How to Intentionally Begin Your Day Well
What is important to you?
At the end of your life, when you think over all the time you had and all the ways you spent it, what will stand out as most important to you? Will there be things you regret, such as giving more time to tasks and less time to our loved ones?
Each morning and each day, we have a chance to choose what we will direct our attention to.
I'm reminded of a very short passage in Mark. In Mark 1:35-38, we see Jesus praying in a solitary place. He had woken up early one morning and set out to meet with the Father. It isn't so much that Jesus takes his time to grieve his cousin, though He does. It isn't that Jesus woke up early, although that's handy to some of us. It isn't that Jesus had prayed alone that stands out to me. No, it's the moment when Peter and the other disciples come looking for Jesus. They share that "Everyone is looking for You." Jesus could have camped out at Peter's Mother-in-Law's house and have had a nice ministry, but... and here's the part that stands out... Jesus chose to go somewhere else, to the nearby villages.
Jesus could have been distracted by the need that was right where He was at rather than where God was calling Him to, but He wasn't. He had spent time with the Father, He knew what the Father had planned for Him that day, and Jesus obeyed.
So many times we can be distracted by things (important and unimportant), that we truly miss out on the eternal purpose of the moment. We miss out on those that we truly value while giving attention to the things that don't matter.
Jesus had met with the Father and knew exactly the purpose His day would hold. He knew exactly where to intentionally set His feet as He followed the Father's leading. He knew what was truly important in that moment and He wasn't distracted by the things that didn't matter. While He looked at many important elements to His day and the important requests of the people around Him, He knew exactly where to give His attention.
Do you begin your day with that kind of conviction? Do you meet with the Father for your day's purpose, for direction on your ministry, for simple guidance on where to plant your feet? What about when you're faced with a bunch of important demands for your time, do you step forward with confidence or are you distracted by those demands (or the guilt they bring up)?
When I think about how we start the day, Let's be like Jesus.
Intentionally Begin the Day Slowly. Whether our day allows three or thirty minutes to meet with the Father, the time spent in prayer is never wasted time. If you look at tomorrow morning and see a lot of "things" pressing in on your time with the Father, consider what you can do the night before to help the following morning run smoothly. Maybe it means buying time by having outfits set out for tomorrow and a simple breakfast and lunches made. Maybe it means doing a few extra tasks tonight and waking up fifteen minutes earlier tomorrow to help you begin your day slowly.
Intentionally Meet with the Father. This goes along with the last point. Maybe you meet with the Father over a hot cup of cocoa or over an iced tea. Maybe you take your slow time and move it into the backyard as you meet with the Father over the day's purpose and many tasks. Make time to meet with Him and watch how the rest of your day becomes one of purpose. Also... find a few more pockets of time during the day to slow down and talk with the Father about the day and to simply thank Him for every part of it.
Intentionally Obey. Do you ever have people come to you to ask advice, but then they turn around and not even listen to what you had to say? It's kind of annoying, isn't it? Especially when they come back complaining about this recurring problem that you've given advice on (that you're positive will work), but they still don't change their ways or give your advice any real effort or thought. I think about how annoying it must be for us to go to the Father to ask for His help in something, but then we drop the ball. We continue life in the way that we had been doing it before our prayer time, while all along, if we would have done things His way, we would have had a much better outcome. Obeying the Father's voice and following His leading will dramatically change EVERYTHING! It will change us. It will make way for others to be influenced by our obedience and challenged to obey Him as well. It will impact our present and our eternity. Obeying Him will change everything! Let's choose to listen to His voice and to obey it. Jesus did and it allowed Him to spend His day, His ministry, and His life well.
Accomplishing the Most Important Goals
When I think about how Jesus spent His morning on that particular day, I think about how He was able to accomplish the goals that meant the most to Him. He didn't spend His time idly, but intentionally. By choosing to spend time with the Father, He was able to focus on the things that truly mattered rather than being bogged down in the things that didn't.