YOUR MORNING MATTERS!
If you want to feel better, be better, or live better – add Daily Intention to Your Morning Devotions. Even if you’re not a morning person — ESPECIALLY if you’re not a morning person!
Do you feel like you are not living your best “you”?
Like there has to be a better way to get through the day?
Do you ever just feel stuck?
If you just want to feel better, be better, or live better …
You are not alone! A few thousand years ago, even the apostle Paul voiced, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (Romans 7:15)
Sometime we feel stuck in the grime.
A struggling marriage. A less-than-joyful job. Grief. Depression. Bad habits.
“When we feel stuck, we question our core purpose, our life’s path, and even our past and future decisions.” PhD Paula Durlofsky continues, “Feeling stuck makes our lives seem confusing, hopeless and uninspired, and it’s not a surprise to learn that feeling stuck often underlies anxiety, sadness, depression and substance abuse.”
We are not supposed to live a life half-lived.
God did not design us to feel defeated at the end of the day.
DAILY INTENTIONS HELP YOU CREATE A BETTER DAY
Whether you feel stuck, or simply want to feel better about life, Daily Intentions can set you on the Path of Change.
- Experience More Peace
- Think with Increased Clarity
- Make Better Decisions
- Live Your Values more Consistently
- Connect with the Self you were Created to Be
What is a Daily Intention?
If you are unfamiliar with daily intentions, an INTENTION is a guiding principle for how you want to live or be. It is a choice. It’s just one word. One concept. Like Peace. Contentment. Kindness.
A DAILY INTENTION is committing to that one principle for an entire day. It is an intentional focus.
What is a Christian Intention?
A CHRISTIAN INTENTION is a principle that is clearly under the Lordship of Christ. Scriptural. Indisputably based in the Christian Bible. A few examples would be: Joy. Kindness. Humility.
So, a Christian Daily Intention should …
- get the dominoes of your day falling in the right direction
- acknowledge God’s Sovereignty and Our Dependence
- set your path by CHOOSING AHEAD of a situation
WE ARE LARGELY UNAWARE OF OUR DAILY CHOICES
Our lives are full of choices. The vast majority are made subconsciously.
The speed of our society sets us on autopilot, leaving most of our daily choices without conscious thought. By the time we hit lunch hour, we have flown through thousands of choices! Unaware we have even made them.
Our busy days fill with relentless demands, unrealistic expectations and excessive noise.
Rush, stress, and noise CHOKE INTENTION out of our hearts and our minds.
Every minute of every day we are faced with the tension of Love and Hate. Silence and Speaking. Acceptance and Refusal. Humility and Pride. And more.
If you are unaware of the tension, you are unaware of INTENTION.
To STOP and CHOOSE seems counterculture.
Realistically we can’t consciously stop and think about each of the 35,000 choices psychologists say we make on any given day!
But, by recalling our values, our guiding principles, we can consciously change course.
Bring your values to the forefront, and watch your choices begin to align with your beliefs. New habits develop which, in turn, affects the outcome of your day.
Choosing is necessary if you want to live free. If you want to find peace. If you want to feel whole.
SET YOUR MIND ON THINGS ABOVE WITH YOUR MORNING DEVOTIONS
In the current trend of MINDFULNESS more people are becoming aware of INTENTIONS.
If you search the internet for the concept of “Intentions,” you will find it mostly in the context of mindfulness, Buddhism, yoga, and other eastern practices.
However, don’t dismiss “Intentions” because you are a Jesus-loving, Bible-believing Christian! There is nothing unorthodox to Christianity about Intentions.
Joshua 24:15 says, “…Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.”
And THAT, is Intention.
God talks clearly about choice throughout scripture.
So while I have not found the topic of Intention written about in a purely Christian context, the Bible speaks clearly about choosing our thoughts and setting our minds.
Colossians 3:2 says, “SET YOUR MINDS on things above, not on earthly things.”
Philippians 4:8 instructs, “FIX YOUR THOUGHTS on what is true, and honorable, and right…”
Isaiah 26:3 declares, “You will keep in perfect peace Him whose MIND IS STEADFAST.”
2 Corinthians 10:5 reads, “TAKE CAPTIVE EVERY THOUGHT and make it obedient to the mind of Christ.”
We are commanded to meditate on His word. To choose this day. To live in intention.
The opposite of this is being tossed by the wind. By circumstance. By our emotions.
So, how do we take our thoughts captive? How do we FIX our thoughts? Here’s where Christian Intentions come in!
3 STEPS TO PRACTICE A DAILY CHRISTIAN INTENTION
In our intellectual society, as well as our modern Christian practices, we have become information collectors. Learners of good things.
But in learning so much so fast, we can miss the life practice. Practice is what develops habit. And habits lead to change.
So let’s practice today. Our Sample Intention is HUMILITY.
Three steps to Practice a Daily Christian Intention:
1) COMMIT YOUR WILL
- Decide to Practice This Intention Today
- Say aloud: Today I Choose Humility
2) ACT ON YOUR COMMITMENT
- Read the Prayer of Intention as you wake. First thing, while still lying on your bed. If you can, read it aloud.
- Remind with the Supporting Scripture. Print it and post in your frequented places: your car, your desk, your purse, the kitchen counter, the bathroom mirror. Remind yourself.
- Attach a Memory Trigger to your person. It could be something in your pocket (a penny, a stone, the printed scripture). Maybe a piece of jewelry. Or even write a tiny “H” for Humility on your wrist. (I’m not implying anything magical about a Memory Trigger. It is simply a reminder. Whenever you touch it, simply speak the word Humility.)
3) ADD DEPTH TO YOUR INTENTION WITH LECTIO DIVINA
- The concept of LECTIO DIVINA, the practice of praying scripture (literally ‘divine reading’), is all about LIVING the word of God. Not just STUDYING the Living Word. Your Daily Intention may extend far past a day, as you learn to LIVE it. You may dwell on one Intention for a week, or a month. Until you learn to live it. Lectio Divina: Read. Meditate. Pray. Contemplate.
- For further study on Humility, consider: Colossians 3:12, Ephesians 4:2, James 4:6, James 4:10, 2 Chronicles 7:14, Proverbs 11:2., Proverbs 12:15, Romans 12:3, Romans 12:16, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, Philippians 2:3-4, James 4:14-16. Philippians 2:5-8
- For deeper reflection, study the life of Christ. The life of Moses. The life of Paul.
To delve in even deeper, consider take a whole day away from all the noise. Learn how to plan a day of solitude that will renew your spirit and re-awaken your joy by taking these 5 Steps to Plan Your Own Silent Retreat.
A SAMPLE DAILY CHRISTIAN INTENTION: HUMILITY
Scripture: Philippians 2:5-8
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross.
Prayer of Intention for HUMILITY
GOD, THANK YOU for this morning. For the sun that I know is shining. For the truth of Your Word. And for the example of Jesus walking on this planet. TODAY I CHOOSE HUMILITY. I acknowledge that You are the Lord of Life, The Creator of All Things. That Your heart is inside every human I meet today. That Your Spirit birthed their very breath.
WHO AM I to think more highly of myself?
Help me see YOUR LIFE and YOUR LIGHT as I brush shoulders with Your creation today. Help me have a heart of humility toward those who challenge me. YOU ARE THE GIVER of anything good in me. Help my gratefulness to You ooze out of my pores. Help me VALUE OTHERS above myself, letting them go first in line, offering the best selection to someone else.
PLEASE AWAKEN ME to your truth today and put me in situations to recognize and practice this humility.
Help me HOLD MY TONGUE, showing deference to others, by listening and not speaking. By seeking to hear not only their words, but also their heart. In humility, help me CONSIDER OTHERS better than myself by driving a little more cautiously, by letting someone make it through the traffic light before me. In humility, HELP ME REFRAIN from spending for an unneeded treat and reserve that money to gift someone else.
Help me put others before myself, in the example of Your Son, my Savior, Christ, who MADE HIMSELF NOTHING by taking the very nature of a servant.
Help me today to remember HUMILITY.
CONSIDER YOUR OWN MORNING RITUAL
Did you know that it is a proven fact that morning rituals establish our day, our way?
You have a morning ritual. We all do. For some, the ritual is snoozing the alarm clock one more time, with thoughts of “Ugh, it’s morning.” Brush teeth. Drink coffee. Make a to-do list.
For others, the morning ritual is feed the cat. Check social media. Make a smoothie.
Most morning rituals are established with no conscious thought or decision. With no intention.
I’m suggesting you change that!
Make a decision to start your morning with a Christian Intention.
Changing Your Morning Ritual Will Change Your Day
Did you ever play with dominoes as a kid? I remember being careful to set them just so. Careful not to knock them over prematurely. Careful to space them perfectly so one would fall into the next.
Once the path was set, I could topple the first domino and watch all the others trail in line.
Picture several winding tracks of black dominoes. All perfectly poised to topple.
Each day is filled with multiple paths of dominoes. Winding in different directions. All ending at different destinations.
You get to pick which domino track you want to be on. Which, in turn, affects your destination.
Make Your Daily Intention Your First Domino
Your Daily Intention can be your first domino. It starts the domino track. It is the choice on which all other action is triggered.
Wouldn’t you rather CHOOSE the domino track that sets the direction of your day? Headed toward a DESIRED destination?
The thoughts you have while still lying on your bed affect your first step.
Before you pull back the covers and open your heart to the world. Before your first cup of coffee.
Something as small as thought, an INTENTION, puts the dominoes in motion.
DON’T PUT OFF CHOOSING YOUR DAY – START NOW!
Whether you are reading this post in the morning, afternoon, or evening, I urge you to start now.
Our best intentions fade with passing moments. If you feel quickened to make a change, then you need to start now.
For More Peace. More Clarity. More Joy.
Choose Today. Consider Humility. Print out the download and put it by your bedside for the coming sunrise!
And let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear about your experience. What helps you in your Morning Ritual? What would you like to change?