Something my dad taught me to do many years ago was to start every day with prayer. Hearing and practicing are distinctly different though. Throughout the years he continued to emphasize the importance of alone time with God and how it helps us deal with whatever comes up during that day. I have lived long enough to know the truth of that statement and cannot recall the number of days wondering how I would make it through. But by grace, I made it through each one.
In recent months, I realized once again that I simply have too much on my mind. My career is challenging and with it, the stress comes often. Solving problems is part of the process but it is not something easily turned off. I see problems everywhere and ponder solutions to most of them. Add to that, the constant need to be connected and stay up to date with the latest on everything. It feels like a mouse spinning on a wheel, moving with great haste but getting nowhere.
Well, I finally took my dad’s advice. Shortly after waking up, I pray over the day, family, and friends, and give the day over to God. At times I listen to short clips of sermons or positive messages to let the first thing heard be something good. On my drive to work, I often witness the most gorgeous sunrises, especially a new one by a lake on the way. The vast array of colors is truly remarkable and nearly takes my breath away each time.
On break, I often walk around and take in rays of sunshine. I gaze up into the clouds and out over the blue sky. The birds soar freely in the air and squirrels chase each other around in the trees. Not every day appears beautiful, and on those I watch the rain fall tirelessly, as if there were no end. Yet eventually, the blue-sky returns, and the chirping of the birds resumes.
Far from the city lights when the day ends, the blue sky is hidden by the night. Up in the sky, I am witness to hundreds, maybe thousands of stars that fill the dark country sky. Another day has come and gone. I used to pray only shopping list prayers, as if God only existed to answer all my requests. While I do still pray like this at times, I came to appreciate more, simply by taking notice.
In the busyness of life, the rush tries to take away the little moments of peace. The loudness of everything that cries for my attention tries to drown out the softness of God’s voice. Matters of urgency will always be there but not all are as important as they first seem to be. One of my favorite scripture verses in troubled times is Psalms 46:10. When I am still, I notice more. Over the years, it has become something of immense value to me.
Some days in my communion with God, I express my gratitude for some of these things mentioned. Doing so seems to multiply the moments I have like this, to take in all the beauty that surrounds me. I cannot help but think to myself, God does it all for me. Not because there is anything special about me. Not because I have done everything right. No, simply because I pay attention, not to all that is wrong with the world but all that is right. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened. I believe God does it all for me but would for you too.
Find a way to pull gratitude out from a mixed-up life; it will change the way you see things.
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