Morning RhythmsJump To Recipe
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I've lived a lot of my life with what feels like a curtain drawn over it, like I could kind of see, but not really. Over the years I've had a couple of big goals that drove me, and they are great goals that still guide my life today. I wouldn't change that. That's the part of life I could see. But there's more to it and God has sent a few voices into my life to lift that curtain a little farther, to teach me to stop, to take notice of how God is moving in my life, to ask myself questions like, "Do I love this? Hate it? Which people give life or steal joy? What is important to me? Do I live with those priorities in mind?" I'm encouraged to be mindful of my daily habits. That practice helps me catch parts of life I think I was missing before.
One voice that has been particularly helpful is that of Emily P. Freeman, host of, “The Next Right Thing" podcast. She's the author of several books, and I'll include links to those at the end of this post. The thing about Emily is that she's mindful. She builds her life around rhythms that she uses to reflect back on how she sees God at work in her life and circumstances, or even relationships that are life-giving or life-draining. Then she uses her observations to shape her life. Her mindfulness and reflection help her see her life more clearly. Her rhythms are daily, monthly, quarterly, even yearly practices that facilitate mindfulness and reflection.
The Bigger Picture
While I have lived, and still do, with a larger picture in mind, it's those small daily choices that add up to great impact and serve my larger picture in a more consistent way. Having a rhythm, a set thing that happens every day, is a great way to already have some decisions made ahead of time. Before I even get out of bed, I know that coffee, breakfast, and time with Jesus are waiting for me. That morning rhythm enables me to make smaller decisions better because I'm tapped into God. It’s easier for me to live with my larger goals at the front of my daily priorities. My priorities have a very set order, and when one of them is out of place, or neglected, my life shifts in a negative way.
How Do I Order My Priorities?
I've tried to order my life the way I see God outline it for me in His Word. With that in mind, my priorities line up as follows:
1. My relationship with God.
This is why I was created. It’s why I'm here on this earth. Yes, God has specific plans and works for me to accomplish, but this is the foundation on which those plans, and all that I am, are to be built. God lays it out for us in Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and Jesus confirms it in his conversation with one of the scribes, shortly before his crucifixion, in Mark 12:28-31. Here it is from Deuteronomy...
"Hear, O Israel: The LORD your God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might."
So, the question I ask myself is, "If I don't live with my relationship with God as the highest priority of my life, what meaning does my life have? How can I possibly be living my best, most purpose-filled life if God is not at the center of everything?" As a result of this being paramount in my life, I have learned that Jesus is the very best of friends, that God is the air I breathe, and food for my hungry soul. He is everything and life without him is a miserable affair.
2. My marriage.
The joining of Adam and Eve is the first relationship God created after his own relationship with humans. That's important. God records this in the words of Adam,
“'This, at last, is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.' Therefore, a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:23)
This is so prophetic because, as the first created people, Adam and Eve had no mother or father. But God knew the pull that family would have over men and women and set this relationship aside as most important, even beyond the bond of parent and child. So much depends on my marriage. We all have friends whose lives have been devastated by divorce. We see the heartbreak in them and their children. Bringing two individuals together, with all of their past baggage and beliefs, is hard. Weathering the storms of life is hard. Battling stale routines and keeping it fresh and alive is hard. Marriage is hard. But the reward outweighs the effort. Kids have a stable home in which to grow and develop. We have someone to do life with, someone to cry with and laugh with and work with and be with. Someone to grow with. Someone to grow old with. If my relationship with God is neglected, I'm not living in him and he is not working through me. I cannot be the wife that does the hard things. Which means my marriage is in jeopardy. Priority number one empowers priority number two. And they both equip me for priority number three.
More specifically, our children. We have four. From the time they were born, there have been two things I have wanted more than almost anything on this earth. First, for them not to fall to the devil and his deceit. And second, for them to fall for Jesus Christ and his love and faithfulness. This has never been far from my thoughts or daily process, especially when the kids were little. With two children officially launched into this world and only two at home, an empty nest is coming quickly. It is the most amazing thing to watch them become the people God created them to be. They are growing into themselves and I love just listening in on the banter and conversation that swirls around our house when they are all home. There is nothing that can compare with being in harmony with my God, my husband, and my children. Nothing causes heartache as deep or as quick as when any of those relationships are fractured or strained. It's more than worth it to live my life according to these three priorities.
Choosing to have a morning rhythm that centers on time with God, positions me to start my day with my priorities in order. Like I said, coffee, breakfast, and Jesus are the magic combination for me. I sit in the quiet and listen to and read God's Word. There is a devotion app that I use religiously. It's called Glorify. Some mornings I implement Emily's daily practice of PRWRP, which is Pray, Read, Write, Read, Pray. She tells us all about it in Episode 90: Start with This Simple Rhythm.
What Happens When My Rhythm Is Off?
There are times when I neglect my morning routine. Weekends are often times for later mornings and, as a result, more people about the house which doesn't lend itself to that quiet time with God. Vacation is another time when my routine is just off. In both instances, when the weekend is over or we come home, my soul is thirsty. My fuse is shorter. Joy and positivity are a little farther away from my grasp. Things are just not right with me and I can't wait to get back into that routine that sets me up to plug into God for the strength, wisdom, and grace to navigate each day. Who knows what that day may bring, but if I'm already tapped into God's presence in me, it's just a better day. Whether that day is a challenge or a breeze, life is simply better with God. Even in the crazy, there is order in my spirit.
If you’re looking for a few resources to help simplify your life, or maybe even just a quiet moment for your soul to breathe (Emily’s word’s there), here are a few offerings from Emily P. Freeman.
Books by Emily
For the girls in your life…
Guest post by Julie Moore.