What’s First?

Stephanie lost her temper and the large canister of zip ties used to secure Christmas decorations spiraled across the room. Hundreds of zip ties were strewn from the foot of the stairs to the front of the fireplace. While she screamed and stomped away, I hastily shoved handfuls of zip ties back into the canister.

They didn’t fit.

It looked like a shrewd cactus standing in the middle of a game of Pick-Up-Sticks. She’ll pick them up when she simmers down. The thought of her completing this tedious task may have felt like sweet justice.

Later, Steph sat on the floor picking up hundreds of zip ties. Methodically she organized them by size. Then, starting with the biggest ties, she began filling the canister. In the end, she stuffed the smallest zip ties into the empty spaces.

All of them fit.

Watching her, I was reminded how I want to live this holiday season and every other day of the year. I want to take the biggest, most important things each day and put them in first. Then everything else will just seem to fit.

I’m often asked, “How do you do it all?”

The honest answer: I don’t.

But I do make an intentional decision about my first of the day. This is the way I get the most out of each day.

My first of the day goes to Jesus. I’ve learned to wake up saying, I love you, Jesus. Then I swipe off my alarm, grab my glasses, and open Scripture on my phone. Sometimes I open Scripture before I grab my glasses, the screen touching my nose so I can see the sacred text. Often I open scripture before I turn on the light.

Even when I’ve hit snooze too many times, I still read a verse of holy text.

I’ve learned the hard way that if I don’t do this first, if I don’t begin with adoration and scripture and a small prayer, then nothing else fits into the day. I’m feeling like that canister of overflowing zip ties, standing in the middle of a Pick-Up-Stick game.

The day becomes a mine field and I’m a prickly soldier.

One simple act and the entire day changes from rushed to relaxed, from dark to light, from stress to joy. It’s not about having enough time. It’s about deciding what goes in first to your day. Try it. See what happens if the first thing you read each day is Scripture.

Don’t water down the power by going for something inspirational instead of biblical. Do a true test. Read a verse of Scripture — use a Bible app or open to Psalms or Proverbs or James or 1 Thessalonians or anywhere and read a few holy words.

I’ve found when I fit Jesus in first each day then all of the must-dos and want-to-dos just seem to fit. And when they don’t, well, it’s easier for me to accept that perhaps my plan just isn’t the way it’s going to go. Either way, I’m better off for putting first the One who is biggest in life.

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