Emerging from sleep to the sound of rain dripping, I realize the weather reflects my internal barometer. Sigh. It is one of THOSE mornings.
While I rarely bound out of bed whistling, I do usually wake up early with a sense of calm and purpose. But on THOSE mornings- ones with storm clouds around my soul and weariness cloaking my heart- I attempt hiding. Tasks and needs stretch before me on an unending list. However, gone are the childhood days of faking a cough and fever so I can stay in bed. I am an adult. I must face the day.
How do I reset?
How do I master my emotions instead of letting them master me? Here are the most productive steps I have discovered.
1. Start with gratefulness.
When I sense the black clouds rolling over my heart I immediately start thanking God for everything I can think of.
I start where I am and thank the Lord for my bed, my pillow, my blanket. Do you know how many people don't have these things? I thank Him for my husband next to me, my children down the hall, and my children and spouses in their own homes.
Then I thank God for my day with His current assignments. In the midst of the thankfulness chorus I force myself out of bed (gratefulness ringing in my ears serves as a diversion so that my body doesn't even realize it has left the warmth of my covers) and I keep thanking God- for my slippers, indoor plumbing, air conditioning, my toothbrush, my kitchen, coffee...
2. Make an extra big pot of coffee.
You didn't expect that one, did you? Making coffee may not sound as spiritual as thanking God for everything I can think of, but coffee is a key ingredient to beginning my day. If I am extra tired and blue it is NOT the day to go all Spartan. Rather I drink an extra cup of coffee and I enjoy it!
3. Get in the Word.
With the thankfulness train chugging at full steam, and a lovely, creamy coffee in hand, I cuddle in with the Word.
If the heaviness still lingers I head directly for the Psalms. They are so honest. The writers complain and question, but always return to praise, the exact place I want to end up.
I read the Psalm that corresponds to the date and then continue by adding 30 and reading that Psalm. For instance, if it is the 15th I read Psalm 15, 45, 75, 105, and 135.
4. Simplify the plan.
Overwork and a lack of rest contribute to my underwhelmed spirit so planning my day helps quell the desperate feeling of too much stuff and too little me.
Taking a clean piece of paper I begin my list by writing: get up, make coffee, have quiet time. Then I cross these off. Look! I just got started and I have already accomplished so much! Yeah me!
Now I add the next three of four most important and most "doable" jobs. It is perfectly acceptable to write down making my bed and brushing my teeth. But next I think of small steps I can take toward whatever current big project is looming. What are the next few bites I can take out of the ginormous elephant I have to eat? I don't have to finish it today, I just need to make progress.
5. Get dressed and put on praise music.
If I am having a really bad morning, nothing sounds better than messy sweats and no makeup. But I have found getting dressed in cute clothes and "fixing my face" changes my attitude. When my exterior disagrees with my interior it is easier to re-calibrate my attitude.
Upbeat praise music drags me out of the doldrums because I have an uncontrollable reflex that requires me to sing loudly (usually off key) and dance. I can't help it and I have just quit apologizing for it. Besides, it makes my kids laugh. Maybe they are laughing AT me, but still they laugh, or roll their eyes, or give each other that look that says, "Mom is so weird!" which for some perverted reason makes me happy.
6. Do the next thing.
Regardless of how I feel, I just do the next thing. My feelings do not dictate my day. Hopefully they will conform to the Word, and my outfit, and my coffee. But even if they don't, my feelings are not in charge.
Jesus is in charge. I lay my heart in His faithful care, take His Hand, and agree with Him that this is the day He has made. I WILL rejoice and I WILL be glad this day. (Psalm 118:24)
I go get another cup of coffee then I jump right in.