Joyful Waiting (this article first appeared in Iola Magazine – The Joy Issue. Click here to see order options)
I have achieved a peaceful life. I’ve learned to savor almost every moment of every day. This peace doesn’t come easy. But it’s a practice I’ve grown to love, so I work at it.
Recently, while reading ways to honor my weekly vacation day – Sunday, I ran across a phrase I’m unfamiliar with: Yom Yahveh. I learned this Jewish phrase has two meanings: Day of the Lord or Day of Perfect Being. In our modern world, most of us understand Sunday as the Lord’s Day. But I became intrigued by the second meaning Day of Perfect Being.
Simply put, it’s a practice focusing on just being in the here and now. No worries. Joyful waiting. You may recall Psalm 46:11 “Be still and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, exalted on the earth.” One of the most popular verses across Christianity, it encompasses that concept of a Day of Perfect being.
So, how does a Day of Perfect Being happen? Choose your day. It could be Sunday but with busy lives and varied work schedules, Sunday may not work for you. Then, for your entire day purposefully let go of all that has happened in your past. Set aside all that may happen to you in the future. Stay in the moment and let God be God.
I thought so. I’ve spent years wishing days away – wishing even seasons away.
“The weather is too hot this summer! I wish it was fall.”
“Too much snow this winter, I wish spring would hurry and get here.”
And on and on and in an endless loop. Then I’d add on every event of my life. It started when I was a child.
“I can’t wait until I’m in high school … college … married … the baby comes … I get that new job …”
It’s not that I wasn’t grateful for all the good blessings and people in my life. My younger self was constantly striving because that’s what our culture taught us to do. Nothing wrong with striving. It’s noble and good and God wants us to do good works in the world. It’s the constant, endless striving that steals your peace.
For instance, while feeding your baby you’re mindlessly running through the laundry and house cleaning chores that are left undone. It’s toiling on a work project and worrying about the fun you’re missing with your kids. It’s being at a family get-together and fretting about that undone work project. And the big one – writing your grocery list while making love.
I’ve done it all. Embarrassingly, especially the last one. I think I need to apologize to my husband.
I wondered, ‘Is constantly living in the moment reckless at best – irresponsible at least?’ It can be!
We’ve read countless articles touting the wonders of living in the moment. Why is this one different? Well friend, for me it all came to a crashing halt a few years ago when my husband suffered a cardiac arrest after mowing the grass. Just a regular, warm Friday afternoon, just a healthy guy living his best life, just a mundane chore, just a moment in time that hit me like a cannonball.
God uses whatever he needs to open our eyes. There’s a purpose for each event big and small, tragic, or joyful. We just need to take the time to see, to listen, to hear His whisper, or maybe feel His thunder.
I felt God’s thunder that sunny summer afternoon. I had no choice. God has always been a partner in my life, and I had let Him slip into the background with my busyness. He found a way to bring me back to Him and He’ll find a way for you, too.
The Day of Perfect Being is a good place to start. One question I wondered, ‘Is constantly living in the moment reckless at best – irresponsible at least?’ It can be!
Another question, ‘How do I run my life without planning what’s for dinner?’
We’re not abandoning our responsibilities here. Plan your meals. Manage your life. We’re looking at the big picture here. It’s not meant to add to your stress. Baby steps. Start with one day – your Fun day.
If you are dissatisfied with your season of life right now here are a few ways that might help relieve some stress and, with practice, aid in achieving a bit of peace.
First, identify the season you are in as opposed to the season you want to be in. Watch for and enjoy the blessings of the current season while you’re working toward the next. Appreciate what’s happening now and don’t worry too much about later.
Second, be patient. Recognize the fact that you’re growing, we’re all growing no matter our age.
Ask yourself, ‘How do I want to continue my life in a way that feels like a total place of joy?’
Third, be active. Do the work of the day. Then, pose the question, ‘What are the things I need to be working on in my life so I can be that great mom, employee, friend, artist, writer, wife.
More importantly ask, ‘What do I want this one gorgeous life to be like on a day-to-day basis?’
Finally, have awareness of God in the present moment. God is communicating His light, His holiness, His grace right now! To be holy is to be present to God’s will.
Ask God, ‘What is the best thing for me today?’
Then listen. Start with an open mind. Start with tiny steps. Even a smidgen of stillness with God has benefits.
Ways to practice your Day of Perfect Being? Look at your baby while feeding her. Thank God for her and ask for the strength to be the best mom you can be. Or commit energy to your work projects. Find a way to enjoy them whether your job feeds your soul or is simply a steppingstone to feed your kids. If your family is a joy to be around or a thorn in your side be in the moment and try to see what God is teaching you in that situation.
It’s the voices of fear and scarcity and striving that may have you wanting to hold onto things or thinking you need to keep everything balanced or handled or you’re going to lose. If you find yourself in an obsessive loop of planning or rethinking every decision, ask Him to see what He saw on that first Sabbath day when He rested. You’ll be surprised at the answer.
Do I worry? Definitely. But I don’t worry often. Do I strive – you betcha! I have goals and plans and God is right there with me in those plans. But offering Him my life has made all the difference in my sanity and peace. Staying in and being grateful for today had blessed me with a clear understanding of what matters most.
My go-to scripture is the tried-and-true Philippians 4:6-7:
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
And … you might be thinking what happened to my husband? My strong, brave son immediately started CPR, called the paramedics, and saved my husband’s life. We got another chance. We attempt daily to get it right. We aren’t always successful, but we listen for God’s voice and thank Him for His peace in this gorgeous life.
Become an expert in living in the moment.