Saturday, August 15, 2015

First Things First

I cherish arising early while darkness still covers my little area of the country. The house is serenely quiet, enabling me to spend focused time with the Lord. As my nostrils fill with the heady aroma of freshly made coffee and I gather my study items at the kitchen table, I often say a quick prayer for discernment and understanding.

Most mornings I read several daily devotionals along with a chapter in the Bible. I look up the referenced Bible verses from the devotionals, including the verses before and after, to better understand the context of the message. Sometimes this simple act takes me on amazing rabbit trails where God graciously speaks to me concerning a current trial in my life. I love being reminded that, “He’s got this,” as the Lord lifts the burden I’ve mistakenly placed on myself. I give thanks that He is still on the throne – still in control. Spending this time alone with the Lord and putting on my spiritual armor (especially necessary in these challenging times we live in) helps keep me at peace.

But I have to admit; sometimes staying focused each morning is a struggle. Sitting still and keeping my mind from wandering can be challenging—I have to continually rein it in. Otherwise, it can be impossible to discern His still small voice. Before reading my first devotional, “to-do” lists a mile long can easily be scribbled down. And it doesn’t help that I’m considered to be a “senior” by many standards. My aging brain knows if I don’t capture thoughts as they enter in, forget it. They are history.

This mental struggle used to create frustration and conflict. And then I had a lightbulb moment. I actually...prayed about it. (Yeah, heavy, I know.) Sometimes the simplest answer is literally staring you right in the face.

And God’s response to that prayer? For me to compromise just a little. By keeping a small tablet barely within reach I can quickly jot down the list of to-do items as they crowd in, but I keep my Bible and journal directly in front of me to capture “God thoughts” or “divine messages.” For me this system works. I’m able to keep the main thing the main thing, retaining my priority of staying focused on the Lord.

God created our amazing mind and He wants us to use it wisely. He also created us as spirit beings. He longs to fellowship with us throughout the day. We can do both, and have peace amidst the storm, as long as we remember to put Him first.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

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