Friday, October 27, 2017

Why It's Better for Writers to Savor than to Strive


by Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2


“I’m four now,” my granddaughter announced as she came down the stairs on her birthday. “What comes next?”

Oh, I am so like our little Lauren. And you are too.

We writers are an ambitious lot. We set word count goals, create a career map, and plot the rise of our first Amazon bestseller. And our second. And our third.

On a smaller scale, we eye the success of our writing neighbors and covet their accolades, contracts, and social media presence. If a publisher buys our article, the flush of acceptance warms us until we turn the page in The Christian Writers Market Guide and discover a new periodical. That First Pages award? The iPhone camera glow has barely faded before, intoxicated with success, we’re planning our next contest entry.

We’re always eyeing the next article, the next proposal, and the next conference without stopping to savor the good gifts God has placed in front of us. Today. Right now.

Like my granddaughter, we barely reach one goal before we’re setting the next one. We fail to allow ourselves to enjoy the fullness of the moment.

If you feel like you spend more of your life striving instead of savoring, here are three tips to help you.

1. Cultivate mindfulness.
Psychology Today defines mindfulness as “a state of active, open attention on the present. . . . Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to your current experience, rather than dwelling on the past or anticipating the future.”

Although Buddism, Taoism, and a number of other religions make mindfulness a foundational pillar, the concept originates with the God of the Bible. Listen to how the psalmist prays in Psalm 90:12: “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

2. Learn to savor.
The Psalmist understood this when he penned the challenge, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” When we relish and enjoy what’s happening right here, right now, we begin to experience an increase in positive emotions like happiness, joy, and contentment and a decrease in negative ones.

3. Practice gratitude.
The Fox News health article, “Research Shows Grateful People Are Healthier,” says, “A growing body of research suggests that maintaining an attitude of gratitude can improve psychological, emotional and physical well-being. Adults who frequently feel grateful have more energy, more optimism, more social connections and more happiness than those who do not, according to studies conducted over the past decade. They're also less likely to be depressed, envious, greedy or alcoholics. They earn more money, sleep more soundly, exercise more regularly and have greater resistance to viral infections.”

Perhaps this is why 1 Thessalonians 5:18 reminds us, “In everything give thanks.”

There’s nothing wrong with setting goals and being ambitious, but if you find yourself striving and never satisfied, maybe it’s time to rethink your attitude. Cultivating mindfulness, learning to savor, and practicing gratitude can help you live fully in the goodness of God today.

This is the day the Lord has made,” the psalmist exhorts us. “We will be glad and rejoice in it.”


Now it’s your turn. Is it hard for you to find the balance between living in the moment and planning for the future? What helps you savor instead of strive? Leave a comment below and join the conversation.

TWEETABLE

Lori Hatcher is the editor of Reach Out, Columbia magazine and the author of two devotional books, Hungry for God … Starving for Time, Five-Minute Devotions for Busy Women and  Joy in the Journey – Encouragement for Homeschooling Moms. A blogger, writing instructor, and inspirational speaker, her goal is to help women connect with God in the craziness of life You’ll find her pondering the marvelous and the mundane on her blog, Hungry for God. . . Starving for Time . Connect with her on FacebookTwitter (@LoriHatcher2), or Pinterest (Hungry for God).

5 comments:

  1. Ms. Lori. Thank you so much for the sage wisdom! One of my life verses is Philippians 3:14, yet years ago I learned that if I spend all my time "... pressing towards the goal..." I never have the time to live out Psalm 34:8 and savor the journey. God bless for reminding us all how important it is to enjoy the journey of writing, and life.

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    1. You're right, Jim, finding the balance in any aspect of life is HARD. Robertson McQuilkin, former president of Columbia Bible College said, "It's easier to live in a consistent extreme than to live in the center of biblical tension." Yet in that tension is God's best. And so we savor and strive, strive and savor. May God bless you as you press on.

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  2. Savor, a word I don't use often, but I like it. As a natural striver, I have to purposely practice remembering all the good, and that God never needs me to overwork, stress, miss the Sabbath, etc.
    I'm grateful for people in my life that remind me to slow down and savor.

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    1. You're absolutely right, Jennifer. The Mary/Martha war that often seems so lopsided. 'Tis a wise one who finds the balance. May God bless us with wisdom to know when to slow down and when to speed up :) Thanks for chiming in today.

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