How I Changed My Whole Day By Changing the First Thing

Beginnings are important.

A few months ago, I found myself on the (more) undesirable end of a lay-off. Anyone who’s been there can attest, it’s a whirlwind-of-a-situation. It left me with more questions about myself, my worth, my direction, my place, than ever before. So lately, I’ve been working at getting my hopes up — at times, more successfully than others.

I had a drink the other day with a friend who runs his own business. Turns out — the beginning of last year wasn’t kind to him. A 3-month drought with no income. Three months. Not a single cent came into his business.

You don’t have to be a entrepreneur in any capacity to empathize with that. That must have been painful. That’s a level of anxiety that keeps you up late into the morning hours. After you wake up from whatever sleep you managed to scrap together, it’s right there — waiting.

Truth be told — I’ve been sleeping like that.

He told me what turned his sleepless nights around, and it starts withs the first thing, each day.

Matthew 6.

This excerpt is from The Message, because my life’s goal is to be even half as peace-filled as Eugene Peterson is:

25–26“If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.
27–29“Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion — do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.
30–33“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers — most of which are never even seen — don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
34“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

Every morning. First thing. Matthew 6.

Before my feet touch the floor of our apartment, I’m reminding myself that a day full of worry — about what might or might not happen — is a day ill-spent. It’s a day distracted from what God is actively doing at this very moment.

It’s reminds me that there is a nuanced, yet important difference between getting something from someone and receiving a gift from someone. God seems to prefer the latter.

It’s my daily reminder that God-reality, God-initiative, God-provision isn’t found by fearfully dreading the future. It’s found by courageously being right here — right now.

Guess what? It’s working.

This doesn’t mean I’m never scared about the future. Sometimes, I still am. But I’m getting better at being brave. I’m getting better at being Hopeful.

Give it a try. Besides maybe one session of the Snooze button, you don’t have anything to lose.

-Clark