I went out to jog yesterday. The weather was nice. The sky was blue and the hills were green. After about 20 minutes of strenuously working my way up the hills through a shady trail, I arrived at a barren trail on a mountain ridge. I was sweating in the sun, and my legs were getting weary. And suddenly I realized something: even though climbing the hills was hard work, I enjoy the toil and the sweat!
There were periods in my life when I could not enjoy nature or good things in life. I remember my ability to enjoy life was sapped by life transitions, stressors, conflicts, worries, and episodes of depression. What I learned later was that the loss of my appetite to enjoy good things was a warning sign that something inside me went out of whack. As diverse as our human experiences and our peculiarities, we all need balance in life to remain healthy. When there is an imbalance in any area in our life, one of the first signs is the inability to enjoy things around us.
The Scripture writer told us that the ability to enjoy life - in our sweat and toil - is a gift of God. In our fast-pace culture, it takes intentionality to slow down and enjoy things. I make it a habit now to eat my lunch without sitting in front of a computer screen. I find it rejuvenating to just slow down and savor each bite of food. I also enjoy eating and chatting with people. In Ecclesiastes 3:13, it literally says "eat, drink, and see the good things in our labor". Modern people also find it difficult to slow down and "notice" the good things. Try this right now: Rummage through the activities and events of the day, 1) notice things you do that give you life 2) notice things that drain out life from you. What have you noticed about yourself and God? Pray to God and tell him what you have enjoyed.