BY Diana Stone
I was frustrated. Frustrated at my lack of discipline with going to bed on time. Frustrated with not getting in quality time with God each day; it either wasn’t happening or I was giving Him time at the end of the day in complete exhaustion. Frustrated with not getting up on time…and therefore not getting to work on time. I’d been rolling in to work late consistently for several weeks. Overall I felt like I was failing in a lot of areas of life and had been for quite some time.
On a Monday night in late July, I made a resolve to change. It was one of those nights that I hadn’t gotten in time with God yet that day and it was 9:45 pm. I was exhausted after working all day and then spending the evening with a good friend. As I was driving home from my friend’s house I knew I needed to make a change and it needed to be pretty drastic.
Instead of going home and trying to get in some Bible reading that night, I went to bed but set my alarm for extra early. I was going to leave the house early and go to the coffee shop. If I couldn’t be disciplined to make time for what I was communicating was the most important thing in my life – my relationship with God – in my normal “waking” hours I was going to have to start making some changes.
That was nearly 6 months ago and I have only missed a handful of early workday mornings at the coffee shop. In fact, my original goal was that I would go to the coffee shop 3-4 mornings a week. But, when then the first Friday came around (which was going to be my “grace” day), I really wanted to get up because I wanted to make this a habit. And then the second Friday came, and I just wanted to get up because I was enjoying my study of the Word and connecting with God so much. And so it has continued. Some days have been harder to get up than others, but I’ve forced myself out on those days knowing that I would regret it if I didn’t.
It’s hard for me to describe how great this new morning routine has been for me. It’s revived my soul in some incredible ways. It’s allowed me to be more focused each day because I’ve focused myself on Him and His Truth. I’ve been to work on time every day that I’ve gone to the coffee shop. And, because I’m up so early, I’m forced to go to bed at a decent time. I have set a bed time for myself; I don’t always hit it, but I won’t let it be an excuse for not getting up the next morning. At this point it’s a non-negotiable.
The greatest thing though is my attitude and the words that are on my heart and mind! It’s focused on the truth and I can meditate on the scripture I’ve read in the morning all throughout the day.
As I’ve been in the Word, it’s been so much easier to recall scripture that I know and have memorized – and trust me, I’m not good at memorizing!
A few months back, doing the SheReadsTruth study through Proverbs was incredible for me. I felt like there was so much truth that jumped off the pages at me about gaining wisdom. It all culminated in Proverbs 31. I’d read it a million times before, but having just read through the whole book and taking time to study the verses, it was amazing to see how verses 25-26 came alive for me. “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” I remember my first thoughts being “May I be that woman. May the Word so penetrate my heart and life that this is true of me.”
It can be hard to see the changes that are taking place within us when we’re in the midst of them. But, I was struck a few weeks ago when I wasn’t able to make it to the coffee shop for several days due to not feeling well. Near the end of that week I recognized that I was having a really “off” day. Everything was wrong and yet nothing was really wrong at the same time. I just knew something wasn’t right.
As I was getting ready for bed that night I was struck with the thought that I used to have a lot of days like this prior to starting my morning routine. And, that since really making it a habit to get in the Word so consistently, I was having far less of them. Even if the morning started off with some defeated thoughts, I could usually be doing well as I got my heart and mind centered on Him and in the Word. It was one of those “Ahha!” moments.
God has been working in me. He has been changing me. And hopefully allowing me to become a woman like in Proverbs 31:25-26 — for His Glory.