Learning to Savor

Savor the moment

Enjoy the journey

Stop and smell the roses

Capture the fluffy moments

These are simple phrases that are not always so simple to live out in our day-to-day lives.

I find myself in a season of constant change, transition and growth. We are home on furlough, living stateside for only one year. We find ourselves jumping back into our American life after just starting to feel settled in our lives overseas. This new season has been challenging and exhausting.

Trying to enjoy the sights, tastes and sounds around us all while knowing we can’t get too attached because this too shall pass. Soon, we will find ourselves back in the desert of West Africa with no Starbucks, Target, beautifully green parks or automatic minivan.

The constant motion of our lives means looking ahead, thinking through, making plans, and continuously checking off to-do list boxes.  It means being one step ahead of something you can’t really know, planning for things without all the details and making decisions based on incomplete information.

This overseas, transitional life is full of daily battles. Battles to stay on top of a plethora of tasks, places, people and situations. Battles to not tire of the process, stay resilient and find contentment in the crazy. Battles to keep going when we don’t even know where the path leads. Battles against the busy schedules and tight budgets and overwhelming phone call lists. Battles of language, culture and constant learning. Battling disappointment and fear.

Life gets going and stopping to enjoy it isn’t always the easiest thing to do.

This is all part of our lives as women working and living overseas.

But, savor the moment? Enjoy the journey?

I often don’t have time to see the roses let alone smell them! Savoring does not come naturally to me. So many times, my brain is so full of things to do, places to go, events to plan, people to talk to, things to remember that I can’t even begin to stop, savor or enjoy.

Yet, beneath it all, there is a deep desire to enjoy, to take hold of this life and savor the moments of my days. I want to find joy and savor the sweetness of God’s amazing blessings and His beautiful creation. I want to choose to savor and remember.

While praying about this post and contemplating how to put what I’m learning into words, I again turned to my dictionary for the word savor.

In the very last part of the definition it says, “to give oneself to the enjoyment of.”

To give oneself.

Savor and give. I love how that blends them together in a way that I can understand.

Savor means giving ourselves to the enjoyment of this moment, this season, this time.

To give ourselves over to smelling the roses, sipping the tea, chatting with a friend.

Allowing ourselves to find joy, feel joy and live joyously. To really, truly enjoy, engage, plug in, participate and make memories.

How is God helping me learn these truths?

1} Make time to savor. Make time to give yourself over to the things going on around you. Put time on the schedule to just savor your family, the restaurant, the park, a morning coffee time with a friend. Intentionally make time to savor and enjoy.

2} Take time to savor. Don’t just make time and then hurry it up to get to the next thing on your list. Slow down. Take the time you need to build memories. Breathe it in. Soak it up. Savor every bit of what you are experiencing.

3} Allow yourself to let go. Be able to let go of things that keep you from savoring the moment, the day, the event. Whether it is the distraction of your phone, the busyness of the field, outside demands or expectations, figure out how to let go of those things for a time so you can give yourself fully to savoring.

4} Allow yourself to savor even when you can’t let go. Let’s face it… we can’t always just let go and decide to take some time. The bigger challenge comes in learning to savor and enjoy even when life is busy, distracting and overwhelming. Learning to savor a chat with a friend or a good book or an afternoon latte while planning a move, working on a big project or filling out mountains of paperwork. Enjoying, giving ourselves in the midst is a daily decision to choose a lifestyle of savoring.

5} Think ahead. This isn’t an end of the day decision to enjoy what has already happened. Think ahead. Plan for savoring. Determine, purpose and intend to give yourself fully to the day, whatever the day might hold. Plan to savor, enjoy and engage. Each morning, remind yourself to be present for that day.

6} Don’t jump ahead. Don’t borrow from tomorrow. Savor today. Tell yourself daily to make time, take time and allow yourself to savor this moment without already living in the next.

When savoring doesn’t come naturally, putting these things into practice helps me savor and enjoy.

Finding joy and strength all along the way.

“Go and enjoy… for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

What do you do to savor the moment and enjoy the journey? How is God helping you learn this lesson of savoring and enjoying? Is it hard to give yourself over to the enjoyment of where you are right now?

8 Comments

  1. Michele July 9, 2017

    I agree that furlough can be so hard to savor because all the things we enjoy are so short-term, and we know we have to give them up soon… but I guess maybe that’s all the more reason to savor them? I am definitely still learning on this one, but I’ve found that making time to savor God- sabbath days and moments of simple meditation- or the ‘centering prayer’ we learned in the VA retreat, really help me come back to savoring moments throughout the busyness. I’m also working at giving myself more margin so that I will remember to savor. This is something I’ve really been trying to get intentional about this year, so I’m excited for the discussion on it here this week. Thanks for your thoughts!

    1. Jenilee July 10, 2017

      Yes, centering prayer is a wonderful tool to help us savor!

  2. Laura July 9, 2017

    Jenilee,
    Thank you for these reminders/tips for savoring life. I find myself struggling with not allowing my lists to take over my mind, instead of enjoying all the little, meaningful aspects of life.

    1. Jenilee July 10, 2017

      oh those lists! They do tend to take over 🙂 I’m with you in wanting to enjoy the little, meaningful parts of our lives.

  3. Grace L July 10, 2017

    Thank you, Jenilee, for your post. We are just starting a 3 month furlough and our lives are still full of lists of things to do, all the while staying in touch with our colleagues back in Asia. As it turns out, we are at a mountain retreat house for a couple of days and I needed this reminder to stop and savor the moments and the place and the people we are with.

    1. Jenilee July 10, 2017

      I hope you have an amazing, restful and savored time at the retreat house. Enjoy every minute!

  4. Elizabeth July 11, 2017

    There is nothing profound or deep about this, but in the last year when our oldest son started Grade 11 it gave me a jolt that I needed to start savouring the moments of motherhood and my children. I’ve always known in my head how quickly it would pass and, in theory, thought I was savouring it, but I wasn’t really. Faced with the reality that we will be starting a new phase of life soon and our family might be split between continents, I’m savouring moments like I never have before. I’ve decided I can live with an unmopped floor or dusty bookshelves (which doesn’t come naturally to me) if it means taking the time to chat with our oldest teenage sons, give our 13 year old a backscrattch, or play a game with our 11 year old.
    Enjoyed the article and other readers’ comments too. Thanks!

  5. Casual Mid-Summer Friday | Paracletos July 13, 2017

    […] in the moment takes practice. These thoughts from Jenilee Goodwin are just equally applicable to life on the field, life in transition, and life […]

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