Tax season. Sigh. I’m a tax accountant by trade, so you would think I’d be unshakeable, but doing our taxes made me feel so…overwhelmed. Welcome to the club, right? But this was a different kind of overwhelmed, because right in front of me, amidst the pile of receipts and statements, emerged a picture of drastic change.
2015 was a year cut right down the middle – old life versus new life. We had footprints in two states, a cross-country move, and career changes that include owning a new business. And that was just the beginning. By the time I finished I was overwhelmed…with joy and gratitude. Things really had changed, and it was beautiful. Even through the eyes of a tedious tax return.
But it leads to the question…what really changed? So many things are different now, but it boils down to one major change that fuels all the rest.
I started seeking Him first.
I stopped just saying God was first in my life, and I started living that way.
I started out thinking I would only be literal for a little while, just to set the right frame of mind. I firmly believe that if you do something for 2 weeks, no backing out, you will know whether it’s a habit worth keeping or not. So I set my alarm for 15 minutes earlier than usual, and I was determined to pray first thing in the morning – to literally put Him first.
The first few times were rough. I didn’t really know how to pray. It was hard for my over-productive ego to feel like it was worth my time if I couldn’t do it right and quickly see some real results. But I was not going to back down from my 2 week requirement. It had worked for other life changes like exercise and diet and quitting Candy Crush, and this felt way more important than those things.
Being stubborn worked to my advantage.
An interesting thing started happening. I started craving that morning time with God. Longing for more. So I set my alarm for 30 minutes earlier than usual, and I added Bible reading to my morning routine. No, I didn’t know how to really read the Bible either. I had attempted it many times before and failed. But again, I told myself I’d try it for 2 weeks. I can do anything for 2 weeks!
I prayed for God to speak to me through His Word, I flipped open to whatever page I landed on, and searched for meaning in the verses. Some days were still rough, but more often than not, I was so inspired by what He was saying to me that I didn’t want to stop reading. I would glare at the second alarm that was annoyingly reminding me it was time to get on with my day.
By this time, several weeks had gone by, and I started noticing a major difference in my life. I was happier. More emotionally stable. More calm. My days were flowing better. Not because stressful things stopped happening, but because they failed to stress me out anymore. Less stress allowed room for my relationships to improve. I felt more loved and less bitter. His Word was staying with me throughout the day, flowing through my veins, fueling my actions and reactions. I was different.
I am changed.
The cravings didn’t stop at the end of each 2 week goal I set for myself. They got stronger. I threw the 2 weeks out the window and decided this was more than a habit. It was a way of life.
I moved on from casually flipping pages in the Bible to really studying it. There are tons of resources out there to help you get started. I highly recommend First 5 and IF:Equip, but google it and find a resource that fuels your desire to know God better. My morning time has evolved from 15 minutes to an hour and 15 minutes, and much longer on the weekends. It often consumes my lunch hour and I spend more time with Him before bed.
With all this time used, do I still have a life? YES. A life that is fueled by God. A life that is exploding with love and light and miracles and blessings.
Why? Because I asked Him for it. I started seeking Him and He showed me where to find Him.
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. ~Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV)
All the night owls are probably wondering, does it really have to happen first thing in the morning? Yes, I think it really does. It sets the tone. If I give Satan one hint of distraction first, he tramples all over my day. If I give God my attention and praise first, He empowers my day. He gives me the strength to make the right decisions and choose the right actions and love the people that are tough to love. I can’t do that on my own, I’ve proven it.
When I feel that tug of not wanting to roll out of bed so early, I ask myself what am I willing to roll out of bed for? What does finally get me moving? Work? My family? Chores? I can’t do any of that well without God’s guidance. So why would I risk starting my day without Him?
Don’t give Satan the satisfaction of distraction. Intentionally give God your attention.
He wants you to know Him. You can’t know Him if you don’t make time for Him. And knowing Him is worth any sacrifice, especially the first moments of your day. Seek Him with an honest heart for 2 weeks, no backing out. Let the resulting changes fuel a life-altering journey with Him on your path to eternity.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. ~ Matthew 6:33 (NIV)
Still wavering? Let Lauren Daigle convince you. Lauren Daigle – First