My husband loves to ride his Harley. He says it’s “mind-freeing”. I never used to understand why he says that. I’ve ridden on the back of Hillary, his 2008 Harley-Davidson Street Glide, many times. I’ve even gone on some long trips with him.
In 2009 we rode from our house in Orange, Texas to the northern parts of Arkansas. We were just an hour away from our house when he pulls over so we can put our rain gear on. It is just in time. As soon as we hit the road again, it starts pouring down rain! We are even almost hit by a pickup truck that was hydroplaning from the lanes of oncoming traffic!
My husband had reserved a nice room with a jacuzzi in a lodge on a mountain in Arkansas for our first night. Unfortunately, it was dark by the time we reached the base of the mountain. It was also very cold.
When we started going up the mountain, everything was fine at first then it started getting scary. It was late so there wasn’t a lot of traffic on the mountain, which was a good thing. Part way up the mountain, the fog was so thick you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. Then add freezing cold rain to the equation. I was clutching my husband’s chest for dear life and holding my breath as he maneuvered around each curve with no visibility beyond the glow of Hillary’s headlight.
A short way up the mountain he pulled over on the only side road he had seen to try and get his bearings about where we were. He was looking for a sign announcing the lodge. Well, with the fog being so thick, he couldn’t see it. He decides we are going back down the mountain to a gas station in the small town below to get warm and call the lodge. Upon making his phone call, he says we’re going back up the mountain! So, back up the mountain we went and thankfully wound up at the lodge.
We went many places during our eight day ride. Among them was a log cabin on Mt. Nebo where everything was supplied throughout the cabin from bed sheets and towels to pots and pans to make ourselves at home. We relaxed in the jacuzzi and enjoyed a gorgeous sunset that evening and a beautiful sunrise the following morning.
I could go on and on about eight days on the motorcycle, but I wouldn’t have room here. We were simply making memories.
Then last fall, for my birthday in September, he took me on another eight day trip, which we ended with riding The Natchez Trace Parkway from around Nashville, Tennessee to Natchez, Mississippi.
There is an advantage to being the passenger on the back of a Harley. I didn’t have the stress or concern of watching the road. I could just turn my nose up to the wind and smell all the grass and see all the fall colors beginning to represent themselves on the leaves falling from the trees.
The parkway is beautiful! There are trees along each side of the road, shading most parts of the parkway. There are so many campgrounds, historic places to visit with wildlife and nature all around us. It didn’t escape my attention that every shade of green on God’s pallet was visible. Riding the parkway is where I really grasped what he means by “mind-freeing”. It is just as my husband says it is. As I cruised down the parkway with the comfort of Hillary’s leather beneath me and my trusted biker in front of me, I experienced the freedom only a ride on a bike can give you.
So many people think they have to give up that mind-freeing life experience to be a Christian, because they won’t have any fun. Are you one of them? Well, I have a lot of fun! Jesus came so you and I could have life and have life more abundantly. He said so himself in John 10:10,
The thief cometh not, but that he may steal, and kill, and destroy: I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.
Jesus wants you to have a full and joyful life. Take time to do the things to be happy. In Proverbs 17:22 it says,
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
God didn’t intend for you to work, work and work your time away here on earth and wait to be happy when you are with him. He sacrificed his Son so you can be happy now.
I know all of you have responsibilities, but it’s important to have fun too and to make memories with those you love and care about. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes chapter three that there is a time for everything. In Ecclesiastes 3:4 it says,
a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
If you read on, in Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 it says,
I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil – this is the gift of God.
No, God doesn’t expect you to be lazy. There is a “time” to work (toil), but there is also a time to laugh and a time to dance! I would like to encourage you to read Ecclesiastes 3:1-13 on your own in your closet with God.
My husband really enjoys taking photographs in his spare time when he’s not riding Hillary. Riding Hillary and taking pictures brings him joy. Life isn’t about all work and no play. God never intended us to just work. WHAT BRINGS YOU JOY? Make it a point to do it and do it often.
I enjoy writing so much that it isn’t work to me. It brings me joy. What do I like to do when I’m not writing? I enjoy experimenting with the nice Canon Rebel my husband bought me. I enjoy singing Jingle Bells on my karaoke machine with my grandson (Jingle Bells is the only song he really knows or likes to sing). The season is irrelevant to him. My daughter and I have gone to get manicures and pedicures and painted pictures together. I enjoy going to the gun range with my husband, spending quality time with my son and daughter-in-law over lunch and having close fellowship with other women of God. I enjoy reading a good book, visiting with my aunt over coffee and giving my mom an offering of my time, whether we go shopping or just sit in conversation.
Ecclesiastes also says there is a time to plant and a time to uproot. It’s not just talking about physical labor. There is a time to “plant” seeds of happiness with those you love and care about. Think about this. When you go to be with the Lord, what do you want your loved ones to remember? My guess would not be how much you worked, but all the seeds of happiness you planted in their lives.
You plant seeds of happiness into the lives of your loved ones and, hopefully, they do the same for you. However, I believe the Lord wants me to stress something to you today. It’s something he has been teaching me.
Happiness is a gift of God. It is a responsibility of God. Don’t depend on any human being to make you happy. Your spouse and others can do nice things for you and make you happy in a moment of time, but your true, most fulfilling and infinite happiness comes from God. No one else is responsible for your happiness and it is unfair to expect another human being to “make you happy”. The responsibility that falls on you is to make a conscious choice to be happy and plant happiness into the lives of others. Focus on the blessings every day, not just the things that go wrong. CHOOSE to remember the kind words spoken to you instead of the harsh ones. Make a decision to have an abundant life. It’s the life that Jesus came to give you!