Delight, Discernment, and Decision-making, Part Two

As we kicked off this series last week, Dan Allender reminded us of the need for an intentional frame that guides how we approach decisions—both large and small—and offered the category of delight as a potential north star. This week, with some help from Marie Kondo and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Dan challenges us to look at the noise and clutter in our lives that might drown out the voice of delight.

Dan: “Do we actually allow our hearts to have a discernment process about what we keep, what we buy, what we do, that’s built out of the wisdom of delight?”

Dan shares about his own “awful and absolutely liberating” experience of organizing and decluttering his bookshelves over the Christmas break, and he connects Kondo’s assertion that “tidying must start with discarding” with the core spiritual principle of surrender. He then turns to the crucial relationship between delight and wisdom, and the conviction that cultivating delight—which is so much more than easy, passing pleasure—facilitates growth in wisdom.

Dan: “We have clutter because we have not been willing to discard. And we don’t discard because either fear or some degree of entitlement. Whenever our hearts are bound to something other than beauty, honor, goodness, then we will not be captured by the very work of delight.”

Wisdom is created by God to bring delight to others as well as delight to ourselves.

Turning to Scripture, Dan reminds us that the nature of wisdom comes back to delighting in the word of God; hearing the voice of God allows us to enter into the world with wisdom and with a path to take that creates pleasure for ourselves and others. What is the noise and clutter that keeps you from hearing that voice, from hearing the word of God spoken in surprising places?

Dan: “Being captured by delight does more than rescue, it does more than provide, it does more than bring the presence of God. […] A beauty brought to my life is a beauty that I wish to bring to others.”

Unlike pleasure, indulgence, or entitlement, true delight is marked by a turn toward others. When our hearts are captured by delight, the vitality in our hearts cannot help but overflow and invite others in. Delight fosters an active participation in goodness that is utterly contagious, because it is marked by whole-hearted, embodied expressions of awe and gratitude

Dan: “What I should be keeping is that which brings delight. And what should I be discarding? That which no longer has a place, no longer brings delight, does not bring a sense of wonder and awe.”