I remember coming cross this image and I am a huge fan of Parks and Rec, so naturally I loved it. If you have not seen this amazing show you must stop, block off 5-7 hours and benge this amazing television masterpiece. If you are one of those people who doesn’t like P and R then your dead to me….. Just kidding, but seriously, it's the best. I love the passion that the character Leslie Knope brings to her life, job, and relationships. And I remember about a year ago seeing this picture of her with the caption “Be the Leslie Knope of whatever you do”....meaning give it 110%. The go getter in me has always felt inspired by this quote. But it was today as I sat at my kitchen table feeding my baby oatmeal, watching him try to learn how to keep the food in his mouth instead of letting his little tongue push it back out, listening to my two year old and four year old run around playing queen and king/ power rangers; that I remembered this quote and I felt the Holy Spirit say “leslie knope would have missed this moment”.... You see, her character was infamous for never taking a day off work, never learning the rhythms of rest, and the merritt of slowing down, and friends I think she probably missed out on some joyous moments.
Whether your twenty-two in college with a full plate of classes, twenty nine with a full time job and 2 kids in daycare, or sixty with an empty nest and grandkids running around. Jesus wants us to rest and enjoy the little moments of joy that he provides us among the crazy hectic schedules we lock ourselves into. You see, joy is from the Lord, and he provides opportunities for us to experience joy all the time. John 15:11 says, “I’ve told you these things for a purpose; that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature”. Jesus wants us to catch that moment of watching a baby learn to eat food for the first time and see the look in his eyes as he experiences the newness of something, he wants us to take time to engage our children with our whole heart and all of our attention, and he also wants you to use your talents for his glory in your job. He just doesn’t want you to try to do all three at the same time. My friend and Pastor, Connie reminds me often, “you can do anything, you just can’t do everything”. It’s okay to find joy at home and it’s okay to find joy in your job, just slow yourself down so you can actually experience the joy.
Slow yourself down and ask Jesus to give you fresh eyes to see his miracles and wonders, because friends they truly are everywhere. Maybe your in a season, where nothing sparks joy. Maybe that’s God’s way of saying you need to rest, not take a nap, but really rest in him. It might mean you need to set aside a night where someone takes the kids and you just spend a few hours in your bible, maybe tomorrow you need to set your alarm 30 minutes early and sip a cup of coffee while you watch the sun rise, or maybe you need to plan a weekend with your husband to pray and laugh together again. Heck, maybe you need a full week in the bahamas! Jesus said, “This is what I want you to do: Ask the Father for whatever is in keeping with the things I’ve revealed to you. Ask in my name, according to my will, and he’ll most certainly give it to you. Your joy will be a river overflowing its banks”. (John 16:24)
I’ve heard it said recently by a couple of different sources, that maybe we are way to content. Content in the fact that we aren’t pursuing the life God promises through Jesus. Maybe were content with being too busy and not taking time to slow down, maybe were too focused on the wrong things, or maybe we need to rest and reset. God wants abundant joy for us, and when were bold and ask for it, I know he’ll provide it. I don’t know what that looks like for you, but my prayer for everyone reading this blog is that you stop and ask God where you need to rest and be filled with him and that you would slow down so you can experience the joy he has for you. Hallelujah and amen.