I drive by the gym and it’s teeming with people. Cars are spilling out of the parking lot into the street as I slow down to squeeze through the narrow lane.
It was quiet here a month ago. But at the start of the new year, everyone is anxious to get into shape. To change their ways. To start fresh.
I’m no different. I am desperate for change. Maybe not as much externally as on the inside, where I feel weary and hurried all too often. As I mentioned in my last post, I want to savor this year. To savor each moment. To savor my time with God.
This word SAVOR has echoed through my mind for weeks as I figure out how to live it. It’s been popping up everywhere. My sister’s teabag had “savor” on the tag. My fiancé’s ‘word of the day’ was savor. My younger daughter keeps asking me if I am savoring life. She read my post and sees my need to embrace life.
I’m working on savoring. This one word is changing me. More than I expected.
Last week, my daughter sprained her ankle and I took her to physical therapy. While I brought work to do as I waited, I decided instead to talk to her and the physical therapist, which was incredibly fun. Though it was a small choice, it showed me how often I miss those moments. In my desire to get more things done, I often don’t savor the present.
According to the ‘word of the day’ screensaver, SAVOR can be defined as: “to taste (good food or drink) and enjoy it completely.” Or to “enjoy or appreciate (something pleasant) completely, especially by dwelling on it.”
To savor something is to taste it. To enjoy it completely. To dwell on it.
I need to do all of those things.
To savor something, I must taste it first. I must experience it. I must be totally present to what’s in front of me.
Admittedly, I don’t do that well. I often multitask, so when I’m on the phone I might be glancing at email or opening my mail. When I’m waiting in the doctor’s office, I bring books and papers to read. When I’m watching a movie, I’m working on other things. I’m rarely idle.
Therein lies the problem.
For years I have made productivity almost a god, trying to cram as much as I can into every minute till there are none to spare. Sometimes it’s hard to breathe. It’s hard to enjoy the simple things in life because they aren’t “productive.” When productivity is the goal, those precious moments become almost a waste of time.
To savor also means to enjoy something completely.
Savoring involves delight. Pleasure. Relishing. There is no hint of duty in savoring.
My life tends to be much more focused on duty than on savoring. My schedule revolves around “ought to do” more than “want to do.” Duty looms large in the choices I make.
Of course, duty is important. But when life is all about duty, there is little room for delight. When a good day is defined by getting everything done on my to-do list, I leave little room for the important things – things that can’t be jotted down and crossed off a list.
That was never more evident than last week, when I was trying to spend some time with my older daughter who was home from college. She made a comment I have lingered over for days: “I do want to spend time with you, but sometimes I feel like our time together is just something you schedule in. You always have other things to do.”
What a sobering indictment. If I’m scheduling in one of the most precious relationships in my life as if it were a duty, what am I really enjoying?
Savoring means being fully present in relationships, but also in other parts of life as well. I can delight even in mundane things like fresh laundry, unexpected laughter, or hot coffee.
There are so many things to savor, to delight in, if I take the time to notice.
Lastly, savoring means dwelling on something.
To dwell on anything, I have to be willing to stay for a while. Not be in a hurry to do the next thing.
You can’t savor when you’re in a hurry.
“A well-known pastor was once asked what his most profound regret in life was: ‘Being in a hurry. Getting to the next thing without fully entering the thing in front of me. I cannot think of a single advantage I’ve ever gained from being in a hurry. But, a thousand broken and missed things, tens of thousands, lie in the wake of rushing… Through all that haste I thought I was ‘making up time’. It turns out I was ‘throwing it away.’”
I shudder when I think how much time I’ve thrown away.
Voskamp goes on to say, “Life is so urgent it necessitates living slow.”
I don’t live slow. But I’m learning. For me, it’s a minute-by-minute choice.
Savoring, living slow, delighting- they are part of a conscious mindset I’m trying to adopt.
It all starts with savoring God. When it seems like everything is urgent and hundreds of things need my attention, I need to stop, lean into Him, and ask Him what’s best.
In the dark hours of each morning, I’m asking God to help me savor. To open my eyes to appreciate what’s in front of me. To not be in such a hurry that I miss what’s most important.
That is the only way I know that I can savor in the midst of what feels like chaos.
Savoring God involves being fully present with Him. Experiencing Him. Being willing to taste and see that He is good. Not only in the sacred time set aside to be alone with Him, but in every other minute as well. He is in every breath, every whisper, every moment.
When I lean into Him, practice His presence, pay attention to His voice, then everything else falls into place. Only then am I able to taste and savor the good things He gives me.
Savoring Jesus is also delighting in Him. I first learned from John Piper that God is not after our duty; He wants our delight. And if we are delighted in Him, obedience follows- not a grudging lifeless sense of duty but a life-giving desire to please Him. And in that He is most glorified.
Jesus is not something I need to check off on my to-do-list and go on with my day. He is not an obligation; He is life. And the more time I spend with Him, the more spacious my life feels. Sitting unhurried with God, letting Him fill me, is the best way to savor Him.
And, paradoxically, when I am filled to the full, I have more space than ever before.