"God is glorified not only by his glory’s being seen, but by its being rejoiced in." ~ Jonathon Edwards
Does your daily life mimic a juggler trying to keep multiple plates spinning? Our lives seem busier with each passing year. We take blessings for granted and become focused on our problems. We eventually lose our joy. Our marriages wither under negativity, and we find little time or reason to praise God.
We become happier, our marriages improve, and we give more praise to God when we intentionally savor every moment.
What does it mean to “savor every moment?” When we savor something, we take take time to delight in it. We appreciate it as a gift. We notice its significance. When we focus on the good and happy bits of our lives, we become happier. When we become happier, we become more pleasant; we become someone with whom others enjoy spending time. When we focus on good gifts, we become more thankful to God as the giver of good gifts. To savor every moment means being grateful for blessings found in each and every moment.
We begin this journey when we practice refocusing from challenges to blessings. Here are five exercises that will help our focus. We need to SMILE:
There are, of course, limits to counting our blessings. Please understand that good habits is not a cure for significant depression. Nor will looking for the good in our spouses heal abusive relationships or change an abuser's behavior. Such case require help from a qualified, Christian professional. Yet for many circumstances, we can choose to affirm what we have, rather than what we lack.
God gave us this world. It is ours to savor and enjoy as a gift from our Creator. We might relax into our soft bed with an “Ahhhhh.” Some will delight in the first sip of good coffee, or a bite of a great meal. Instead of hurrying past life, lets consider all we can enjoy. Consider the softness of rose petals. The colors of fall. The glitter of fresh snow. Every time we practice paying attention to enjoy the world around us, we increase our gratitude. And we praise our God.
God gives each of us gifts. He gives us talents and purposes (1 Corinthians 12:4-31; 1 Peter 4:10-11). Adam named all the animals (Genesis 2:19-20). Was Adam stressed about finding the right name for every single animal? I imagine he felt purpose because God entrusted him with the job. I also imagine he savored the moments--taking the time to laugh at monkeys’ antics and feeling awe watching a jaguar run. I imagine he truly savored spending that time with God.
What are your talents and passions? What is your work? Paul said, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the LORD Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17, NIV). When we use his gifts, we bless others and are blessed in return.
James wrote, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds” (James 1:2, NIV). That sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? At the very least, it sounds almost impossible, but it isn’t. We can identify silver linings with intentionality, practice, and faith. Finding and focusing on any bit of goodness in hard times brings reason and depth in times of trouble. At the very least, we can appreciate that any of our trials will help us grow closer to God, if we let them. King David wrote, “Those who look to [God] for help will be radiant with joy….Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!” (Psalm 34:5, 8).
Sometimes we need to refocus on the good in the people in our lives. We struggle with this when we focus elsewhere—like keeping our plates spinning or staring into our storms. Many marriages struggle because the spouses can no longer see—or even remember—anything good in the partner. When did we last delight in our spouses? What was it that made us choose them in the first place? We see past problems much easier when we see more of the blessings and thank God for the gift of friendship and love.
We miss the point when we enjoy the good gifts without thanking the Giver. Paul said, “Finally, my friends, keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. Don’t ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8, CEV). The more criteria our thoughts meet, the better off we are. The only focus that meets all the criteria? God himself.
So practice your SMILE. Remember we travel a life journey; don’t expect perfection in a day, or even a week, or month, or year. It’s important to not give up or shame ourselves because we can’t find a silver lining. Be careful to not slip into idolatry. Keep your focus on the Giver, while delighting in his gifts.
Become happier, improve relationships, and give praise to God by intentionally savoring every moment.
Rev. Dr. Rob Toornstra
Dr. Robert Ritzema