The day begins with a frantic grasp for an irritating alarm clock. The moment our eyes open we are confronted by an intimidating "To Do" list. The activities could include a variety of things depending on our situation: brushing our teeth, taking a shower, getting dressed, feeding the cat or the fish, getting kids ready for school, fixing breakfast, preparing lunches, ironing clothes, making the bed, etc etc. And all of this before we've even taken a step outside of the house. A host of responsibilities darken the horizon of the day before us, and our time is spent juggling them as best we can in an attempt to maintain sanity and control.

The popular band, DC Talk, speaks in one of their songs of how a "physical world creates a spiritual haze". The vast majority of believers today perceive God through a lens that is most often smudged, dirty, or just plain cracked. I personally find it challenging to acknowledge and behold spiritual truths when living a life that feels constrained by physical parameters and senses. Most of us cannot imagine an existence where watches are irrelevant and schedules are obsolete. Our lives are driven by the clock. Appointments. Engagements. Duties. Tasks. Errands.

In the midst of all this running around, seldom are our senses not bombarded by one stimulus or another as well. We have our radios, our iPods, our CD's and our televisions. Not to mention pagers, GPS and cell phones. How did we ever live our lives without cell phones? I mean, seriously. A thought provoking documentary filmed a few years ago illustrated the difference between merely cramming into a system things that fill a void, versus introducing into that system elements that would bring about health and well-being.

In "Supersize Me", the effects of living on nothing but junk food are measured in the body of one man over a period of 30 days. The results were extremely similar to the damage caused as a result of someone caught in the grips of alcoholism, systematically drinking themselves to death. This movie demonstrates a very interesting point. At no stage in the experiment did the person in question ever go hungry. His body communicated a legitimate need, and that need was met daily...often exceedingly so.

However, just because the stomach is filled and the immediate hunger is sated, does not mean that the body is being nourished and that health is being achieved. This means that it is entirely possible to satisfy the immediate need, while simultaneously bringing about ultimate degradation and ruin. It means that the body is first and foremost nurtured by the quality of the ingredients placed inside of it, rather than the quantity. In this respect, the body and the soul are strikingly similar.

Something happens to me as I zip from one agenda item to the next. It's something that is barely noticeable...incredibly subtle. Slowly but surely, bit by bit and day by day, my soul is starved of beauty. I have exercised so much energy in an attempt to efficiently manage my time, yet have so often squandered the opportunities to acknowledge the beauty around me that makes the time allotted to me on this earth so much more worthwhile. Like a garden continuously starved of sunlight and water, my soul slowly withers and decays until it becomes utterly devoid of wonder and life.

In the Psalms, King David instructs us: "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." In his letter to the Romans, Paul reminds us: "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse."

As a songwriter, one of the things that is crucial to inspiration is recognizing the difference between merely seeing versus truly observing...between merely hearing versus truly listening. It's all about the details. Inspiration is unlocked and beauty laid bare before anyone who would but take a moment to pause, acknowledge and observe. When last have I stopped to smell the roses, whether literally or figuratively? When last have my lungs drawn in fresh air and found me genuinely appreciative of the gift of life? The charm and innocence of a little child's laughter. The grandeur of a golden sunset. The smile of a loved one or the embrace of a friend. The intricacy of a flower and the pleasure of its fragrance.

When last have I intentionally sought out and savored these kinds of moments and thanked God for his generosity in gracing me with them? Every good and perfect gift does indeed flow from him...from the Father of heavenly lights. Let us take the moments to ponder them. They are the spices on the banquet of life.

(This article was originally written for CrossRhythms.co.uk and is re-printed with permission.)

Author's Bio: 

Grant Cyster is a freelance media provider and South African Freelancers' Association member specializing in the provision of professional writing and voice over services. His intrigue with the English language began at age 7 when he correctly spelled the word “badge” on the classroom chalk-board (a career highlight to this day). A singer-songwriter as well, Grant is single with no pets or teddy bears and currently lives in Cape Town. Visit his website, http://www.grantcyster.com, for more information about him and his work.