Those first few hours after you wake up - have you given them much thought? The alarm goes off, you get out of bed, grab your phone on the way to the bathroom, check the time, check the weather, and maybe even go to a Bible app to read a devotion. At this point, do you put your phone down and get on with your day? Or do you continue mindlessly scrolling through social media or begin checking text messages and email?
Before you know it, you’ve wasted thirty minutes or more of your already limited morning time doing something that provides little to no value for your day. Then you hurriedly walk through the house and immediately start doing things - doing the laundry, doing the dishes, feeding the dog, preparing food, waking up your children, getting your children fed and dressed for the day - a flurry of activity to get a jumpstart on your never-ending task list. These same activities will need to be done tomorrow and the next day and the next, and while you do have a sense of accomplishment that these tasks are done for the day, there’s no deep sense of fulfillment for your soul.
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The Need for Spiritual Practices
A quick glance at the time sends you scurrying back to the bedroom to take a fast shower, get dressed and hurry out the door to work, to take your children to school, or to do whatever else is on your agenda for that day.
Is there a better way to start your day? What would it look like to be proactive instead of reactive in the morning, to begin from a place of quiet where you can hear God speak to you instead of having the noise from social media fill your mind first thing in the morning? To nourish your soul instead of starving your soul, to master your morning instead of letting it master you?
God never intended for his beloved children to live life at such a hurried, fast pace where you wake up every morning, fill your mind with information that stresses and overwhelms you, and do, do, do before you rush out the door to do the next thing. You probably know this isn’t an ideal way to start your day because of the way you feel as you go through your day. Is there a sense of frustration that you never seem to be able to do what matters to you deep down inside?
Maybe you want to spend time reading your actual Bible in the mornings and writing down what stands out to you instead of just reading from a Bible app on your phone, but there never seems to be a moment to sit still and do that. You want to exercise in the mornings, but something else or someone else is always calling for your attention, and then there is no time left before you have to either leave the house or get started on school work with your children or something else specific to your life situation.
What practices can you put in place during those first few hours after you wake up that will equip you for the day and help you feel energized, as well as nourish your soul?
Let's walk through five tips to better master your morning:
1. Eliminate Your Phone from the Morning Routine
Research done in 2013 by the International Data Group showed that 80 percent of smartphone users checked their phones within 15 minutes of waking up each morning. With the increase in smartphone usage over the years, this percentage is surely higher in 2022. Not only can checking your phone first thing in the morning create stress and make you feel overwhelmed, but it also sabotages your day before it has a chance to get started.
Tristan Harris, co-founder of the Center for Humane Technology, says that your phone can be distracting and derail your focus while also making you feel like you are missing out on something important that may have been posted while you were sleeping. Your focus for the day won’t be what it could have been if you had started your day off differently.
Use an alarm clock to wake up instead of the alarm on your phone.
Put your phone away from your bed or in another room to charge during the night so you aren’t tempted to pick it up right away when you wake up.
Practice not looking at your phone until your morning routine is completed.
2. Start Your Day with God and His Word.
John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” God’s Word is powerful and brings life and purpose to what you do every day. Because of that, your enemy, Satan, does not want you to have time to read God’s Word, memorize God’s Word, or reflect on what it says. You can stay defeated when you don’t have time to arm yourself daily with God’s Word.
The good news is that God provides protection from Satan (Psalm 28:7). Filling yourself up with God’s Word will give you the tools you need to defeat Satan when he comes against you. God wants you to enjoy a full life - not just surviving, but thriving. In order to do that you have to intentionally fill your mind, your heart, and your schedule with God and His Word (1Chronicles 16:11).
Spend time in prayer talking to God about your day and listening for His direction. (Psalm 5:3)
Read and meditate on a Bible passage.
Work on memorizing a Bible verse.
Listen to worship music while you are getting ready for the day.
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3. Evaluate What's Important to You
Different seasons of life require different things from you. What’s important to you right now in the way you live and work? When you know what your values are, you can use them to make decisions about how you will start your day. Doing things that you value can give you energy and a sense of fulfillment.
What makes you feel like you have cared for yourself emotionally, spiritually, and physically? Does time spent journaling, getting thoughts, dreams, and/or creative ideas on paper nourish your soul?
If spirituality is a high value for you, how does quiet time alone with God reading the Bible make you feel? What value does exercise meet for you?
Determine what you need and what you value.
Make a list of what nourishes you emotionally, spiritually, and physically.
Needs and Values - Identify your 5 core needs and 5 core values. This discovery process also includes a coaching call which gives you space to examine your specific needs and values and how they show up in your life.
4. Determine How Much Time You Have Available.
What are your non-negotiables that have to be done every morning? A few examples may be feeding your dog and preparing breakfast for your family. How much uninterrupted time do you have available where no one is calling for your attention and nothing else is required of you? Wouldn’t it be nice to have some time just for you - to do things that nourish your soul and fill you up? What might need to happen to give you more uninterrupted time?
Write down how much time is required for your non-negotiables listed above.
List how much time is ideal for your uninterrupted time mentioned above.
5. Create a Plan for Your Morning
At this point, you’ve listed what brings value to your morning, what must be done each morning, and how much time you have available to do one or more of the things that you value. What will you do to care for yourself emotionally? What helps you grow spiritually? What do you need to care for yourself physically? Begin to craft a morning routine by writing down how you want your morning to look.
How many mornings per week will you work on your emotional wellness? How much time is needed?
How many mornings per week will you work on your spiritual wellness? How much time is needed?
How many mornings per week will you work on your physical wellness? How much time is needed?
What other non-negotiables need to be filled into your morning schedule? How much time will be needed for these items?
Master Your Morning Group Coaching - This is for you if you enjoy group accountability and community with other Christian ladies to create a workable morning routine that fits your season of life and what you value. Needs and Values Discovery is a special bonus with this group program.
Mastering your morning is something that will take effort, and it won’t be perfect or always happen every day. The important thing to remember is there is no failure, only learning as you begin doing things that bring value to your day and to your life. Remember to give yourself grace as you implement your morning plan. Try it on, see how it fits, make alterations where needed so that it works for who God created you to be.
Planning what you do as you start your day will give you focus and allow you to spend your time based on what you value. This will bring meaning and purpose to your day. You will have more confidence, be more energized, and have a deep sense of fulfillment. Being in control of your day and having a plan to master your morning will set the tone for the remainder of the day, leaving you feeling peaceful and filled with joy throughout your day.
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Olga PS
Originally published Wednesday, 09 March 2022.