This question is rather personal for me, so please bare with me as I do my best to state it clearly.
I’ve grown up my entire life in the Church. I cannot recall a day in my life not being aware of God and loving him. I grew up hearing the Bible and many of the classic 20th century works. I appreciate all of it.
What I have found, however, is that my heart leans towards asceticism and stoicism. I tend to think in terms of conviction: “I think it would be good to go help this person”. Furthermore, I have a propensity towards self-sacrifice, seeking first to take care of those around me and make sure they have what they need before tending to my own desires.
In a way, I think much of that is good. Where it starts to get tricky for me is that the counterpart to this feels underdeveloped. It can be very difficult for me to communicate my own desires or to even be aware of what those desires are! I know that it’s important for me to be aware of my own needs and to communicate my needs, but when it comes to simple desires (not sinful ones) I feel strangely at a loss.
One last point of clarification: I understand that all desires can turn to sin, as C.S. Lewis so poignantly described in Screwtape Letters the exaggeration of a desire perverts itself — a natural desire for food turns to gluttony, and so forth. I’m not talking about this here. I’m talking about desires and pleasures in their purest form, like the Lord taking a walk through his grand garden I believe he did so (at least in part) to enjoy his creation.
So here’s my question: Where is God in the pleasures of life? I believe God made us to enjoy life, and not merely to make sure everyone else around us is enjoying it. There’s nothing wrong with wanting an ice cream cone on a hot summer day. What scriptures do we see of God encouraging this sort of thing? I’ve heard that God desires to join us in this; where do we see this in scripture? I want to grow in understanding of God’s perspective on the wonderful desires and pleasures he himself baked into life.
Thank you! Please feel free to ask me any further questions of clarification. I’m hoping to keep this discussion strongly in scripture and to avoid getting too heady.