriter of the Psalms sings these words.
Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
What does the word ‘delight’ mean in the Bible?
In Hebrew, the word delight is ‘anog’ and has the meaning of to be soft, delicate, and dainty. To be pliable and tender.
Something good for the brain happens when we stop and notice that which is soft, delicate, and dainty. There is an element to delight that is fleeting. You will miss it, and it will cut you unless you stop to take it in.
As I write this, my thoughts wander to the story in the Bible of Jesus feeding the five thousand.
Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns.
When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, ‘This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.’
Jesus said to them, ‘They need not go away; you give them something to eat.’ They replied, ‘We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.’ And he said, ‘Bring them here to me.’
Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.
And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children. Matthew 14:13-21
All those loaves and fishes being multiplied and given out.
Questions float through my thinking about the delight of this moment in the Bible.
- I wonder what the fish tasted like?
- What sort of fish were they?
- Was the bread soft or chewy?
- Was there anything unique about the flavors?
- Did anyone slowly roll around a piece of the fish and morsel of bread in their mouth? Delighting their brain in the flavors?
Delighting in something takes a conscious noticing and slowing down.
Now my mind is wandering to the delight of connecting a few words together that might help you, the reader, find new ways of living. The gift I am giving is vulnerable. You could easily skip over the words and not take them. I will write anyway because I find delight in them.
I take delight when someone emails me and shares their life with me.
How do we grow delight?
- Open yourself to notice.
You probably don’t realize how many moments of delight are happening around you. Open yourself to noticing.
- Be intentional in your quest.
Have an intentionality in yourself to look for the delight. Make it an exercise every day to notice little delights.
- Take delight.
When you find something to delight in, go for it. Immerse yourself into that taste, smell, beauty, and feeling.
- Soak in it
Soak yourself thoroughly in the delight. Be with that delight for 30 seconds or more. Give the brain the message that this is something that is deeply meaningful. Take a deep inhalation of that rose’s delicate scent. Taste all the flavors of that piece of fruit deeply.
- Give thanks
Be thankful to God for those gifts of delight brought to your attention. God delights in us finding delight.
- Ask questions.
Why is that object of delight so meaningful to you? What’s the invitation God is offering you in this delight?
Continue to practice this enjoyment of delight every day. Notice the little things, take them, and give thanks.
- Journal the delight
Write about the delights you have found in your day or week. Writing helps to strengthen this discovery.
Perhaps as you discover the world of delight around you, you will also find the way God gives you the desires of your heart.
Quotes to consider
- The key to growing any psychological resource, including compassion, is to have repeated experiences of it that get turned into lasting changes in neural structure or function. Rick Hanson
- The brain is like Velcro for negative experiences, but Teflon for positive ones. [This] shades “implicit memory” – your underlying expectations, beliefs, action strategies, and mood – in an increasingly negative direction. Rick Hanson
- Most of the things we need to be fully alive never come in busyness. They grow in rest. Mark Buchanan
- In the inner stillness where meditation leads, the Spirit secretly anoints the soul and heals our deepest wounds. John of the Cross
Questions to answer
- What stories in the Bible offer us a moment where people would have experienced delight?
- Where do you find moments of delight?
- How can you cultivate moments during everyday to rest your mind in delight?