“How long does it take your soul to realize that your life is full? The slower the living, the greater the sense of fullness and satisfaction.”
The moments are full of promise, ripe with life. Yet I choose how to spend the moments. Am I hurrying from one thing to the next, eager to check things off my to-do list before I allow myself to enjoy what awaits at the end of the chores and responsibilities? For far too long, I have been ruled by expectations and my own self-imposed parameters. It’s been like a personal reward system. If I can just accomplish a, b, and c, then I will allow myself to enjoy this, that, or the other.
What happens, unbeknowingly, is that the little reward system continues to be pushed forward further and further into the future. The day is heavy with responsibilities, errands, and chores, and by the time the sun has set in the western sky, I think to myself, “I will get to enjoy the day tomorrow then.” But tomorrow brings with it its own responsibilities, expectations, errands, and chores, and the cycle repeats.
Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Delighting in something is a positive experience; it is not sacrificial. It is not a woe-is-me scenario. When I am delighting in Jesus, my heart is aglow within me, and I am certain it delights Jesus when I find my delight in Him. I have found that I am most delighted in Jesus in the little things, in those things that I know He did just for me and my pleasure and enjoyment.
While I recognize that cell phones are somewhat of a necessity in our modern times, I do not especially enjoy them. In fact, most days I hate them. People keep their faces glued to them and have lost the art of fully engaging in the moment. Time is not guaranteed to us. Tomorrow is not certain. Maybe it’s because I am staring at the reality that there will only one of my children remaining at home in just a few short months or maybe it’s because I feel time is slowly fading away and slipping past me. But, I don’t want to miss the moments. Not one of them. How much of life is lost and how much beauty is missed because our faces can’t be severed from the almighty cell phone screen? We have forgotten how to just be rather than be entertained. We have learned to stay so distracted that we can hardly be alone with our own thoughts, much less quiet ourselves enough in the presence of God to hear His still small voice within us that matters more than anything going on around us. I am guilty of this but have become hyper-aware of it, and I am ready for something new. I am ready to set down my phone and look up, look around, and fully engage in life around me.
Each week, as a fresh one begins, I take time to reflect on where I am and consider what God may want me to focus on, to be aware of, or specific ways to live intentionally in the coming week. This week, I have decided to sit outside on my front porch in my rocking chair for at least fifteen minutes a day. Don’t misunderstand me: I love the outdoors. I run nearly every day during the week, and my dogs get a nice, long walk each day as well. I escape into the mountains almost every chance I get, especially during the month of October. So it’s not like I am never outside. Yet, I am often outside doing something or being active.
Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” Never is that more real than when I take time in nature and settle myself before Him. Creation speaks of His artistic mastery. Sunsets and sunrises are magnificent to behold. Clouds in the October sky are vibrant and the mountains look alive set against them. The wind whispering through the trees, as leaves make their descent to the ground below. Chirping birds, racing chipmunks, and sassy squirrels all seem to be extra busy this time of year. Crisp fall days incite a playful friskiness in my pups. As I sat on my front porch rocker this evening, I beheld all of it. My dogs chasing each other at full speed through the yard, completely unencumbered. My hot, steaming mug of apple cider held tightly within my palms to warm me. Fifteen minutes became thirty because my surroundings testified to the glory and majesty of my heavenly Father, and it was breathtaking. My heart rejoiced, and my soul was satiated in the goodness of God, right here, in the land of the living. My phone remained on the kitchen counter, where it belonged. Nothing on that device could ever compare to the wonder of my front porch.
James 1:17 states, “Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.” As I sat there, totally captivated by the scene around me, Jesus was right there with me. And He was showing me that by delighting in His gifts, I was delighting in Him. Every single thing, from the falling leaves to the warm cider to the carefree playfulness of my dogs, was a gift from Him to me. He is so very good. He is so very kind. He is so very personal. And He is so very intimate. My heart soared, and I knew this savoring of the moment was synonymous with unfettered joy.
Though the days of travel baseball with my oldest son have drawn to a close, the memories we have made through the years are gifts from the Father. One of our final trips was to the coast in South Carolina. During that trip, I snapped the picture that is posted at the top of the page. The sun’s rays landed just right opposite the ocean, as the waves gently kissed the shoreline. We walked for miles that evening, talking and being present and fully engaged with each other. Each moment a gift. I see the glory of God in that picture, and His gift to me is forever captured. I will never forget that evening with my son nor the goodness of God in granting us those stolen, special, and sacred moments together.
As I came back inside from my front porch sitting, I felt a settled calmness and peace within me. Joy and even happiness filled my heart. I expect that my fifteen minutes of intentional sitting will become the most anticipated part of my every day. I dare you to try it. No distractions. No phones. No books. Just you and God’s creation around you.