If you’ve attended The Global Leadership Summit, Shauna Niequist is no stranger to you. Shauna is the author of Cold Tangerines,Bittersweet, and Bread & Wine. Her newest project, a 365-day devotional called Savor, released in March. She is married to Aaron, and they have two wild & silly & darling boys, Henry & Mac. They live outside Chicago, where Aaron leads The Practice and is recording a project called A New Liturgy. Shauna also writes for the Storyline Blog, and for IF:Table, and she is a guest teacher at Willow Creek Community Church.
Below is an excerpt from Shauna’s new book – it’s a timely challenge for all of us to savor the day. And, be sure to enter below to win a copy of Savor!
It seems like I keep having the same conversation over and over—at preschool pick up, at coffee with girlfriends, around the table at our small group gathering. It’s about being busy, about being tired, about wishing we could find more hours in a day, more days in a week. We’re aching for a way of living that feels rich instead of one that runs us ragged, longing for connection instead of competition, yearning to dwell deeply in prayer instead of racing through the days.
What I want to do is savor this life—my life, my children, my community, this gorgeous world God created. That’s what we all want, right? To soak up the goodness all around us, to be aware of holy fingerprints everywhere, to walk through each day expecting and noticing those glints and shimmers of the divine right in the daily—in a hug, a tomato sandwich, a quiet moment, a text from someone we love.
That’s what I want, and so often I miss it. I lay in bed at night frustrated with myself that I allowed the minor annoyances of life to obscure the rich melody underneath it. I rush and push and don’t even see the beauty all around me. I let my fear about the unknowns in our future or my desire to control everything and everyone around me cover over the deep beauty and grace and peace that are playing like a drumbeat under everything.
I’m trying to learn how to pay attention, to clear away space and noise, and to invite you to hear the drumbeat, too. God’s always speaking, always. He’s always moving, always present, always creating, always healing. The trick, at least for me, is paying attention. The trick is savoring.
I tend to live in my head—analyzing every word of that last conversation, regretting what I did, anticipating what’s coming, worrying about what could go wrong. Whole plot lines unfold—beginning, middle, end—in the time it takes me to brush my teeth or for the toast to pop up out of the toaster.
I’m trying to get out of my head. And I’m trying to get right down into the raw soil of my own life. Because it’s happening whether I decide to notice or not. These children are growing taller each day. I peeked in at Henry last night, and it seemed his legs stretched all the way down his bed, as though he’s a teenager and not a seven-year-old.
Things will not always be as they are now—there will be new things, other things, good things. But I don’t want to miss this, this right now, this sacred everyday. And I don’t want to only see the surface. I want to see the depths—the work of God all around me, in conversation and prayer and silence and music. I want to connect with the God who made me from dust, on purpose and for a purpose. I want to walk through my days in a warm conversation through prayer, aware as I walk that he walks with me, that as I speak, he hears me, that as I rest, he carries me.
I forget so easily that there’s a bigger picture. I’m easily seduced by the bustle of the day—lunch and laundry, deadlines and dinnertime. I forget that it’s all held together by a holy, loving God, and that we get to be his partners in restoration and healing. I forget that there’s more than I see, more than I can dream.
When I begin the day in prayer, I find that it’s easier to continue that way. When I begin the day with God’s word, with silence, with a grounding sense of his love for me, then I find it’s easier to bring those things with me throughout the day, and it’s harder for me to locate them if I didn’t pause with them at the start.
So let’s begin together. Let’s clear away space together, trusting that what we’ll find in even small moments of prayer and silence will transform us. Let’s savor this day, the beauty of the world God made, the richness of family and friendship, the good gifts of creativity and work. All the things that populate our days are worth savoring. Let’s walk together.