The First Seven Minutes

Thursday, June 19, 2014

I have heard that the first seven minutes of the morning set the tone for the entire day. If that is so, why do I so often open up my computer and check the news when I first wake up? It seems rather counterproductive. My true desire is to wake up first praising God and reading His word. But, more times than not, that little voice inside of me says, “Oh, just check what is going on out there. It will only take a minute. Something important may have happened that you need to know about.” When in actuality, all it does is put me in a bad mood. Then, when I do open up my Bible, it takes longer to turn that mood around than if I had opened it up prior to the computer! Those “couple of minutes” that I put before God are a game changer. I end up starting out the day stressed rather than blessed…and who wants that?


So, over the past week, I have been determined to intentionally counteract that stressful trend by putting beauty, the beauty of God, back into my life. To do that, I have been keeping my computer closed until after I’ve spent time listening to God. I’ve even moved where I keep my laptop to take away some of the temptation to just “take a little peek”. You would think this would be easy, but old habits die hard.

Years ago, I always had my quiet time first before anything else in the day. But, over the years, I’ve gotten lazy. I’ve had all sorts of excuses: “I’m still tired.” “My eyes can’t focus this early.” “I need to know what’s happening out there.” “I need to finish my coffee first.” “The house isn’t quiet.” The list could go on and on. Now, this isn’t to say that I hadn’t been having my quiet time at all, I had! In fact, I have been reading and praying often throughout the day. But, what I’ve been noticing is that when I start off my day stressed-out over world events or even local stories, it is very difficult to kick that feeling. A cloud tends to hang over me, and I know that is not what God intends. When I start my day already tense, I put myself at a disadvantage. I’m not as strong as I could have been if I had spent my first seven minutes of the day focusing on the beauty of God.

So, here is my idea. I’ve already started, but I’m going to add more and more beauty, which counters stress, as this plan unfolds.

In the evening before bed:
  1. Put my computer away so it isn’t right where I’ll see it in the morning.
  2. Put my coffee pot on a timer.
  3. Have my Bible, journal, pen, and Bible study on the couch.
  4. Read a quick verse before sleep.

In the morning when I wake:
  1. Grab my coffee (ok, some things are just necessary!)
  2. Open up the back sliding door so I can hear the birds, feel the cool morning air and sense the beauty of His creation.
  3. Sit on the couch, open my Bible, read and pray. I don’t need to have any special agenda. I just want to get His word into me! If I’m still sleepy, that is ok. I know I’ll be spending time with Him later in the day, too! The idea is to start my day off on a positive and beautiful note, and what could be more beautiful than God?

Throughout the day:
  1. Spend time outside. It can be a short time or a long time, but I am going to go outside and feel the breeze, smell the air and see the beauty of the Lord…even if it’s just in my backyard or on the front porch!
  2. Bring flowers or anything else natural inside. A bowl of pine cones or fresh fruit would work, too!
  3. Use a scented candle or “Scentsy” burner.
  4. Play praise music softly.
  5. Pray whenever and wherever!
  6. Choose more times to spend with God, whether it is simply sitting and listening for His voice, reading, studying or praying.

Now, you may be thinking, “What do flowers or scented candles have to do with God?” Well, God in His infinite wisdom gave us senses. He also gave us the ability to observe and appreciate beauty. Seeing something beautiful is not necessary to live and breathe, but since He gave us the ability, there must be a good reason. Part of the reason, I believe, is to give us pleasure and to increase our awareness of Him. Who hasn’t marveled at a breathtaking sunset or heard the first bird song of the day and not felt the presence of God? He is all around us and we can see His beauty in all He has created. By surrounding ourselves with His beauty, our stress levels will lower. That is why I’m adding more of His beauty to my daily routine.

“The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength.” Psalm 23:1-3

I’ll let you know how this goes! And, I’d love it if you’d share, in the comments below, some of your ideas for adding beauty to your day.

Feeling blessed,

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16 comments

  1. I get up early to spend time with my Lord, but I hadn't thought of closing the day with His word. I usually breathe a prayer of thanks as I collapse into bed. I feel convicted to read a bit before going to bed. Note: BEFORE I get in bed! After that, its lights out for me! ;) busy mom typing here! Thank you for this encouragement! Blessings!

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  2. Hi Kaylene! One thing I've noticed about reading a bit before bed is that my dreams are sweeter. A few months ago I was having trouble with nightmares (due to a painful situation in my life at the time). The nights when I read a few verses or a passage in the Bible I slept so much more restfully. Sometimes I even dreamed about what I had read! God is so good and His word is living and active!!


    Blessings, Joan


    P.S. I know what you mean about "before" bed! Once I hit the sheets my eyes really start to droop!

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  3. Yeah, the news isn't that great lately, is it? I also have a terrible time starting my day. Not a morning person in the slightest. But I really like your morning plan, and I couldn't agree more with your determination to be outside every day. I live surrounded by beautiful trees, and there are days that go by that I never venture outside! Besides your admonition to start the day with God and His Word, this push *outside* is what I'm going to take with me today!


    GOD BLESS!

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  4. I know when I start my day in prayer, things certainly go better. I love the idea of 7 minutes. very doable. I have learned the hard way to turn the computer off at night too. too tempting in the morning to check emails, then pray. God first! coming over from Thought provoking Thursday and glad I did!

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  5. I've been wanting to take one of my mornings outside. I have a wonderful patio and this would be a wonderful way to remove me from distractions... that silly computer! Okay, I really needed this because I really want that time with Him but I am letting to many things keep me from that quality time. So friend, I'm joining you. I agree . . . coffee first though. Thank you for sharing this. Love you.

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  6. Awesome, Sharon! Being outside, enjoying even a few minutes in His creation is so soothing! I went outside an hour ago and watered my flowers and felt His peace well up in me!


    Blessings, Joan

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  7. Hi Jean and welcome! I agree...7 minutes is very doable! And, knowing that I can also meet with Him throughout the day takes away some of the pressure to "get it right" first thing in the morning when I'm half asleep! LOL


    Blessings, Joan

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  8. Yup...that silly computer sure takes us over, doesn't it? LOL Fortunately, it will still be there once we have given that precious time to God! Summer is a perfect time to sit outside with our Bibles in the mornings...and of course our coffee!


    Love you, too! Joan

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  9. Joan,

    This is a great post. I agree with you that putting God and His Word first is the best way to start the day. I've found that it helps me to face the day, it's challenges and blessings, through His lens.

    Lord bless...Susan

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  10. Thanks, Susan! When we start the morning with God, we gain strength (and peace) to get us through all the things we will face that day! I'm so glad I'm renewing my determination to do this!


    Blessings, Joan

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  11. Joan, I love this. Most mornings I grab my coffee (you're right it's important) and then spend time with The Lord. I really like your evening discipline and adding nature too. I think borrow your plan. :-)

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  12. It's been going well so far! I'm glad you're thinking of adding a couple of elements to your day as well! Adding nature, especially, has really been uplifting to me!

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  13. I enjoyed your article. I'm like you. If I spend a short time on the porch each morning, I feel so much better. Usually, I have nothing in my hands. I just like to feel the "breeze" or sunshine. I like to look into the trees to see if I can spot a bird. I also like to look at the squirrels eating. There is always something in nature that refreshes me. I have taken away many good ideas from your article. It was very inspiring. Thank you.

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  14. I'm so glad you were encouraged today! I love how God makes Himself so obvious out in nature! His creation is incredible! Yesterday my husband and I went for a great hike in the Sierra Nevada mountains and thoroughly enjoyed all the beauty God had waiting for us there! Blessings, Joan

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  15. Touched a nerve with me there, Joan. I always claim I am not awake properly until I have had my coffee. Yes I should leave my things ready to be there to quickly lift in the morning too. Places to sit, things ready and easy to lift and the quick coffee can mean new better habits being formed.

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  16. Hi Sandra! It has really helped me to have things ready to go when I get up! Plus, remembering that it is ok if I'm sleepy and God understands has been such a relief!


    Blessings, Joan

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