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The grace of a day

I remember singing a hymn in primary school. The lyrics began, ‘This is the day, this is the day, that the Lord has made, that the Lord has made.’ Perhaps you remember it? It was quite a simple song, encouraging us to rejoice in each new day and be glad in it. A declaration of intent!

Written in 1967 by Les Garrett, the song’s inspiration came from Psalm 118:24. But there are other Scriptures, this time warning us not to fixate on tomorrow. Scriptures such as Proverbs 27:1, ‘Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.’

Tension headache

Our western culture often creates a tension whereby our heads are in tomorrow, so much so, that today just passes us by. Much of our stress and anxiety comes from what might or might not happen. We live with expectations and disappointments. Yet Matthew 6:34 tells us, ‘Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.’

Now I know it’s easier said than done when you have bills to pay, deadlines to meet and obligations to fulfil. It’s natural to think, ‘I’ll just get through this season, then things should ease up.’ But I can’t help wondering how realistic this is, and whether things ever ‘ease up’.

Perhaps we need a collective revolt?

Now, before you stop reading, please hear me out. I’m not talking about confronting the powers that be and demanding a change to the working week, or refusing to honour the commitments we’ve made. Instead, I wonder if we could each play our part by taking each day as it comes — being fully present — and experiencing God’s grace just for that day.

Kingdom culture

In her book Unfettered: Imagining a Childlike Faith Beyond the Baggage of Western Culture, author, pastor and speaker Mandy Smith invites us to ignite a childlike faith.

She suggests that, in the West, we tend to do Kingdom things in an empire building way. To embrace a Kingdom culture over an empire-building one, she says, means embracing story, substance, mystery and a different kind of authority. Mandy highlights a three-step movement to enable us to do this — Rest, Receive, Respond.


One week into her sabbatical, Mandy noticed a flock of geese flying in the shape of a ‘V’. It struck her that the geese hadn’t planned on flying in this particular formation. Instead, she says, each goose knew how to find the space where the wind was kindest. Without conscious effort, the geese ended up flying in a perfect ‘V’.

This perfect ‘V’, Mandy notes, drew her out of her tendency to lean into rules, formulas and systems. Instead, it took her to a place where her heart sighed, ‘I want to fly like that’. That night, she wrote in her journal, ‘Maybe flying like a goose is about remembering your child self, wearing what you like, resting when you need, being sensitive to your body, and letting you follow your senses.’

Rest isn’t just about getting enough sleep. It can also be about resting from our own misguided need to always be in control — forgetting that that’s God’s responsibility, not ours. That’s why it’s been suggested that keeping the Sabbath helps us realise that God can carry the world without our help or input. The more we ‘rest’, the more ‘rest’ stays with us, even when we’re being productive. According to Mandy, we’re not making this world but joining God in the work of remaking it.


Western culture demands that we keep producing, keep achieving. Resting, however, shifts our perspective from ‘creating’ to ‘participating’. We find ourselves in a state of quiet wonder as we notice the beauty of the little things in life. The tickle of grass on our feet. The quiet hum of a bumblebee. It feels good!

None of these things came about because of us — they are facets of God’s creation. And, as such, they welcome and warm those who stop long enough to notice them. Rest enables us to receive gifts from a good God through the wonders of creation.


When we receive, we can respond in a way that’s more receptive to God. It’s when we slow down that we become more in tune with the small, still voice of God.

The childlike faith mentioned by Mandy helps us to respond without our unnecessary adult questions and doubts, whether we’re lying on the grass or showing kindness to a stranger.

Sometimes the way we respond can lead us to feel God’s presence or gain new insights. Often, it brings a reassurance and kindness we don’t usually afford ourselves. It’s inviting, calming and helps slow us down.

An invitation

Resting, receiving and responding work best when we are ‘present’ in the moment — not looking to the right or the left, to the future or the past. What if we all, individually, intentionally — and with a conscious dependence on the Holy Spirit — practised being present?

When you pray, let your mind fix on the One whom our hearts love. When you talk to others, let your ears be attentive, your attention focused on understanding what’s being said, rather than preparing for how you might respond. When you are working, let your heart give thanks for an opportunity to contribute to the bigger picture, however small that might seem.

What if our revolution was one of attentiveness, thankfulness and of being intentionally present in the very smallest moments of life?

Can you imagine the difference this change of perspective might have on our mental wellbeing? And not just our own, but on the health of all those with whom we interact.


You are invited to go on this journey of living within the grace of each day, rejoicing and being glad in it — flying effortlessly like geese. Will you accept the invitation?