In 2017, there were countless mornings where my hand-held screen was the first thing I gave my attention to. With eye-liner stained lids from the night before and sleepy goop at the corners of my eyeballs, I would fumble for my phone and begin my day with a lit screen and scrolling fingers. Checking my texts, looking at emails, scrolling through notifications, browsing posts, or clicking through Instagram stories were some of the first things my hands did and my eyes viewed as the sun rose and the coffee brewed.
And do you know what I noticed?
I was starting my days from a place of discouragement.
Before my feet had even hit the floor, I was worried about my calendar. I was overwhelmed with emails. I was thinking about my To-Do list, and I was starting my day with WAY. TOO. MANY. opportunities to compare myself and my life with all the posts, pictures, and fabulous-looking lives of all my media pals.
Friends, I’m shooting straight – my phone was bringing me down before I had even had a chance to stand. And I was tired of it.
So as I thought about my 2018 goal of PRESENCE and JOY, I thought about some of the changes I needed to make in order to move toward growth in those areas. And at the top of my mental list was this idea of starting my day beholding His presence rather than beholding my phone. And what became an idea has since become a discipline.
Now hear me out…
I am not suggesting (not even for a hot second) that you are wrong, less than, or remotely ungodly if you start your day with your phone in your hand, rather than a Bible in your lap. I’m NOT. That man-proposed rule stuff is for the Pharisee-birds! I ain’t doin’ none of that. N-O-N-E.
But for me and my heart, it wasn’t good, and I needed a change.
I needed to start my day with my head in a place of encouragement. I needed to start my heart in a place of contentment. And I needed my soul to begin the day rooted in the Word of God and not in my Facebook Feed. My day needed a different start and a new direction; my soul needed a new beginning to each morning.
So for the last 30+ days, I have begun my morning with an intentional focus on filling the empty parts of my soul with the things that truly fill. It hasn’t been easy and it hasn’t been without a few slip-ups here and there, but it has been a discipline that has started my day from a better place.
I’ve exchanged my scrolling for some sitting in His presence.
I’ve exchanged my To-Do list for some dwelling in His Word.
I’ve exchanged my petty comparisons with some praying.
And Hopers, it’s been good for both my soul and my start.
Because if there is one thing I’ve realized in this last month, it’s this: My identity and my focus get so easily skewed when I start from a different starting place. And when I start from a different STARTING LINE, it affects my run. My run isn’t as purposeful, energetic or productive.
And do you know what’s hilariously ironic?
I still have enough time in my day “To-Do” all the things.
We so easily buy into the lie that we have to start our days with a run in order to finish the race, but I’m starting to realize that maybe we need to start with a “set” before we run…
“I have set the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Psalm 16:8
As we run our days and mark our miles, He has to be our FINISH LINE. It is Him that needs to be in our sights as we run. It is Him that gives us the courage, guidance, and endurance to do the running in the first place!
Hebrews 12:1 says, “And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
Again, there is no formula for how we must “set Him before us.” There is no right-way curriculum to “fixing our eyes.” And there is no salvation-earned merit that is received by how you start the day “beholding Him.”
Maybe it looks like a bed-side prayer before you begin your day. Maybe it looks like some quiet prayer time before you poach those eggs and pour that juice. Maybe it looks like Scripture-reading while your children eat granola bars in front of the TV. Or maybe it looks like worship music and meditation as you shower and primp.
But may I suggest that whatever we do, may we contemplate the discipline of starting our days and beginning our runs by BEHOLDING His presence.
“Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God.”
1 Chronicles 22:19