The first stop on our three part series is a warm and cozy one. There may be a fire in the fire place and a soft, plaid blanket to wrap up in, your favorite sweater, something hot to sip…
What is the first thing you think of when you read that word? Savor. It deserves pause, a slowness all it’s own. Maybe you think of food, like a savory meal. Tell me I am not the only one who has gotten sucked into the Netflix series, “Chef’s Table.” It is the most fascinating look at the world’s best restaurants (like there is a real ranking) and the chefs that have made them so… everywhere from rustic Padagonia to chic San Fransisco. It tells the story of these innovators, their journeys with food, and their signature dishes. Some of these meal are unlike anything I have ever seen before. They bubble and fizz. They are on fire or frozen inside of layers of something else. They are simple and beautiful. It is so captivating to me because, in the end, it is just dinner. I mean, how many different things can be cooked in the world? How many different ways can you plate grilled fish or chocolate cake? After watching a few episode of “Chef’s Table,” I believe the answer is endless.
There are endless flavors to savor in the world. Endless. This is the world our God created, full of endless flavors to savor in food, people, seasons, experiences, and nature.
The definition of savor is this; “to give oneself to the enjoyment of; to savor the best in life.”. Does that feel a bit worldly to you? A slippery slope perhaps? Hedonistic even? I get it, but I am here to fight for your right to savor as the people of God… honestly we should be the very best at it.
For wisdom on the art of savoring we will look to none other than King Solomon, the wisest man to ever live. I Kings 3 chronicles young Solomon’s rise in wealth and wisdom by way of a dream in which God said to him, “Ask for whatever you want me to give to you.” Wow. I wish I could tell you honestly that I believe my request would have been as noble as Solomon’s. Probably not. But this is about him- not me!
So Solomon says to God, “Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.”
God is pleased with this request and answers, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there every be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for- both wealth and honor- so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings.”
So, that’s our boy Solomon… the richest and wisest man to ever live. He was born to King David and Bathsheba as a healing balm after losing their first son as a consequence of their sin. Though his father David desired to build the temple and the Spirit had put the plans for it in his heart (I Chron. 28), God said that it would be Solomon who would act as contractor for the job. We fall in love with his hot and heavy love story in Song of Solomon… life is good for this guy.
And then we get to Ecclesiastes, the book Solomon pens late in life, and we read this opening verse: “Meaningless, meaningless, utterly meaningless. Everything is meaningless.” Great, right? It seems that at the end of this very rich, eventful, blessed life, we see Solomon looking back over it and wondering what the point was. In all his wisdom, here is his conclusion: “Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least that is good. It is good for people to eat and drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life. And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life- this is indeed a gift from God.” (Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 NLT)
Think about the experiences Solomon’s life had been full of… being born into royalty, riches and knowledge beyond anyone’s comprehension, every earthly pleasure known to man at his fingertips… And in the end he says it is good to eat, drink, and enjoy the health, life, and possessions God has given to each of us. Our lot in life. He says it over and over:
“A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too is from the hand of God, for without him who can eat or find enjoyment?” (Ecc. 2:24)
“I know there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink and find satisfaction in all their toil- this is the gift of God.” (Ecc. 3:12-13)
Do you know what the wisest man to ever live is telling you today? He is urging you to savor your life, to give yourself over to the enjoyment of the the stuff of everyday. After all, what do we all do every single day of our lives? We eat. We drink. We work at things. So with each bite, or sip, or task, we can choose to accept the gift that it is. We can savor our ability to enjoy the simple things. King Solomon doesn’t tell us to wish for grand events or royal ceremonies. He isn’t singing the praises of life in the palace. He doesn’t say that the best thing in life is arriving at the place where wealth is so plentiful toil becomes unnecessary. He isn’t talking about feasts and festivals and holidays… He says the everyday stuff is the good stuff.
Why is this so hard?
I recently finished Mark Batterson’s book “Wild Goose Chase: Reclaim the Adventure of Pursuing God in which he discussed the six “cages” he believes Christians are trapped in, keeping us from wholeheartedly chasing God. One of those cages he calls the “cage of routine” in a chapter entitled “Dictatorship of the Ordinary.” He contends that that we easily lose the joy of living when the sacred becomes routine and says, “We take constants for granted. And that is the problem with God, if I may say it that way. God is the ultimate constant. He is unconditionally loving. He is omnipotently powerful. And His is eternally faithful. God is so good at what God does that we tend to take Him for granted.”
I would add that we tend to take His provisions, the gifts He gives, those common graces for granted as well. In September, the eye wall of hurricane Irma passed directly over my childhood home with my parents, brother, pregnant sister-in-law, and two-year-old niece inside. After a sleepless, scary night- both in Florida and here on the Ranchito- the damage was minimal and all were fine. But, as you can imagine, they lost electricity and water for close to a week. Something they had taken for granted just the day before, something most of us take for granted everyday, they were suddenly without. After 6 days with no power and no running water, you can bet they savored that first night sleeping with air conditioning again, that first real shower, that first time to flip a switch and have a light come on. Everyday stuff, a great gift.
Listen, I love a fancy hotel. In fact, I think “Fancy Hotel” is my love language, but I seek to savor sunsets on my very own front porch. I enjoy a beautiful meal, but I seek to savor pizza picnics with the kids under the lights at the Ranchito. I love opportunities to speak to groups of women, but I seek to savor funny group texts with my tribe. An expensive bottle of wine is lovely and never lost on me, but I will savor the dog out of a Route 44 Vanilla Coke from Sonic. Why? Which of those things happen more often? Which are the things of the everyday? In my life it is the sunsets, the pizza picnics, the Vanilla Cokes, the group texts. When we look through the filter Solomon is teaching us about, we have opportunities to savor all the time.
As my favorite poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning says, “Earth’s crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God. But only he who sees takes off his shoes; the rest sit round it and pluck at blackberries.”
During this Golden Hour, may we take off our shoes.
I believe the disciple of savoring, of enjoying our “lot in life” as Solomon puts it, is deeply spiritual and much more than a warm and fuzzy word to throw around the fire. Luke 16:10 says, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.” When you cannot savor the little things, the ordinary things, the constants, you may be blocking the blessings God has next. When your tastebuds are burnt from discontent, you will never be able to taste new flavors.
Here is a bonus word on our little tour that I have recently come across it and am currently obsessed with… I now own a sweatshirt with it printed on it and it will be my theme for our holidays (you are welcome to share):
It is a Danish word and practice, pronounced “hue-guh.” Here is a summary of what it encompasses: “a feeling or moment, whether alone or with friends, at home or out, ordinary or extraordinary experienced as cozy, charming, or special; only requires consciousness, a certain slowness, and the ability to not just be present but recognize and enjoy the present; the art of creating intimacy, coziness, charm, happiness, contentedness, security, familiarity, comfort, reassurance, kinship, and simpleness, being aware of a good moment.”. Do you love it?
This is my goal as the holidays approach. I want a hygge filter. I want to create intimacy with my people my God. I want to open our home up every chance we get and have the hygge spill out onto our community. I want to not just be present in the little things, but I want to savor them. I believe it is holy work. I believe, as Solomon said, it is a gift from God.
So here’s to hayrides and hygge… to fires and friends… to something warm in your cup and Autumn in your heart… to Solomon and savoring… to S’Mores and simple gifts… to Ecclesiastes and every common bush being afire with God.
Take your shoes off.
And remember to subscribe for a chance to win the “Savor the Season” Fall Bundle, full of beautiful gifts to usher in a moment of HYGGE for yourself. (Can I win my own give away? Seriously? It’s all so pretty!!!)