Every Expectation is a Resentment in the Making. – Richard Rohr
Before the year began, I had chosen the word Savor to be my primary focus for 2016 and Honesty as a secondary thought to guide me. Savor because I wanted to realize how precious life is in each & every moment and how it doesn’t need changed, but embraced… realizing God’s in every moment – no matter how ordinary or unexpected it may be. Honesty I knew I wanted to focus on because my voice had gotten lost along the way of life in the clutter of others’ voices, expectations and culture’s media pitches.
Now as the year comes to a close, I had no idea I would learn how greatly related these two words would end up being. Without honesty, it’s not easy to see let alone savor what is before us.
Savoring is not easy. It’s not easy to look at your life and call it worthy. Worthy of your acceptance, worthy of your acknowledgment, worthy of your embracing it as it is so it can blossom into what’s next. But without this hard work, I knew I’d be continually caught up in the always unsettled voices of “this isn’t good enough”, “this isn’t as it is supposed to be”, “what is next?”, “how can I move from here?” when I looked at my life or my season. Although it’s hard to remember exactly where and why this word bubbled up, I do know that much of it came from realizing this would be my last year before I turn 30. I knew I didn’t want to make it race, I didn’t want to call it not good enough and ridicule it for not being what I expected it would be by this age. As last year came to a close, I knew that I wanted to deeply live my life in the new year. To love it. To feel like life was exactly as it should be because this is where God is.
When I look back on this year, unfortunately I do remember many moments where I pressed against my life and didn’t savor it. But I also am realizing I’ve had a certain sense of acceptance and love toward it that didn’t exist before. Years before this one I felt the resentments of “why weren’t you this for me life?” “Why didn’t you do that for me?” “Why am I not ‘there yet’ or at this stage yet?” The quote above is all too real. And while I didn’t fulfill the definition of Savor – to enjoy and taste completely – I do think allowed life to unfold…I lingered. I didn’t rush it. I wanted to be present. This year I saw my life, my stage, my season, my struggle, myself as is and called it worthy. I didn’t name it easy. I didn’t name it “right” since that subjective anyway, but I did call it good.
Maybe when it comes to the whole of life, that’s all we can ask? After all, if something – whether a life circumstance or a food/drink – is bitter, we don’t really enjoy it like savor suggests do we? But we can accept it, we can digest it, we can allow it, process it and move through it… and maybe that’s what it really means to savor our lives. We don’t call them clutter free, shiny, happy or “perfect”, but we call them good. We call them worthy of living, of being present to, of accepting as they are.
God is here. God is in this space, time, and version of self. That to me declares life worth living no matter the taste or level of matching our desired expectations.
Here’s where the honesty comes in. In order to truly savor what is, I first need to be honest about it. I need to call the the bitter things bitter and the lovely things lovely. In order to embrace this wonderfully messy life, maybe I need to recognize it with honesty, clarity, and truth. Face it all. If I don’t face it, name it, see it for what it is, how can I fully live it? In order to savor, I first need to taste it, to invite it in, to experience all of it’s nuances. That honesty, I am finding, may be necessary to fully live the season I’m given. Call the good good so I can savor in a sense of appreciation. Call the hard hard so I can know I’m OK to feel tough emotions. Call the scary scary so I can choose to be brave. Call the bitter bitter so I can morn and allow unfit expectations to transform.
Honesty, without cynicism, can be a tool toward living fully… toward savoring fully.
This Christmas I can’t promise to not have to unpleasant things to face or to feel harder emotions. But what I can do is be honest about my life, to call all of my life’s experience OK, claim it as a part of being human, and then look to story of a God who came in the flesh as if to forever say being human is full of worth, life with all of it’s struggle is OK and worth living.
Merry Christmas friends. May you also think on your past year, realize honestly what happened, what is currently happening and then in doing so embrace it and allow yourself to be fully who and where you are…exactly as you find yourself today.
Let’s honestly savor our human lives.
Extra Musings and Random Thoughts
Hard to believe this year is coming to a close. Only a few more devotionals left in my year long daily devotional Savor I’ve been enjoying by Shauna Niequist! That photo above is my quiet, simple home I get to enjoy every morning. It’s a good image of the simplicity of Advent and savoring I get to do each day.
One of the greatest gifts of this year has been a community of authentic people my age that’s formed through my church. No matter what church you’re in, if you’re my age, never give up the attempt to start a ministry to connect with others around. It’s vastly needed and appreciated among millennials. There’s a lot our era benefits from with the speed of life and the internet, but one thing it aches for is connection. Reach out, form new bonds, make community. It matters and people will thank you! Be brave!
With only a few days until Christmas, I truly hope all of you reading until this point realize how you don’t need to rush, you don’t need to perform, you are enough and this season before it got away from us culturally was meant to remind us of that. In your darkness, a light is dawning. In your loneliness, a human who loves you is coming. In your fear, someone who is great enough to calm every storm of life and cares about you is breaking into history. Pause enough to recognize God and Christ coming and being with you. Trust it.