The First Seven MinutesThursday, June 19, 2014
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:
- Put my computer away so it isn’t right where I’ll see it in the morning.
- Put my coffee pot on a timer.
- Have my Bible, journal, pen, and Bible study on the couch.
- Read a quick verse before sleep.
In the morning when I wake:
- Grab my coffee (ok, some things are just necessary!)
- Open up the back sliding door so I can hear the birds, feel the cool morning air and sense the beauty of His creation.
- 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:
- 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!
- Bring flowers or anything else natural inside. A bowl of pine cones or fresh fruit would work, too!
- Use a scented candle or “Scentsy” burner.
- Play praise music softly.
- Pray whenever and wherever!
- 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.
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.