Can you relate? The alarm on your phone goes off at 5:51am. You pull it into bed with you and hit any button that will give you a 9 minute snooze before you have to face another difficult day. Sometimes you’re sleeping so hard you lose track of how many times you hit snooze. Sometimes you’re refreshed enough to roll out of bed at 6. Either way, you have one hour or less to prepare yourself for work and wake and dress the sleeping sloths who had so much energy last night they played well beyond bed time, trying to be quiet so you didn’t hear them. You keep your phone glued to your hand, checking your Facebook feed as you attempt to brew coffee and put lunches together, repeatedly yelling through walls urging and pleading with the kids to get out of bed, and progressing through the usual threats in your arsenal. Frustrated and hurried, everyone finally piles into the car, one kid realizes three quarters of the way there that he forgot his homework, and you have to make a split-second decision – either explain to your manager why you are late again or make this a teaching moment and let your dear one experience his self-imposed consequences. You choose the teaching moment and drop off your kids, leaving one of them in tears. Your day starts with stress, hurry, and God’s peace is nowhere in sight.
What if you could wake up and roll out of bed with purpose and hope? What if you could take 15 minutes and choose how to run your day instead of your day running you? I remember my brutal mornings as a single mom with three elementary age kids. If I had known then what I know now, I would have done mornings differently. You are somehow getting through these difficult mornings and the time is passing anyway. Why not spend them on purpose? Here are the five most important things you can do as soon as you get up that will start your day with joy!
- First 3 minutes: get up as soon as the alarm goes off. Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier the night before and put it across the room (I know, I know!). Very important – don’t check your phone for the first 15 minutes! Drink at least 8oz of water and get a cup of coffee or tea. While you’re doing this, tell the Lord good morning and thank Him for another day. Getting up earlier will help you buy that precious alone time that you crave with Him
- Next 3 minutes: read the Word. Fill your mind with true, noble, pure,
praiseworthy, excellent thoughts (Philippians 4:8), and don’t let the world dictate how your day should go by telling you what to think first thing in the morning via your Facebook feed, news, email, etc. I know 3 minutes seems super short, but you are developing a habit of seeking Him first thing, and you may tend to put it off if you feel like you don’t have enough time
- Next 3 minutes: pray. Give Him your praise for knowing how big He is, yet He knows every hair on your head, and every hair on your kids’ heads. Plead with Him for your children, finances, restoration with your ex (if applicable), and strength to get through the day. You will be amazed by how quickly 3 minutes goes by, but again, you are developing a habit. “Every day I will praise you, and extol your name forever and ever.” Psalm 145:2 (NIV)
- Next 3 minutes: write down 1-3 goals and one task you want to accomplish today that will move you toward your goals. I love to write my goals every day because it keeps them front of mind. If you’re not sure, ask the Lord what your goals should be. He may reveal something you hadn’t thought of, or may remind you of something that keeps nagging you as He did with me
- Last 3 minutes: write down one way you will love on and encourage your kids today. It can be a note in their lunch or backpack, or speaking courage into their hearts by reminding them how strong and courageous they are. Remind them of their true nature – courageous, strong, compassionate, kind, smart, etc.
That’s it! Doing this over and over will develop the habit of starting your day in a much more positive way, actively choosing to acknowledge God’s presence and have Him direct your steps (Prov. 3:5-6). For the first 15 minutes, choose to see your phone (social media, email, etc.) as a thief stealing your joy. As you are working through each step, don’t worry if you spend 4 minutes in prayer instead of 3, or if it only took one minute to write your goals. That’s ok! The day may still become stressful and get away from you but that’s ok, too. You have a much better chance to find peace and joy when you are regularly plugging into His love and wisdom. The point is to commit to starting your day on purpose and to control what you put in your mind, especially first thing in the morning. Have fun with this and savor the time with our good and gracious Lord!