I’ve spent a lot of my life waking up feeling stressed and burdened. Before I opened my eyes I felt the strain of the day ahead of me. I woke up already feeling defeated.
In the last few years that has shifted. Through a variety of tactics, mental shifts, and skills gained I can often wake up with a much lighter mood. There was a stretch of time when I would wake up and feel light and cheerful – at least as cheery as can be expected at 6 AM. Some days I even felt surprised at my own happy vibe!
But there’s been a lot of change and upheaval in my life in the last year and a bit and I’ve noticed the heavy, stressed, bogged-down wake up feeling creeping back in. I was noticing that recently when I heard about someone making an effort to read the Bible first thing in the morning as a way of inviting the Lord into their day, rather than going on social media.
I was pondering this idea and thinking about how that could maybe help, and maybe I should try to find a way to make time for that……I was waffling. But I thought maybe it would make a small difference to my beginning mood. I decided to think about it.
Then I heard a sermon by Derek Elphick about the story of Naaman:
“Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the LORD had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper. And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman’s wife. And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy.….
So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha. And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.
But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage.
And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean? Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.” 2 Kings 5:1-14
I was struck by the interaction between Naaman and his servants. Their reminder that the point is to be healed – not to be right about what it takes to be healed – stood out to me. If he had been told to do something extravagant, wouldn’t he have done it?
Sometimes the small things don’t seem like they matter and don’t feel like they’ll help. But who am I to turn away from reading a few Bible verses as a way of helping set my brain up for the day? If God demanded I do something time-consuming and unattainable, would that feel worth it? Would I be able to trust that it would make a difference?
So I listened to Naaman’s servants and brought my Bible to my bedside so I could start my day with it. And overall I would say the change has been small – but consistent. Reading the Word HAS shifted my attention and helped me connect to my deeper hopes and desires for my day. When I read with these ideas in mind it has helped me to remember the skills I’ve gained, the perspectives that have shifted, and that I can choose to respond to my day and mood differently.