This is my confession: I have made checking email the most important part of my day. When I wake up in the morning, either by alarm or by nature, the first thought is, “I have to check my email.” My heart beats faster with delight. There are so many wonderful possibilities. Who emailed? What did they say? Is it good news? I feel like a boy in a toy store.
I grab my phone, leave the room, and find a place to sit. I can’t get there fast enough. My breathing quickens and my fingers tremble. There is only one purpose on my mind. I’ve tried checking my email in bed before, but the light woke my wife up, and she asked what I was doing, and I felt embarrassed and ashamed by my compulsion. So it’s easier to do it in another room.
I feel better about myself that way—unless it’s all junk mail on my smartphone, or nothing significant. Then I feel bad, and sometimes whisper, “you’re worthless” to myself. As in I’m worthless because I haven’t gotten any meaningful email. But I know I’m not worthless, and to prove it, I check my email again. But I haven’t received anything new in the last two minutes. So the cycle continues. What an awful way to start the day.
I believe what we choose to do first in our day reveals what is first in our heart.
Sometimes we don’t have a choice. Sometimes the kids wake up, we have work responsibilities, the dog barfs. But on the other hand, sometimes we do have a choice. In Mark 1.35, Jesus gets up very early in the morning and goes to a solitary place to pray. He has decided that connecting with his Father is most important. He separates himself so he can have time with God. It’s his most important thing.
It’s the same for David. He writes in Psalm 5.3, “In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.” David’s most important thing is talking with God. Before the day begins, he sets it on a firm foundation. He focuses on God before he focuses on anything else.
What we do first deals not only with chronology, but with importance. In checking my email first, I have made the opinions of others, and the proving of my significance, the most important thing. But I don’t want them to be. I want my most important thing to be connecting with God. I want to hear from Him first, and speak to Him first, before I do anything else. That way He’ll be first in my life.