As an overall eternally optimistic, enneagram 7, focusing on the negative parts of life is not my favorite. And by not my favorite, I mean that it’s something I avoid when at all possible. But with the in-your-face challenges happening now and over the past year, even my best efforts of silver lining obsession have fallen short. Instead, I have at times found myself overly immersed in what’s going on in our nation and have been one to guzzle social media like cold water after a long run, or wait, maybe a margarita after a hard day. The other day I realized that I hadn’t even had any coffee before diving into the world of Instagram and Facebook, taking in whatever I could and wanting to be up to date with current events. Whoa. Not even coffee first? That’s a bad place to be.
I thought about my misstep all day long because, as a follower of Jesus, I want to be the type of person who dives headfirst into a relationship with God when I wake up in the morning. I want my frame of mind, my perception of reality, and my reaction to what’s going on around me to all be rooted and anchored in God. I talked with a friend about this and have since recommitted to not allowing social media to be the propeller of my day.
So what do I do instead? How do I keep myself and my family focused on God daily, especially in times like right now that feel chaotic and overwhelming?
First, I open my Bible right when I wake up (ok, right after getting my coffee). In this season of life, I’ve accepted that I’m not going to wake up before my kids and I don’t feel bad about that. As much as I love total peace and quiet in the mornings, with a nursing baby and two other kiddos who often find their way into our room at night that’s just not going to happen. So, I get creative! I set up little activities for my big girls to wake up to and I take the first ten to twenty minutes (pending how great the activity is) to read my Bible and a short devotional. Last year I loved Risen Motherhood by Emily Jensen and Laura Wifler. I’m currently enjoying Like Without Lack: Living in the Fullness of Psalm 23 by Dallas Willlard. I drink water and coffee and let my girls know that I’ll play with them as soon as I’m done. Sure, I get interrupted but overall they know the routine and accept it. Getting the Word of God and wisdom from a devotional in my heart first thing that propels me forward into the day with hope and encouragement.
While making breakfast, I always have worship music playing. I love hearing my little ones sing along and since I’m not the best at knowing current music trends, I’m thankful for the recommendations from my husband or friends. Recently though, I’ve loved turning on classic hymns and old school worship music. There’s something about them that brings me a lot of peace. I love the Vintage Album by Shane and Shane and have also been enjoying the Instrumentals album by Hillsong.
Each week, my two older girls memorize a scripture. It’s usually something short, but talking about and practicing the verse is an easy and encouraging way to keep the truth in front of us. I’ll also write scripture down on a notecard and tape it to a kitchen cabinet so I see it and be reminded throughout the day.
Lastly, at night before I go to bed when the house IS actually quiet, I listen to a reading from the Lectio365 or Hallow app or the Pray as You Go podcast, all of which have scripture and liturgy readings for each day. I love ending my day by again filling my mind and heart with the truth of God’s word.
Now, more than ever, I feel the urgency to focus my heart on God in simple ways as much as I can. Yes, there are absolutely times to take action or to have difficult conversations, but I want to do those things out of a place of being connected to God. This doesn’t keep me insulated from the hard realities of the present or somehow make me feel like life is all sunshine and roses, but I do find myself able to take in the news and social media with significantly more peace. I’m not talking about fake escapism based on false reality but a real, true peace anchored in the knowledge that no matter what the day brings, God is with me.