Before I rant, I'd like to preface that I haven't written a blog in a good seven months. Don't get me wrong I love to write, I've just been stuck in this tennis match between not knowing what to say and not having the motivation to say something. I would maybe even go as far as saying I didn't have the courage to say something when I was finally given words to sum up how I felt. But I feel no shame looking back as I know I'm not the only one that felt this way.
2020 stunned us all. Faced with a mass pandemic, morals have been questioned on all levels of humanity- on what it means to be alive and feel safe and know security in one's environment. In my own experience, writing has continued to serve as a major outlet for thoughts, hurts, and thanksgiving. I continue to journal my prayers daily, finding peace in my heavenly father as I remind myself that he is victorious over all.
I write on here now because that tennis match is done. Though standing midway through the year with some of the highest numbers, God has shifted my fear of the world into a fear of Him. It took a second, because being overloaded with statistics and rumors made it difficult to overload myself with the Word and truth. But God continued a good work in me. With my laser focus on Him, he has given me a new song in this dark season- one of a deeper courage rooted in the spirit and of a stronger understanding in how He is working for good. In this new song I'm delighting in freedom. No doubt I've faced my deepest pits in these seven months and struggle daily with past pain, but never the less I cover myself with His armor and declare his goodness.
So this is the beginning of me ranting, again. To whoever has stumbled upon this, I hope this rant gives you new ideas, makes you a little curious, or affirms what you already know to be true.
We all want a 'good day.' Weird opening line, but it's true. Pulling up Youtube or TikTok, your favorite creators have content dedicated to showing you 'a day in the life' where they video themselves running errands, grabbing coffee with a friend, and cooking meals. Millions of people view these vlogs and are enticed by how quality of a life these creators lead. In their well-crafted content they give off the vibe that good, desirable days are ones where you get stuff done, do something fun, enjoy each others company. Even if you aren't on these platforms, you can probably draw from experience that this is true. Think back to when you had a big essay due. You got it done a day early. That feeling of having no loose strings, like you are on top of things, is freeing. Or think to a day where you were with your best friend and time stood still. Music blaring and cheeks hurting from smiling; you find yourself thinking, "I hope this day never ends." No matter what a good day looks like to you, most people wake up and hope that when they step out of bed, the next 16 hours are good on their soul, that each hour is conquered with everything they got.
I think it's appropriate to talk 'good days,' especially when everyone's day-to-day is under a magnifying glass. Everyone is either quarantining, working, or attempting to hang out with friends. Daily life is different than it was four months ago, and everyone wants to know how you're doing it.
After months of going through both good and bad days, I have concluded that there is a way to have more than a good day, every day. It starts with what you do as soon as you wake up.
I won't delay in telling you that 'more than a good day', doesn't mean you won't experience a bad day. I mean to challenge the point that every day of your life can be intentional, passionate, and full of joy, despite the circumstances in each 24 hour period.
With that aside, my main argument is that mornings lay the foundation for your day, therefore spend it with God.
Mark 1:35 states "And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed." When Jesus was in his prime teaching time, he made an effort to start his day with his heavenly father. Now, I know Jesus didn't have a phone, but any other tasks like eating or talking with his buddies aren't mentioned. It simply says that before anything else, he prioritizes God.
Being a Christian means we follow Christ's example to the best of our ability, so of course reading this should cause us to alter our habits. But I know if I heard this for the first time, I would need some convincing to keep my phone shut off for an extra thirty minutes. *Queue three bullet points for what starting your day with God can do.
1. God in the AM's reframes focus onto Jesus & aligns you with His will.
Verses to reference:
Looking to these two verses, it is encouraged to 'hear' and 'declare' of this 'steadfast love' as soon as we wake up. My interpretation of this is to orient my view onto Jesus and to be reminded of God's unwavering goodness. Two actions are made in this interpretation. One action is to strip off all things that hinder (anxiousness, selfishness, shame) and take up your cross to follow Jesus. By refocusing onto Christ, anything you would've planned that day that would seek comfort or self-righteousness is called into question and compassionately rejected. The second action is to be reminded of God's goodness. Reciting truth back to God that he is powerful, faithful, and loving, you can align yourself with His will. His will is for us looks beautifully differently person to person, but overall is for us to live wholeheartedly for Christ because of Christ's love.
This focus on Jesus and declaration of God's goodness work hand in hand to make any day, one for the Kingdom. And if we make time to dedicate our day to Him before it's even begun, that is a victory and a cause for celebration.
2.God in the AM reminds you of your worth & establishes identity.
Verses to reference:
Both of these verses are a breath of fresh air. As soon as we wake up in the morning, BEFORE we have time to work for value, God offers it to us. If we wake up and seek satisfaction in Him first, we can be confident in feeling fully known and loved. As well as finding unwavering worth in God, we can establish our identity in the cross. Lamentations mentions bountiful mercy, which refers to Christ and the victory of the cross. If we stop to recognize that we are God's children, we recognize that we are on the winning side, that the triumph of the cross is one that translates to our every battle and that when we mess up, there is Godly conviction there.
No matter what our days look like, knowing our worth is in Him and that our identity lies in the victory of the cross means that we can fill others rather than seeking fulfillment. (Which, we still need human connection and to be filled by others through fellowship. When we are vulnerable with trusting friends that see and hear our stories, God uses those conversations to deepen relationships and strengthen joy. I'm just saying that we need to plug in to God as our energy source because the world doesn't have any working outlets.)
3. God in the AM gets our weapons ready for battle.
Verses to reference:
Both verses explain how in the morning, before a battle has begun, God is called upon to deliver, to provide resources of refuge and strength. To take action and gear up for battle, Ephesians 6:10-18 tells us:
"10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people."
Mornings where I want to go straight to my phone, I stop and tell myself the line "this could be the hardest day of your life." Sounds pessimistic, but I think it's good to consider. If I were to go into my day without preparing myself for the unknown, I know I would fail. By calling upon God and putting on his armor, I know that I am always ready to stand my ground and speak truth.
How to meet God practically
People say that you should make time for God, whether in the morning or at night or on your daily commute. I don't want it to come off like you can't spend time with Him in other parts of the day because everyone's day looks different and God truly just wants to be present in your life.
But for me, I've found that when I prioritize Him in my day, He is prioritized in my life. His face becomes all I seek, His will becomes my desire to live out, His name becomes my anthem of worth, and His strength covers me. So even if it's just for a day, try it. Meet God in the AM and see how fulfilling your days become.