In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. [Psalm 5:3 NIV]
As I write this, I am at Lake Junaluska, NC, on a spiritual retreat called the "Festival of Wisdom and Grace," an event I attend each year. It is a time to get away for some rest and renewal. Each morning we gathered for a devotion and communion at lakeside, surrounded by the beauty of God’s creation. There is something about being away from our normal setting to take away our distractions that typically hinder us in our walk with God. And boy, was I in a different place! I looked up at the mountains surrounding the lake, shrouded in the morning fog and it was obvious that I wasn’t in Florida anymore.
It was a perfect setting to start a day, anticipating what it will bring. What is typically the first thing on my mind when I wake up to a new day? “I’m tired and I have a lot to do today.” Being away from my normal routine, I asked myself, “why can’t all days be like this day in the mountains?” Why not let the first thing on my mind be God, instead of “I need to get so much done today?” Switch the focus to God and not on myself. “Lord, help me this day, I need you.” If our focus is on us, it’s no wonder that we feel overburdened.
Start each day with the assurances of God. God has gone before us, so we can trust Him on our path.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8
The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? Psalm 118:6
We need to reframe ourselves each morning to see the day before us in God’s eyes—that we are to simply love God and love others. This singular focus sets the agenda for our morning and for our whole day. Love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, so that we may love our neighbors, and serve our neighbors. Ask God for the strength to face whatever the day may bring.
At the start of a new day, remind yourself that you are created in the image of God, just as God wanted you to be—that you are a child of God. Go into the day with quiet confidence and know that the Lord is with you.
The challenge for me as I return home is how can I keep my focus on God each day? That is indeed a question for all of us.