Before the day begins, and by that I mean before you start ‘doing’ all the things you usually do in the day, before you get going and are off and on your way, stop.
What is one of the first things many people do in the morning after settling in and beginning to get ready? People these days go online. It’s 7.38am and I’ve been up since 5.50am (this night owl’s attempts to become more of a morning person are beginning to bring forth some fruit, albeit gradually 🙂 ) and I spent the first hour and a half or so offline, in this beautiful little analogue world 🙂
I encourage you to take some time before ‘switching on’ to the busy, noisy world around you and the online world, as inspiring as it can be, to wait, to breathe in this morning, your own morning, and connect with your own life. How did I spend my time? In prayer, in writing down my thoughts as they came to me, thanking God, gratitude, a little bit of colouring in my yearly planner and a picture I’m working on, drinking tea and eating breakfast without distraction. I feel all the better for it. To be honest my mood wasn’t the best at the start but spending some time just connecting with my own life without comparison has lifted me. I now feel more motivated to continue with my day – prayer, Bible study, exercise, work, and all that the day holds for me. Even if you have just five or ten minutes to spare at first, just take that time, to switch on internally before you switch on any devices. It will help you embrace the day with greater authenticity and inspiration. Be blessed. x
Challenge: What would you do with that ‘analogue time’ in the morning?
Sometimes mornings can be hard. We know what we want our ideal morning routine to be like, but maybe we’ve had a bad sleep, have chronic health problems, wake up in physical pain or simply just “get out on the wrong side of the bed” as the saying goes.
It can be too easy to let our not so great morning experience dictate the rest of the day for us. We might think the day is over before it’s started and already be wishing for another new day, or be thinking about getting everything over and done with and curling up in bed.
But with that outlook, have we given our day a chance? Think of your day as a story, a narrative, a novel in miniature even, and you as the protagonist – the hero or heroine of your story. So, the opening scene happens to be a bit gloomy, but that simply builds suspense and anticipation, for the hero / heroine to find that determination and courageously write a new story for themselves. Look up, have faith, and put your best foot forward, even if your first steps were a bit of a stumble into the day….the day isn’t over yet, give it a chance, who knows, the conclusion of the day’s story might be pretty wonderful indeed! 🙂
Do you ever find that some mornings you wake up and feel bright, positive and eager to make the most of the day ahead, while on others you feel more unsettled about your life and yourself? You know those days, when a thought, a seed of doubt or anxiety creeps in, and suddenly you are drawn towards thinking of the things that make you insecure about yourself as you stand, bleary-eyed in front of the mirror? I am sure that everyone has had mornings like that. And with the thought comes an emotion, and if we’re not careful we can let this slip into a negative frame of mind, and negative ‘self talk’.
Our Creator made us and sees the beauty in us as His Creation, individual, unique, special. And yet our society is so focused on an airbrushed external version of life that we can be left feeling inadequate and critical of ourselves. In the morning, I like to remind myself of the Truth of who God says I am – ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’, precious in His sight, important to and uniquely loved by Him.
Yet, there is another component to our thoughts, and this is what we say to and about ourselves and how we talk to ourselves. No matter what you believe in terms of faith, everyone has ‘self talk’, and the morning is a good time to be aware of how we are approaching our day, what we are saying to ourselves, and find ways to intentionally be kinder to ourselves in our thoughts and actions. Would you say what you are saying to yourself to a friend? If you did, would they still be your friend? If something is amiss, then it’s a good point in the day to change our thoughts before going off into a world that is already critical enough of everyone. We need to be kinder to ourselves, and in turn to others. And don’t you think this morning is as good a time as any to say something kind about yourself? I encourage you, right here, right now, be kind. x
It is 8.58am, and having committed my time into the Hands of my Creator, I am ready to create, to think, ponder, imagine and write. Hopefully as the morning progresses I will settle in and continue in a creative flow. However, first….breakfast, and caffeine! 🙂 Enjoy your day, and more to come later…
It is morning, 8.15 am, and I have been up for around 45 minutes. Last night at around 3.30am I was able to do some more writing, which has brought me a little further along and left me feeling excited as to how things will develop for my characters. I only wrote an additional paragraph, so my word count over the past evening and early morning is a bit over 1,000 words. Thank you for reading my earlier blog posts about preparing for this writing retreat, I am encouraged to share this journey. I have been working on this book on and off for just over ten years, and it is an expression of a deep place within my soul.
I am blessed to have this time off from work, even ‘just’ three days, to savour the creative process and take my time with things.
This morning, the sun is shining and there is a cool, gentle and crisp breeze in the air. It often rains here, so a day like this is a gift, and I am thankful. I can hear the chatter of birdsong through my open window, and I can also hear the rush of traffic over the motorway bridge as commuters make their way to work. I am both cocooned from the world, being on the 10th floor and with my windows laced with tulle to ‘keep the world out’ but also to allow me to observe it. My view overlooks the city, but in the distance I can see hills, trees, a few fluffy clouds, and a pastel blue sky. I awoke with thoughts running through my mind of things I wanted to write, which is lovely, to have that creative flow so early on. I am ‘half ready’ if that makes sense, having prepared myself for the day and got changed into some light and comfortable clothing, but I am not ready enough to go outside. After some refreshing water, I didn’t go straight to writing, but I spent the first 40 minutes or so in prayer and worship and committing my time to God.
Music helps me to quieten myself and be still before God and the lyrics help focus my thoughts and intentions and allow God to guide my heart and purpose.
If you are interested, this has been my morning worship playlist today. The lyrics are beautiful if you take time to listen, and the final song is really a prayer and offering to God and a request for Him to establish the work of our hands, for His glory, for without Him we can do nothing.
I also came across in my ‘reader’ feed a beautiful blog post which inspired me to reflect and I will share a link to that post below. It talks about being humble in our attitudes and what we do, in response to Christ’s humility, and God’s view of those who seem ‘less’ in the eyes of the world. This links to a central theme in my book regarding the transformation of people who have been crushed and downtrodden, to be used mightily as part of a bigger purpose. I will not give too much away, but I was pleased to see this post and the connections that God is leading me to think about.
I recommend that if you are embarking upon a focused time of creativity to begin in quietness and reflection and inspiration, remembering the purpose of what you are doing and the reason behind it. For me, I remind myself that all I do is because of the Love and Sacrifice of my Creator, so to Him I commit this writing retreat, and trust that He will glorify His Great Name and establish the work of my hands.