What Comes Next? Why It's Better to Savor Instead of Strive

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

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

We humans are an ambitious lot. We set goals, create career maps, and plot the path of our families, faith, and futures. We eye the success of our neighbors and covet their homes and their marriages. If one of our children reaches a major milestone, the flush of success warms our heart until we think about how far they still have to go. That home improvement project? The iPhone camera glow barely fades before we’re planning the next one. And that sweet thing our husband did? It gets lost in the mental list of Yeah, but I wish he’d . . . . 

We’re always eyeing the next thing 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 set the next one. We fail to let ourselves to enjoy the fullness of the moment. 

If you feel like you spend more of your day 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. Relish the moment.
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, relishing the moment, 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 share your thoughts.

I'm excited to share "6 Reasons Homeschool Moms Quit and How to Avoid Them" with the lovely ladies of Herald 5 this evening, Monday, October 2, at 7 pm. If you're a homeschooling mom in need of encouragement, and you live within driving distance of Columbia, please join us.
Location: Three Rivers Baptist Church's LifeHouse building, 7452 Broad River Rd., Irmo, SC 

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