Sunday, October 24, 2010

Early Mornings

This past week went by way too fast. It's that time of the year when things are starting to really get up to speed. All the papers are due, the midterms are everywhere, quizzes, and lots of catching up on what was skipped. On the other hand, this week was surprisingly very productive for me. I was able to get a lot of my school work done and prepare myself for an even busier week this week! 2 large and important midterms, 2 quizzes and a 10 page paper due. wow.

Between the craziness of school and life in general was another spiritual discipline. This past week I made a rule. It was a rule I used to have for quite some time until life got a hold of me. I was in the rhythm of reading scripture every morning. That was the first thing I would do in the morning when I woke up. I would read scripture and pray. Well, I signed myself up for an 8:00 am class and I commute 40 minutes, meaning I would have to wake up at about 5:30/6:00 am... ha. That was not about to happen and I quickly got rid of my morning readings.

Well.. for this weeks discipline, I placed that idea back into my head and thought about what was important. I could easily go to bed a little bit earlier. I was thinking to myself, is God not important enough to me to get up 30 minutes earlier to spend time with him alone while everyone else is still asleep? Whoop. There's an easy way to have instant conviction! I woke up early and read scripture in the morning this week. Oh my - it changed my week around too. Previous to this, I was always on edge. Someone would say something and I would be instantly annoyed or angered. I would pray and confess to God and I didn't understand why my heart was reacting that way. It became very obvious to me because I was not in the Word as much. God's Word is ALIVE. It's real and it's active! Even when I fail to believe it, I begin reading and God knocks me back into reality.

This practice is called 'rule for life'. The idea behind it is "to live a sane and holy rhythm that reflects a deep love for God and respect for how he has made me." - Calhoun. Well friends, that is exactly what it did. I'll be honest.. this might sound pathetic, but I have been very stressed. Along with stress, I sometimes get.. yes.. zits. I hate them. I used to have acne back in like 8th grade and it was very embarrassing and hard for me. Well I feel like I'm back in 8th grade. Out of no where my face developed zits the size of Mount Rushmore, Texas, Canada and Russia. Okay - major exaggeration.. but the point being they are big.. and there are a lot of them. So - I instantly was complaining and talking very negatively about myself. We had these professional photographers come into our class on Monday for pictures for the school website and stuff, well I hoped and prayed they would not pick me. Guess what... yup, they did. The guy looked directly at me and wanted a personal snapshot of my face. Anyways - going back to the point of living a life of respect for how God has made me. Once I started reading in the mornings, things began to change. It's been a while since I looked at myself in the mirror and truly thanked God for the way he made me. The past two weeks and beginning of last week I was complaining about myself and all of a sudden, one night I was on the phone and I was talking with someone about how I am made in the image of God and that he made me beautiful. I will repeat it - he made me beautiful! He made me just the way I am and if he wanted me to look different or be different, he would have made me that way. Instead I was thanking and embracing the person God created me to be.

It's so amazing and encouraging to see the work God does through scripture. It's so important to have that time to read so we can learn and listen to God speak truth to us. Waking up a little bit earlier each morning is worth the sacrifice of losing sleep to deepen my love for the Lord and know more truth about myself. For others, it might be in the evening when it's best for you do to your reading. Not everyone needs to read in the morning, but for myself, I enjoy reading in the morning. It starts my day out with the focus on God instead of myself. Then, throughout the entire day I experience and see God at work and I go about my days from a completely different perspective. I am filled with the Holy Spirit and I can sense him moving through me too! I love it.

These are disciplines, but healthy disciplines. They are intentional rules to make changes in schedules to grow deeper in love with God and appreciation for how he made us. The rule or rhythm should be realistic, something that is achievable. Nothing legalistic or a burden. Calhoun says "It addresses your world, your sphere, of influence, your fears of loss of productivity, your relationships. It takes into account where you need to stretch and change as well as where you are tired and need balance." I like that - the rule for life is going to look different for every individual according to their personal circumstances.

What needs to be your rule for life? Where do you need to put something into place or take something out to make your love for God grow?

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