And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place and there he prayed. Mark 1:35
What do you do first thing in the morning? This is a question I’ve often asked different people over the years. I’ve been very interested in how people answer this question because I’ve been a long term believer in what you do in the morning hours sets up your entire day. I want to encourage you to rethink your morning routine. Too often I see, one of two extremes, either chaos or lethargy define people’s morning routines but there is a third option = A sustainable rhythm that invigorates you and makes you feel like whatever else you do today, you’ve already accomplished so much. Jesus modeled to all of us a healthy morning routine that set him and his ministry up for the day. He spent time in his Fathers presence before allowing the busyness of life overtake him. I encourage you to focus on 1 of 3 things in the morning hours. One is developing yourself, another is developing your relationships and the third is developing your career.
Developing yourself can look like exercise, prayer, bible reading, book reading, meditation or anything else that centers you and gets you a healthy body, mind and spirit.
Developing your relationships can look like making family breakfast time an opportunity to chat and get closer to family members. It can also look like meeting up with a close friend or work colleague for a coffee at a cool cafe and just chatting.
Developing your career can look like reading in your field, writing a blog or book, scanning news and reports, formal study or anything that will help you improve in your field.
It’s time to seize the day by seizing your morning hours. What you do from 6am-9am everyday can make or break your day. Don’t just settle to be a night owl. Body rhythms and sleep cycles will all benefit from making the shift to a morning routine. This is what successful people do to set up their day.
I look at my life through the metaphor of a compass.
In the centre of the compass is God. My relationship with him is the epi-centre of my life. God impacts my identity, character, ministry, finances, relationships, activities and everything in between. God is on the throne of my heart because out of my heart flow the springs of life.
True North on my compass is my Family. My family is always in my focus. Everything I am and do impacts on my family and I want to protect the integrity of my relationships with my closest loved ones. If it doesn’t work first at home, it simply doesn’t work.
East is my Health and Fitness. Apart from time, my health and well being is the most precious commodity I have. If my health goes, everything goes with it. Nutrition, Sleep and Training make up the core ingredients of this pillar.
South is my Ministry. From preaching to writing to studying a masters degree and mentoring others, my working life is super busy but I love the opportunity to be used by God to change someone’s life through my gifts.
East is Finance. This has come into greater focus for me the older I get. What you do with your money can make or break you in more ways than one. I think God cares more about this than many of us care to acknowledge. From savings to giving to investments to expenses, this is a must in my compass.
Does the compass metaphor work for you and if it does what would you include as your north, south, east and west?
Malcolm Gladwell has recently popularised the 10,000 hour rule in his landmark work, “The Tipping Point”. The 10,000 hour rule is the idea that to become world-class in any activity or pursuit requires a total time commitment of 10,000 hours. Be it in golf, public speaking or playing guitar, the 10,000 hour rule is fairly consistent right across the board of professionals and world-class contributors in their chosen field. You may not desire to be world-class in any activity you are engaged in but the principle of focus and repetition can’t be underestimated if you desire to become more effective. Unfortunately, too many of us are lazy and possess a, “I can’t be bothered” outlook on life that is very selfish and fails to steward the gifts God has blessed us with. I don’t always want to go the 2nd mile but I’m learning it reaps fruitful dividends if I’m willing to put the work in. Maybe its time to stop making excuses and start logging the hours up. You’ll wake up one day and be glad you did.
Too easily do we look at the issue of ‘calling’ through the lens of contemporary cultural paradigms rather than what the bible actually reveals to us.
A calling is God’s unique soul print on a person’s identity (Ps 139:13-15). A calling is a strong heart conviction that God burdens you with (Rom 4:20-21). A calling is God’s anointing that rests upon you (1 Sam 16:13). A calling transcends a job or specific occupation (Acts 9:15, the apostle Paul worked as a tent maker but was called to be an apostle to the gentiles). A calling is witnessed to by others, especially spiritual authority (Jn 1:29).
Calling comes in different shapes and sizes and transcends the practical application of it being outworked. Noah saved a remnant by building a boat. Abraham became the father of many nations by faith in God’s promise. Moses delivered a nation by leading them out of Egypt into the Promised Land. Elijah performed signs and wonders as prophet to Israel.
The difference between a calling and a career is remarkable:
- Calling = Treasure in heaven VS Career = $ on earth
- Calling = Life of sacrifice VS Career = Life of convenience
- Calling = God’s always right VS Career = Your rights
- Calling = Applause of heaven VS Career = Applause of man
- Calling = Faithfulness VS Career = Success
- Calling = Continues VS Career = Conclusion
What are you pursuing, a calling or a career?