The Quickest Way to Slow Down

Have you ever tasted something so delicious that you slow down to savor the flavors mesmerizing your mouth?

I enjoy eating, so I’m pretty expressive when I taste something delicious. I make savoring-type sounds, and say This is so good! over and over again. Even the next day, I might reminisce about it. Do you ever do that?

In the final weeks of living in our old home, I savored memories as they flooded my mind. Holidays and treasured visits from our children…gathering with friends to know God better through His Word…laughter…tender and hard conversations. Some conversations echo—and reveal how those words furthered relationships. Even vivid days that held stress, strain, or worry fade into feelings of relief to have overcome, by the grace of God.

When we savor food—or a memory—we slow down a bit, in a good way. We appreciate the moment, the experience, or the person.

“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!” (Psalm 34.8a)

God wants us to savor him—to feed on his Word and claim This is so good!, to tell him how we feel about him, even if we say the same thing every day, to see that it is his goodness behind every memory we savor.

Savoring stirs gratitude. Gratitude strengthens our focus TOWARD God. The more our focus is toward him, we learn to slow down and we learn to savor the present as God unfolds it. 

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!” 

“is”—God wants you and me to savor him and his goodness today.

…watching–or even better–joining our child while he’s immersed in imagination land.

…enjoying flowers in bloom, an afternoon rain, a blue sky–reminders that God is always at work among his creation which includes us

…smiling as we wash a child’s yard-dirty clothes because these represent fun and adventure in a season that passes so fast

…wiping sticky hands and food-smudged mouths—that one day soon won’t need our touch

…celebrating children’s loud voices—because our child has a friend to make happy noises with

…loud music or instruments—because the kids have chosen our home as their gathering place

Dear God,
Thank you for such grace, that you give us the opportunity to be lifelong learners as your disciples! Help us to slow down and learn to savor you and your goodness. Thank you for the many moments you provide for us to taste and see you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

SCREEN TIME

Twenty years ago, when I was a teacher, I was surprised to learn how much TV my students watched.  Today with the addition of video games and home computers, the “opportunities” for screen-type activities seems unending. Personally, I think the TV, the computer, and even some video games can be fine instruments for entertainment or education.  The computer can also be a great tool for communication.  Sadly, however, it seems that for many children, some type of “screen activity” is their most constant companion.

We introduced our boys to TV at the same time.  Terrell, age 4 was intrigued; Ellison, age 3, could have cared less.  A few years later we bought our first computer game for them – “Reader Rabbit”.  And eventually we gave in and bought them each a Gameboy video game.  In the beginning each device was something new for our child or our family to do.  Eventually, each device became an issue or source of disagreement between my child and me.  It wasn’t the device’s fault.

We need to frequently ask ourselves 3 questions about our utilization of screen time with our kids:  How do we use it?  How much do we use it?  Why do we use it?

The way that we respond to that sentence can help us determine why we currently don’t have screen boundaries with our child or why our boundaries are what they are.

It’s funny, what starts as a fun new activity for us to share with our child can so easily become something so different.  For example:

A. Have these devices become the babysitter, the substitute for us or a friend, or a way to pass time?

B. Have these devices become “the competition” within our own home?  Does our child want to be with them more than with us? Have we unintentionally conditioned our kids this way?

C. Are these devices enjoyed by our family members – but in healthy proportion to nurturing our family relationships?

Hmmm… at times it’s been “A” when I was trying to fix supper. And because of “A”, I’ve experienced “B”.  Although, sometimes, I’ve wrestled with “B” because I’d give in and give them more screen time, and then guess what they wanted?  Yep, even more screen time!  “C”, of course, is the best choice…

So, how do we get there?  How do we undo what we’ve allowed up to now?

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given to him.” (James 1.5)