The more you have on your plate, the more you need to start your day with a quiet time with God. The more you are giving out, the more you need to start your day by getting refuelled. The more important your work, the more rested and prepared you need to be for it.
As I began to make more positive strides in my life and really go after God-given dreams, I realized that I needed to begin my days more slowly with more extended quiet time in the presence of God. This is not because I am spiritual- it is because I am thirsty! The peace and power of Christ are the water I need to be sustained, energized and empowered. I need to drink deeply of the presence of God. It is said of Martin Luther that when he had so much to accomplish in a day that he needed to spend the first few hours of his day with God!
As a result, on most days I begin my day with a good cup of coffee in one of my favourite places- which may be on the deck swing or in front of the fireplace depending on the season. As I drink my coffee I contemplate the goodness, abundance, loving kindness and grace of God. The reality and goodness of God are the starting point for viewing my day, and my life in general, from the proper perspective. In this sense, my quiet time is a time for my entire world view to be readjusted and refocused.
From there I open the Scriptures and slowly read through a chapter or two, noting what I can learn and apply to my current situation in life. Inevitably, there will be a warning to be headed, a character to emulate, a promise to cling to or a truth that brings comfort. I make lots of notes in margins about my learnings as I find that this helps greatly with retention. My goal in this stage is to immerse myself in the story of God to understand how I should view myself, God and others.
By this time I am ready to do some thankfulness journaling. I often take out my journal and think of as many things as possible that I can list that I am thankful to God for. I have written in other places about the benefits this brings in re-wiring our brains, so I will not repeat that here. Suffice it to say, when I begin my days with a mindset of thankfulness and an assumption that God will be up to something good in my life I am much more prepared to tackle whatever the day may bring.
Finally, I often enjoy taking some time to read a book that inspires me, informs me and opens my mind to greater possibilities. I suggest to people that it is always helpful to have a good trusted Christian book on the go. Alternatively, I do some exercises that remind me of who I am in Christ and of the many ways that I am blessed in Christ. My goal here is to have the truths I am learning reinforced and cemented in my mind.
I encourage you to find your own rhythm and ways to help you begin each day in the peace and power of Christ.
Here are 12 of the benefits that have come into my life as a result of a greater focus on quiet times with Christ:
- My thinking is changed from an orientation towards whatever is bringing me anxiety towards how I will overcome in Christ’s strength.
- I approach higher stress times (i.e. speaking before new audiences) with greater peace and confidence.
- I gain a greater sense of God’s perspective on the brokenness and dysfunction I see around me.
- I train my eye to see God at work rather than assuming that God is not present when disappointments or trials come.
- I notice evidences of God having been with me in the past, and thus gain boldness when looking ahead at the future.
- As I learn to see myself as God sees me, I am empowered to seek life-changing opportunities rather than settling for the status quo.
- My levels of faith and expectation increase.
- I learn to value directing my energy into the most important initiatives, rather than blazing through my day attacking a ‘to do’ list that brings no forward momentum in what matters.
- I discipline my spirit to not react to what happens, but to increasingly respond intentionally, positively and in faith.
- I wrestle thoughts down that set themselves up against the knowledge of Christ and I take the thoughts captive (knowing that the direction of my thought life will become the direction of my life).
- I receive renewed strength as I wait on the Lord.
- Through modelling a lifestyle of abiding in Christ, our children are learning how they can receive strength for the challenges they are facing.
I want to challenge you to experiment with beginning your day in this way and I would love to hear about the ways you are finding that are working for you in this season of life!