You may have noticed by now that my favorite books, quotes, songs, articles, and blog posts all have to do with finding deeper joy and thankfulness in everyday life, and learning how to enjoy ordinary moments now, while we have them.
I came across yet another quote I loved while reading Naked Spirituality last night. McLaren was describing how we can truly appreciate the gifts God gives us on a daily basis:
This day. This kiss. This view. This meal, this taste, this breath, this moment, this song. Instead of letting these treasures pass by as if they were nothing or as if we were unconscious of their beauty and wonder, we pause and savor them, and we lift our joy and appreciation up to God in gratitude. Because if God created these wonders, and if God created us with the capacity to enjoy them, what could be better than to enjoy them with God? Isn’t that what gratitude is, in its purest sense, joining God in the enjoyment of the goodness of creation — the goodness that was celebrated in the first sentences of the book of Genesis, and the goodness that surrounds us now, in this, and this, and this, again and again?
Life gets busy, for everybody. But every time I read a quote like that, I want to slow it all down, to truly notice and appreciate life. There are probably many ways of doing this, but for me, right now, this is how I’m choosing to be intentional:
A Gratitude Journal.
It’s changing me. It’s growing my ability to choose my thoughts. I’m up to #1440, and I hope I can keep going for the rest of my life.
There are many nights when I don’t feel like doing it, and I don’t think I’ll be able to come up with very many things to write down for the day. But time after time, blessings come to mind. I try to do at least five, but most of the time I can think of ten or more. What if I had missed them? What if I had forgotten to notice, and give thanks?
Going on a photo-shooting spree is another habit that forces me to slow down and notice things. This is another example of how I think I won’t be able to find anything worth noticing, but I am always, always surprised.
Every time I take my camera, and go get lost outside somewhere, I come back feeling refreshed and focused on what truly matters. I know what it is to enjoy God’s creation with Him.
Living in the Moment.
My massage therapist always has piles of New Age-type magazines sitting around in the waiting room. At first I ignored them, but then I started to notice that each one usually has an article about slowing down, being fully present. They’re not written from a spiritual perspective, but I believe that all of us are created with the ability to choose what we think about. The Bible tells us to take every thought captive, and it also tells us to only worry about today.
Learning to block out worries and concerns about the future, and slowing down my thoughts so that I can be fully present in this day has brought me closer to Jesus, even if some of those techniques did not come from spiritual places.;)
These are the ways I am choosing to savor the moment, and learning to thank God for the gifts He is giving me each day.
So I finished writing this, and then I went over to Ann Voskamp’s blog to read what she had to say for the day. Guess what it was – How to Focus in an Age of Distraction!! Such a fantastic read – you should definitely check it out!