Simple Pleasures … Living Appreciatively, Jay Christianson

“…giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,” (Ephesians 5:20 CSB, Italics Author)

As I was driving the other day, I realized that every traffic light I encountered was green. Green! Green means “go.” Green means unimpeded, uninterrupted, and undeniably pleasurable. Yeah, it’s a simple thing, but to someone who tends to be impatient behind the wheel, all green lights to my destination are a simple pleasure.

Here’s another simple pleasure. Waking up refreshed a little earlier than usual and lying in bed, listening to the birds beginning their dawn chorus.

Or the smell of fruit tree blooms wafting through the air on a temperate late spring evening.

Or a baby’s breath on your neck as they sleep warmly and securely on your shoulder.

Or looking at a freshly mopped floor.

There is something deeply enjoyable in the unexpected and largely unnoticed simple things of life. They are there, all around us. We’re usually too busy or consumed by the “important” things of life to appreciate them, much to our great loss.

A few generations back, the popular phrase was, “Stop and smell the roses.” That requires two things.

First, stop. Deliberately stop. Break out of the traffic of the moment and park on the side.

Second, partake in the moment. Tune your God-given senses to the remarkable God-given world around you. Then, even in the mundane things of life, we begin to appreciate the gems of simple pleasures sparkling all around us.

Simple pleasures are those little things that we notice at unexpected times or in moments when we deliberately turn our attention from the things that choke our minds and senses. Simple pleasures are those little moments that arouse pleasant sensations or draw up warm memories. Simple pleasures are good.

Simple pleasures like cars that start when I want them to. A freshly made bed with new linens. Thunder. The smell of a good cigar (some may reject that, but I’ll let them be wrong). And yes, green traffic lights. Simple things, all.

I confess I don’t look for them often enough even though they are all around me. Either my distraction makes me unappreciative or my lack of appreciation makes me unaware of the simple pleasures.

Simple pleasures to me are often sensory delights that connect me to the world God has given us and raise my appreciation of what He has done. Subsequently, it raises my appreciation for who He is. Finally, that appreciation often elicits a whisper of thanks to Him.

Scripture encourages us to live a life of giving thanks to the Lord. Not just occasionally, but constantly. To do so requires an act of the will. David modeled this when he wrote, “I will praise God’s name with song and exalt Him with thanksgiving” (Psalm 69:30). To achieve that we need to actively and willfully look for things about which we can thank God.

To give “thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” is quite the challenge! Imagine what it would be like if we all did that together.

And thus, looking for simple pleasures.

This fun exercise has caused me to live more appreciatively. And that appreciation has fueled an increased thankfulness to the One who deserves all thanks and praise.

Look for simple pleasures throughout the day, every day. Dwell on them. And as appreciation rises from within, let it out with thanks to our Heavenly Father who has done all things well.

As we train ourselves to look for the simple pleasures of life, we will begin to live appreciatively.

So, take a moment. Stop right now. What simple thing brings you pleasure right now?

And give thanks.


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