Last night, I began a new study with my Wednesday evening group. We are reading and discussing together the book The Good and Beautiful Life by James Bryan Smith. This the second of a series of James Bryan’s Smith’s books with the first being The Good and Beautiful God and the third being The Good and Beautiful Community. I read the first book, The Good and Beautiful God with my small group last year. In reading and working through this book with the group I gained a better understanding that our God is a forgiving God. Also, it was opportunity to examine the heart and understand God’s love and what he desires for all of his children. Just as I shared in my blog post Parachute Pants and Big Hair, God molds you and I day by day, event by event, and by placing many people in our paths along our journey.
After only reading the first chapter in The Good and Beautiful Life, I am excited about the adventure I am about to take in the weeks ahead in learning more about me and what real, pure joy means for me in my life. We are already examining the heart of how and why we make the choices we make each day. Do our choices reflect living a virtuous life or a life of vices and misgivings? Along with the examining of the heart and our choices, we learn more of the difference between happiness and true joy. Happiness is on the surface and can be temporary. Whereas, true joy goes deep within, it is eternal and it influences how we look at life and make the choices we make each day.
Before our session concluded, we were assigned to write a letter to God. We had to tell God what we wanted most in our lives. Below is the letter I wrote to God last evening and I wanted to share it with you.
The life I want most for myself is a life of knowing real joy, experiencing inner peace and experience
your love on a daily basis. I want to experience you in all relationships. I want to be your ambassador of sharing with others your love, forgiveness and your way of living a virtuous life.
Along with these things, I want most in my life is when I get up in the morning and look into the mirror that I not only see myself but I see a child of God. A child that God will not abandon but will be with me every minute of that day. In the evening, I want to be able to look in that same mirror and know that I did the best I could for you. If I messed up along the way that day, I will ask for your forgiveness and acknowledge that you will give me another chance.
God, what I want most in my life, is that at the end of my journey, when I meet you face to face,
I want to be able to look straight into your eyes and say; “I did it!” “I lived a life that shared your love and grace.” Oh, what joy!
How about you? What do you want most in life? When is the last time you examined your heart and the daily choices you make? Have you experienced that eternal joy? I encourage you to check out these books that are excellent reads and wonderful spiritual formation. Not only do I encourage to read these books, but I also encourage you to journey through them with a small group. Along with these suggestions, write your own letter to God. You don’t have to read the books to let God know what you want most in life.
“Each day we make decisions that move us closer to a life of virtue or vice. We face decisions whether to be greedy or generous, self-centered or self-sacrificing, condemning or forgiving, cursing or blessing. No Matter who we are, we must choose the narrative we will practice daily.” [Taken from The Good and Beautiful Life; page 27]