We all want to be better people, right? We want to improve our health, our focus, our finances, our relationships, our circumstances, our careers. This is a healthy thing – if we didn’t care about self improvement, then we would allow self decline, which is not a good thing for anyone. Self decline goes hand in hand with depression, which we should all be seeking to avoid.
So self improvement is a good thing.
But let’s be careful with self improvement.
The natural tendency of man is to look out for himself, and to seek out his own desires. This isn’t God’s way. God’s way is for a man to lay down his own desires and to follow after God’s heart (here at God, Scrubs, and Workboots, we define a Real Man as being one who walks on God’s path and not his own path).
And so I’m all for self improvement, but only if it improves our ability to follow Christ or improves our focus on the right things.
More on that later.
With this in mind, here is one habit that has helped me tremendously in my ability to follow Christ each day.
When you wake up each morning, think this thought: “Lord, I’m going to serve you today.”
I will confess, I don’t start 100% of my mornings this way. Often times my first thought is about a work appointment, or a conversation I had the day before, or “Ooh, I’m sore…my back hurts…” I assume I’m not alone in this.
The days that I do this go much better for me than the days that don’t. By “better”, I mean that I am calmer, I am better able to handle stressful situations, I am able to reflect and be grateful, I am better able to focus on my work and tasks at hand, I am more in the present through the day, I am better able to listen with real empathy, I am less frustrated with my children…..
Why is this?
I have often wondered the same thing, and I do not know exactly how this simple exercise of focus and faith can help align my emotional self and physical self in such a way, but I do know that it works. I recommend you try it. When you go to bed tonight, tell yourself that you are going to do this in the morning. And when you wake up, start with the thought, “Lord, I’m going to serve you today.”
And then go from there.
I will start with this thought, and it carries into other thoughts. “ Lord, thank you. Thank you for sleep. Thank you for my wife, sleeping next to me. Thank you for today. Lord, help me today, to be a good husband, to be a good father, to work hard and be productive. Lord, if there is anything you want me to do today, show me, and I will do it.”
And so I have my focus for the day. Everything else that the day brings has to run through the filter of “Lord, I’m going to serve you today.” I continue the conversation in the shower, during my commuter, in moments through the day.
So give it a go, starting tomorrow morning, and see how it works for you. One stipulation: you’ve got to mean it when you say it.
“Lord I’m going to serve you today, and I mean it!”
If you are worried that you won’t be able to follow through on what you are saying, then I have good news for you: God has the power to help you keep your promise.
We will have to talk more about that later.