I love Disneyland! Growing up in Southern California, we visited Disneyland on special occasions and it was always something I looked forward to for weeks and thoroughly enjoyed when I was there. And now, as a mom, I still enjoy taking my teenagers for a day of distraction.
What’s not to love about Disneyland? It feels as if Walt Disney and his team thought of everything. Within each experience you become completely immersed in the land you are visiting. In Toon Town, you feel as if you have entered a cartoon and everything is bubbly, colorful and graphic. When you enter Adventure Land, it feels as if you are touring the jungle or the pirate-filled seas and that you are the consummate explorer. Even standing in line is part of the experience. Crisscrossing through those ropes and down into the pit of the entrance to a ride can be an experience. It is complete, thought-out and a delight. It feels as if you have escaped to another place where all these experiences have been set up for you and you alone.
Disneyland is a delight. When I am there, I feel completely immersed in the experience and the outside world becomes non-existent.
What is not a delight? The CROWDS! Last fall I had the privilege of taking my kids and their cousins, 5 teenagers in total, to Disneyland. Do you know what? Turns out it was one of the most crowded days in history! That was not a delight, unfortunately. The crowds slow everything down. Your group may have a plan to get to a certain land and it often takes you twice as long and you run the risk of distraction simply because you cannot focus on your direction long enough to outlast the crowds of people that are vying for the same experience. The crowds will often change your direction, because a side route always looks better than it turns out to be, and they can funnel you to something that you never wanted to get to in the first place. Isn’t a short cut always better anyway? Well, not always.
A couple weeks ago, our speaker at church referenced the idea of Disneyland in terms of God’s love and how he sets up experiences and things in our lives that are wonderful and joyful and super cool, but the crowds can beat us down. This rang so true for me.
God is a detailed, complete and creative God. He has planned, created and intended experiences in our life that will carry us through even the hardest times. Our attitude, focus, and thoughts are what create a ‘crowding out’ of the experience God has intended for us. He wants us to lean in and become immersed in His love and intention, to trust and experience all He has for us, to not let the crowds derail and redirect us out of his love and path. But how? How?
In Deuteronomy 11:18 it says, “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.” That’s how! It takes diligence and commitment and focus, but if we immerse ourselves in His word and our hearts and minds are focused on Him, can you see how much more delight we would get out of life?
God sets us up for experiences in our lives. He wants the best for us. Our focus can get us to the experiences He has intended for us, or the life He has for us to live. But the crowds detract from that, right? When pain happens, fear sets in, opinions crowd our mind, we tend to take our focus off the direction He has set us on and then we lose our way toward His intended path and experience. Life and its circumstances can take hold and veer us off in a direction that is not focused on the land we want to be experiencing. And it happens so easily. But the more our hearts and minds are leaning in to Him, the more we will experience life, the good and the bad, in the light of all that he intends. And there, we will find delight.
Psalm 37:4 says, “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” So what if our focus and direction is centered on delight in Him? What if in the midst of the crowds of life we keep focused on the delight we find in Him? What if when we feel pushed and pulled and funneled and challenged to go a different way or to try a different route or to change course because it is just too much, that we stayed the course and got to the delight? That’s the experience He wants for us, that His words on our minds and hearts cause delight in our life.
A delight is a source of joy, and to delight is to cause pleasure.
And when we can focus on delighting in Him and our focus is on what He has set us up to be and to experience, we find that all along, the desires of our heart were right there, in the land that He created for us to experience. So amazing from a detailed, complete, creative and delightful God.
By His Grace