Slow down, savor life

By Gerry Lewis | Published Saturday, June 2, 2018

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Here is a quick quiz:

Question 1: When you are not eating at home, what is the restaurant that you frequent the most?

Question 2: When you have time to choose, what is your favorite restaurant?

Question 3: What is the best meal you’ve ever eaten?

Question 4: Why did you answer question 3 the way you did?

I suspect the time it took you to answer the questions increased with each subsequent question and that many of you didn’t have an answer for questions 3 or 4.

Why is that? I think it is because, whether it is a conscious choice or not, we treat food like fuel. We eat either because our stomach tells us we are hungry or because the clock says it’s meal time. Sure, we want it to taste good. But, at best, it’s a pleasant pause so that we can get on about our business.

Date night is dinner out plus something. The meal is something we do so we can enjoy the other activities without feeling “hangry.”

One of my friends recently went on a cruise and told me about a seven-course meal that took three hours. Are you kidding me? You’re on a cruise ship. Think of all the things you could have done in three hours, if you had just made a quick pass through the buffet.

But, that’s really the point. Sometimes the best things we can do in life can’t be rushed.

That’s what I want to highlight in this final offering in this five-part series about making sense out of life through re-engaging our senses.

This week’s focus: Don’t just taste; take time to savor.

Perhaps this is the idea the Psalmist had in mind when he wrote, “O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.” (Psalm 34:8)

God gave us many amazing gifts. One of them is taste buds. We miss the full blessing of them when we slam down a meal on the way to something else. Some flavors are subtle and slow to unfold and can only be experienced by staying in the mouth for a few extra seconds.

In many ways, my sabbatical, which wraps up this week, has been about slowing down and savoring the goodness, grace, and abiding presence of God.

Another familiar verse says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10). My favorite translation of that verse is the New American Standard: “Cease striving and know that I am God.”

I love that translation because it is a reminder that the kind of “still” that is needed to savor the goodness of God is not simply a lack of motion, but a deliberate choice to abandon the need to be productive at every moment. It reminds me that we have been created as human beings, not human doings.

Your amazing life matters, my friends! Don’t just taste it in passing. Slow down and savor.

Dr. Gerry Lewis, author, blogger, church consultant and leadership coach, serves as executive director of the Harvest Baptist Association in Decatur.

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