Reconditioning the Conditioned

I realized something on a recent road trip to visit my daughter.  My body is conditioned to fall asleep on long drives.  This started when I was very young and suffered from severe motion sickness.  My parents would tell me “just close your eyes, this will help you.”  They were right.  I closed my eyes and this prevented me from becoming violently ill.  It also saved my parents from large cleaning bills and heart ache. In my present day, if I’m the passenger, it only takes me approximately 40 minutes to an hour to start dozing off.  It’s not that I’m feeling ill, but rather my body has become accustomed to falling asleep.  I have to fight myself to stay awake and, nine times out of ten, I lose and doze off. This has become my norm.  Well, recently, I’ve attempted to condition my body, mind, spirit in other ways.  I have begun to walk 3 to 3.5 miles a day.  Physical exercise has NEVER been at the top of my to-do list.  I always looked at it as a chore.  I have recently had a change of perspective.  God has gifted me with the gift of mercy and I utilize this gift in the area of substance abuse counseling.  This is a very emotionally volatile field and often I am stressed or feeling anxious as I leave work for the day, thinking about my clients, the traumas they have suffered or are perpetuating, etc.  So one day I decided to go for a walk to work of the stress and anxiety.  I plugged in my ear buds, turned on one of my bible teaching apps and off I went.  I was surprised an hour later that not only had I walked 3 miles, I was able to get fed spiritually and my stress and anxiety was gone.  I have been doing this almost every day for the last two weeks.  I feel it if I don’t walk now.  I have reconditioned my body to enjoy and expect this.  Now I look forward to that time.  It’s my “me time.”   Since my work requires me to be in my office, ready to see clients at 4:30a.m. I often do not wake up until the very last minute, trying to squeeze in as much R.E.M. as I can.  This has caused me to rush about and often results in me feeling chaotic as I start my day. I have heard many pastors, preachers, bible study teachers and Christian friends say we should read our bibles first thing in the morning.  I have listened with envy to friends telling me they spend an hour with God every morning, praying and reading His word.  I’d have to get up at 1:30a.m. to do that.  It is true that God wants our “first fruits.”  This has always been a struggle for me as I am a sinner and selfish, I love my sleep.  I told myself, “I’ll just read my bible at night before I go to bed, that way I’m falling asleep with God’s Word on my heart.”  There is NOTHING wrong with this, however, for me, my mind turns off around 6:00p.m. and I’m falling asleep while reading scripture and the next day I remember nothing of what I’ve read.  That is not good.  I have this great App on my phone.  The You Version Bible App.  It’s fantastic, I can take sermon notes during church, read my bible, highlight passages that I want to memorize etc.  I have started reading through the Bible in a year utilizing this App.  I do this first thing in the morning.  Yup!  I set my alarm a little earlier (20 minutes), and this is the first thing I do.  I would normally reach for my phone first thing in the morning, check any text messages, Facebook posts, missed calls, etc.  Well, why not use that time to spend with God.  I have been putting Him last for far too long.  Once I made the decision to put God first, my mornings have become less chaotic and He has given me a strong desire to spend time with Him, pray and read from His word.  God is a God of relationships.  How can you build a relationship with someone if you’re not spending time with them?  Now is the time to change.  Put God first in your life and just see what He does.  Let’s give God our first fruits, not what’s left over. Let’s get our priorities straight. If God is first in your life, everything else will fall into place.

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