Choosing to gulp, not sip

I stood transfixed on the lanai, watching a river otter cavort on the opposite bank of the small pond behind my rented condo. It rolled on its back in the grass, stood up, then threw itself down and rolled some more before finally slinking back into the water and swimming away.

Now I don’t know if otters feel joy; I kind of doubt it. For all I know, its back was itching and that’s how otters scratch. But that creature was so playful and unguarded, so totally in the moment, I couldn’t help but smile.

32 Curious DolphinI’ve felt the same pleasure watching dolphins frolic alongside a boat or kayak. They leap out of the water with those ubiquitous grins and seem for all the world to be truly enjoying themselves. Are they? I don’t know, but something about them makes my spirit soar. 

We humans learn to curb that kind of behavior in ourselves early on. We find out that if we eat the ice cream too fast, we’ll get a “brain freeze”, if we climb too high in the tree, we’ll fall. We learn to sip our coffee so we don’t burn our mouths and to sing with a little less gusto so no one laughs. We tamp down our enthusiasm for a variety of reasons.

Often we “go easy” out of necessity, and that’s understandable. A friend tells me in his family there was always an unwritten “FHB” rule when company stayed for dinner: Family Hold Back, i.e., don’t pig out or there won’t be enough for our guests. Watch your portions, watch your manners.

Do you ever wish there was something you could throw yourself into without reservation? You know, do the otter thing or the dolphin thing? A thrill you could pursue without worrying about getting hurt or humiliated; deliciousness you wouldn’t have to sip and skimp on, but instead just gulp it down, knowing it would never run out?

If we let it, that can describe our experience of God. I believe when we look for His hand in everything and accept our very lives as a gift from Him, we are enjoying – even “consuming” – Him in a uniquely helpful way. When we see all things as coming from Him and trust that His purpose is always to grow us, not to harm us, we find ourselves filled up with Him and our adoration naturally overflows.

There’s a line in the song “Blessed Be Your Name” that says, “Every blessing You pour out I’ll turn back to praise. And when the darkness closes in, Lord, still I will say: Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

When we accept the goodness and faithfulness of God, and choose to bless His name – even in the dark times – He gives us an unfailing portion of Himself. We can know that He will nourish and protect us and that the joy He has prepared for us has no limits.

I choose that.


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About Diane Rivers

Diane is a native Floridian whose career as an FBI Agent got her transferred to the North. She's retired from that gig now and "repurposed" as a freelance writer, author, and sometimes poet who blogs about the bumpy, bone-jostling ride of her “workaround” life. She loves Jesus, her family, black coffee, kayaking, biking, and hiking, and she looks forward to eternity with the One who will make all things beautiful. (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

5 thoughts on “Choosing to gulp, not sip”

  1. I am so glad you see this too. God is teaching so many these very principles of adoring Him and praising Him – even in the bad times – because He works them all out for our good. Blessings, kat

  2. I could be wrong, but i’m going to go with the idea that all of God’s creatures feel joy. it seems that anything that can bring us that much joy can only do it infectiously! Thanks for sharing this experience.

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