"This has been the best day ever," my daughter said with an incredible amount of joy. The sweet smile on her face cut me to the heart and humbled me immediately. Over the course of the day I had lost perspective, but thankfully she never did. Through the course of the day she remained in the moment and without knowing it she took her daddy to "humility" school.
"The best day ever" was a few weeks ago. Our oldest daughter wanted a fishing pole for her birthday and wanted it followed up with a family fishing trip. We packed up our gear, fishing poles, the dog, and off we went on a chilly, but gorgeous sunny Saturday afternoon.
We arrived at the lake, pulled everything out of the truck, took a short hike and settled at our spot. Within thirty minutes, fishing lines had become tangled, the dog was psycho, fly fishing flies were lost, patience was gone, and my blood pressure had escalated. That day, humility school taught me that the problem wasn't in what was going wrong, the problem was within me.
You see, I had an idea before we left 8 Little Fox Court how the day was going to go and, well, in a short bit of time it went in the complete opposite direction. When things didn't go "my way" frustration settled in and I struggled to recover. At the height of my selfish frustration, my sweet daughter said those words that made me tear up alongside that stinky lake, "This has been the best day ever."
As I simmered in my selfishness, the Holy Spirit used the words of my daughter to pierce my pride-ridden heart. I wish I could say it was a gentle pierce, but honestly in that moment it felt like I had been stabbed...humbled by the joyful words of a ten year old.
I've found that even with the gray hair that has found a home on my head, the hours spent studying, the graduate degree, and the title of "Executive Pastor" I still have much to learn. That day my teacher was a sweet little girl. Humbling to say the least. For her, the dog being a spazz, the tangled fishing lines, and the unseasonably cold weather were insignificant. They didn't matter to her. What mattered to her was being outside and sharing a moment with her family. She didn't see everything that went "wrong," she saw everything that was "right." Time spent with her family, enjoying the gifts God had given her mattered and everything else was inconsequential.
A couple weeks have passed since "the best day ever," but those words are still having quite an impact on me. My daughter's simple, passing statement has caused me to think and reflect quite a bit on how I view life, how I lack humility, and how I have an incredible amount of growth that still needs to happen. It's easy to focus on what's going wrong in life and miss the simple blessings that constantly surround us. At our job, with our families, wherever we may be...focus on what's wrong and selfishness and pride are surely present and corrupting the heart.
"The best day ever" was a few weeks ago. And it was last Saturday dancing at a wedding with my wife and daughters. And it's today celebrating my wife's birthday. The best day ever is right before us, it's being in the moment and being grateful for the moment.
Jesus came, He said, to give us life and life in abundance (John 10:10). Eternal life, yes, but also a life of complete satisfaction and rest now, in this very moment. That abundant life doesn't depend on fishing line remaining untangled or everything going "right" in life, its focused on His unrelenting love. Resting moment by moment in His love brings about "the best day ever."
You can read more of Darren's posts at darrenjdepaul.com or follow him on Twitter or Instagram @darrenjdepaul.