Tired? Take Time to Cease and Savor Delight

Tired? Take Time to Cease and Savor Delight

You’re tired, drained, but you can’t find a simple way to restore. So maybe it’s time to cease and savor delight in the little moments.

It had been a tough week—full-on giving out. People, work, tasks, energy-draining memories all want a piece of the energy pie.

What was leftover were like crumbs on a tin foil pie tray. That pie you bought in a rush to answer the demand of an evening meal. That’s how it felt.

Life, energy, all being eaten up, with a few crumbs leftover. Depression shadowed over the shoulders. Anxiety beat at the door.

They knew the next week would probably be the same. This time next week, they would again feel weak, drained, and lifeless.

‘Oh, for a holiday,’ they whispered.

Their mind drifted to memories of a time on a beach. Toes digging into the sand, gentle waves spilling over each other, and melting ice cream. It was a moment of delight for them. “Oh, to be there again’ they dreamed, and in a sense, they were. They were in cease and delight mode.

Do you know how to cease and delight?

Delight On the Seventh Day

The very first story we find in the Bible is one of a creative outpouring of energy. Out of all the beauty and perfection that God is, this world was created.

On the seventh day, God ceased and delighted.

Heaven and Earth were finished,
    down to the last detail.

By the seventh day
    God had finished his work.

On the seventh day

    he rested from all his work.

God blessed the seventh day.
    He made it a Holy Day.

Because on that day he rested from his work,
    all the creating God had done.

This is the story of how it all started,
    of Heaven and Earth when they were created. Genesis 2:1-4

When you read the creation story, you must remember that this is a song or a poem.

God starts our story with creative music, rhyme, rhythm, flow, and dance. I am so thankful that it didn’t start with legislative procedure and mechanical engineering.

This was beauty outpouring itself onto a creative canvas. This was God singing everything into existence.

On the seventh day, they sat back, took a breath, and delighted in it all.

I wonder if there was a conversation between the trinitarian dance partners.

‘Spirit, I really liked how you blew the planets and stars into existence.’

‘Christ, you have a real nack in knowing exactly what mankind needs. You’re amazing. Ever thought of becoming one?

‘Father/ Mother, you think of everything, don’t you. I noticed the intimacy, passion, and love you energized everything with.’

For a whole day, they delighted in each other’s creativity. Praising and delighting in each other’s gift.

Menuha – joyous repose, tranquility, or delight

Recently I have been reading Sabbath (Ancient Practices) by Dan Allender.

In it, he says this

It is suggested by many Jewish commentators that God created menuha on the seventh day.

Menuha is the Hebrew word for rest, but it is better translated as joyous repose, tranquility, or delight.

“To the biblical mind Menuha is the same as happiness and stillness, as peace and harmony. . . . It is the state in which there is no strife and no fighting, no fear and no distrust.” [Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man]

God didn’t rest in the sense of taking a nap or chilling out; instead, God celebrated and delighted in his creation.

God entered the joy of his creation and set it free to be connected but separate from the artist. Dan Allender Sabbath (Ancient Practices)

How would you like a day full of ‘joyous repose, tranquility, and delight?’ It sounds like heaven, doesn’t it? Maybe that’s what heaven will be like?

At the end of all that creative activity, they took time to smell the roses, take in the sunset, roll around in the long grass, listen for the birdsong and recall all the little micro delights of the week.

The creative you

I like to watch people create.

They take some raw materials and create.

As I write this, I have a blank screen under the words I am writing now. What will fill that space? I don’t know yet. I am excited to see what will emerge. There are many ideas, but the finished product is still days away.

It takes probably 15 hrs to create and publish one of these posts.

In 30 minutes, I will have spilled out probably 500 words, and I will be spent. I will have given out of my energy reserves for the sake of creation. There will be a sense of tiredness but also thankfulness.

I will look back at the rough draft and think, ‘Wow, I like that’ and also ‘That needs more work.’ Then I will leave the computer and go and do something else.

There is a time to create and a time to cease, delight, and savor.

*That’s an hour and 582 words – creative energy drying up – time to cease and delight*

*Back to the creative writing 3 hrs later and added words to the above. Buzzing with where this could go*

Catching the drops of delight

After writing the above words, I went out and worked (created) in a garden that is full of roses.

It’s early spring here in New Zealand, and rain showers have swept across. Birds are singing; droplets hang off lush leaves.

The roses aren’t really blooming yet, but I can see some buds starting to form. There is within me the anticipation of the delight of smell, color, and beauty.

Here is one of my favorites.

David Austin Rose

I could easily rush past those little droplets of delight. I’m busy, I’ve got demands, pressures on my life, or I could take them in and savor them.

The spiritual practice of savoring delight is something that helps our mental health. It’s the drawing of our attention to something beautiful beyond ourselves and the mess we are moving through.

It’s the noticing of the little things. The slowing down our eating to enjoy the flavors. Watching a bee move around a flower and collecting pollen on its legs. It’s the beauty, texture, and grain of a piece of wood.

Leaning into the senses of sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell.

It’s something we don’t do enough.

To savor

When we savor, we are invited to really take in the experience.

Rick Hanson writes this.

Most of the time, a good experience is pretty mild, and that’s fine. But try to stay with it for 20 or 30 seconds in a row – instead of getting distracted by something else.

As you can, sense that it is filling your body, becoming a rich experience. As Marc Lewis and other researchers have shown, the longer that something is held in awareness and the more emotionally stimulating it is, the more neurons that fire and thus wire together, and the stronger the trace in memory.

Intend and sense that the good experience is sinking into you.

People do this in different ways. Some feel it in their body like a warm glow spreading through their chest like the warmth of a cup of hot cocoa on a cold wintry day.

Others visualize things like a golden syrup sinking down inside, bringing good feelings and soothing old places of hurt, filling in old holes of loss or yearning; a child might imagine a jewel going into a treasure chest in her heart.

And some might simply know conceptually, that while this good experience is held in awareness, its neurons are firing busily away, and gradually wiring together. Rick Hanson

That ‘Menuha – joyous repose, tranquility, or delight’ comes, I believe, as a result of intentionally choosing to cease and then savor delight.

The moments

In your day today, notice the moments. It might be the little drops of rain. Notice them.

It might be the flavors of a meal. Notice them.

The sounds of a little dog sleeping. Listen deep and enjoy.

Take notice of anything that might give even a millimeter of delight. Don’t dismiss anything.

Gather those gleaned moments up.

Do the same for the next day and the next.

On the seventh day, take those moments of delight and savor once again every one of them. Look for invites to find more delight.

As you prayerfully do this, you may become aware that you are not alone. That you are actually sitting in the midst of a trinitarian family, and they were pointing out all the creative delights that you had experienced together over the past week.

There is an invitation to enter in and savor the delight of a week well done.


Quotes to consider

  • Many of us are afraid of delight. It seems to stand in such contrast to our harried multitasking. Dan Allender Sabbath (Ancient Practices)
  • We often fail to create a day of delight because to do so compels us to stand against the division, destitution, and despair that often holds us captive the other six days of the week. Dan Allender Sabbath (Ancient Practices)
  • We enter delight only as we gaze equally and simultaneously at creation and redemption, in spite of the darkness that surrounds us and constantly clamors to be truer than God. Dan Allender Sabbath (Ancient Practices)
  • Delight doesn’t require a journey thousands of miles away to taste the presence of God, but it does require a separation from the mundane, an intentional choice to enter joy and follow God as he celebrates the glory of his creation and his faithfulness to keep his covenant to redeem the captives. Dan Allender Sabbath (Ancient Practices)
  • The holy comes in a moment when we are captured by beauty, and a dance of delight swirls us beyond the moment to taste the expanse of eternity in, around, and before us. Dan Allender Sabbath (Ancient Practices)
  • The holy usually comes in unexpected, utterly surprising moments where the gift of goodness opens our heart to wonder and gratitude. Dan Allender Sabbath (Ancient Practices)

Questions to consider

  1. What are some examples of delight that you need to sit and savor from your day today?
  2. What would it be like to a day full of ‘joyous repose, tranquility, and delight?’
  3. Can you identify any little interruptions that might prevent you from ceasing and savoring delight?

Further reading

Your Brain Needs to Rest Beside Still Waters

It’s Time For You to ‘Give it a Rest’

Do You Need A Permission Slip for Mental Health?

Barry Pearman

Photo by Aaron Andrew Ang on Unsplash



Get a weekly email full of help for your Mental Health and Spiritual formation

* indicates required