Mornings are my favorite. I delight in the stillness and the quiet. It is the sweetest time of day that just really can’t be recaptured until the next morning comes around. Even this morning as I thanked the Lord for the activity and motion in our home as the kiddos buzz around all day, I also thanked him for the stillness preceding it all. In this stillness, I meet with him and digest his word and offer what is on my heart and mind in prayer. Using the still moments of morning to be quiet with our Maker builds the unfolding day on solid ground. Instead of opening the day with the deluge of news, social pressures, opinions of others, or even our own feelings, let us accept the invitation to start slow and still. Today, I’m encouraging with some practical steps to make the stillness stick:
- Go to the same space every day. This will develop a habit in you which says, “when I sit in this chair, or in this room, or on this end of the sofa, I’ll be here for a time. And, when I’m here, I’m here to be still.”
- Have everything you need within reach. You could keep a little basket or a cute bag or a simple stack (I’m a stacker) of what you’ll want to reach for during these still moments. My essential recommendations are: a Bible, a journal, your favorite pen/pencil. Other helpful items could be your favorite candle, a cozy blanket, and a post it pad (I’ll explain…)
- Leave your phone in a different room. In fact, I encourage you not to touch your phone until after you have been still with the Lord and his Word. The barrage of information, the dings and clicks and flashes are not a distraction worth fighting yet. In fact, I set my phone to “sleep” and don’t have it “wake up” until after I expect to be ready to take on the day. If your reading plan or morning devotion are on the phone, print it out the evening prior.
- Keep a post it pad or scratch pad nearby for the attacking thoughts and to-do’s clamoring for your attention. Getting those out of your head and onto paper will help you focus on the tasks at hand – staying still, meditating on or reading scripture, or journaling your prayers. You can easily take those thoughts and to-do’s with you to your calendar, your kitchen counter or wherever the day leads.
- Know where you are going in the Word. I find it distracting to decide in the moment where to read. A reading plan is helpful as long as you can resist feeling confined by it. The Lord may have you focus on just a few verses or may prompt you to read on past the days assigned reading. Quality over quantity is truer than ever in the Bible. When in doubt, when down, when in between intense studies, Psalms is always a go to that lifts eyes and souls to the Lord.
- How long, O Lord? Many of us are asking this question of the Lord given the pandemic, but we can even ask it in regards to our personal time with him. I don’t believe we should keep God on a clock, but I also don’t believe he requires hours of time in order to encounter him. He hears our prayers, causes his Word to come alive, and offers us the help of the Holy Spirit when the time is right. We can spend 5, 20, or 60 minutes of stillness with Him and He will honor it. Having a defined time in mind will ease the antsy a bit.
It will get easier to sit still as we experience the Lord’s blessing on the time we offer Him. He is faithful to help us (Psalm 121) even when we feel the task is daunting, even when the task seems as simple as stilling our minds, hearts, and bodies at the break of day.
This is my favorite pencil! It is just the right weight, glides on paper like a pen, but erases like a champ! Find it on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002JG10GG/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Download this lock screen as a reminder of the perfect peace offered by the Lord when He is our primary focus. Isaiah 26:3
A reading plan I’ve loosely enjoyed this year: http://www.bibleclassmaterial.com/Magical/images/BCM1/Bible%20Reading%20Schedule%202016%20for%20BCM.pdf
A 3 week Psalms reading plan I created: file:///C:/Users/cause/Downloads/Intermission%20(1).pdf