This is a good reminder as classes start… Today, the blue sky could not get any bluer and the green grass any greener. It is one of those days that looks and begins to feel almost perfect, yet there is a bird in my backyard ready to attack. Usually birds leave me alone, yet this bird keeps a watchful eye on me as she moves from branch to branch, carefully observing my every move. I guess she is the birdwatcher.
Later, I see the reason for this bird watching. My son spots a young bird, all fluffy and chirpy, hopping around innocently in the backyard. It shows little caution, as if it belongs on the ground. The mother knows better, therefore, she is still in her attack mode, ready to attack anything or anyone that appears as a threat. She knows instinctively, these beginning hours and days are very important. The young bird needs protection from predators, attention for flying, and food for eating. The beginning is a vital time for its welfare.
The beginning is important for everyone. Often I hear students or others say they wish they could have had a better start. How do you begin a new semester or new year, a new job, a new relationship or a new endeavor well? The next series of posts will discuss “beginning well,” since a good beginning makes all the difference, for not only how you start, but also how you finish. Often, good beginnings do not just happen, but are made. As you begin this new phase, how will you begin well? There are so many things that are helpful–so many things. We could discuss good habits, intentionality, goals, discipline, or even the people who influence you. The list could go on. So, how should you begin?
Begin with God. This may seem obvious, but this is the best starting point. One of my favorite verses that I like to begin with is in Psalm 24. It says:
The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains,
The world and those who dwell in it.
We can make this more practical by remembering some things. The first part of the verse says, “The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains.” God is God. All is His. This place I am in today is His. This time I am in today is His. This beginning is His. The place to start is with the Lord as the owner and beginner of it all (the new semester, the new job, the new relationship, etc.). When I start here, with the Lord as the owner, then I can ask the question, “What do you want Lord?” It places things in the right hands.
The second part of the verse says, “The world [is His] and those who dwell in it.” God is over all things and people. The goings-on in this world belong to Him. The people I know belong to Him. The lives of the people I pass along the way belong to Him. I am His. The place to start is with allowing the Lord to be the keeper over this time with a continual recognition of His guarding, His watching, and His leading. This time does not just start with Him, but I need to let Him direct it and take care of it as I go. Again, I ask along the way, “What do you want Lord?”
To begin with God: is to remember that He is the starting point. He is the One who gives meaning to all things. By faith and not by sight, I remember this. My feelings will want to deny this at times — that He is over all and that He is trustworthy. I begin under Him, and with Him. As I start with Him as the owner and keeper, the rest follows. This will make all the difference in this new time.
To begin with God: is to say, “My life is His. He created me. He loves me. I am His. He is with me. He is for me. And He leads me.” This influences things along the way: the choices I make, where I go, what I think about, how I spend my time, how I spend my money, and how I will continue.
The days are not always going to be full of blue skies and green grass. Of course, I have been through enough days to know this. The attack bird reminds me of this. But if I start this new beginning with God, everything else is shaped by this–including me. To know I was made by Him and for Him changes everything.
Look for this next post on beginning well, by “Looking Outward.”
Overflow – Allowing God’s ways to touch our lives and then our lives to pour out to others
* What difference does it make to know that you are made by Him and for Him?
* Look at the people around you today differently. As you pass someone or interact with others think, “They were made by Him and for Him.”
* The gospel of John speaks of the beginning in John 1. Take some time to start with this. (see post “just a glimpse” of what? for a good way to begin in John)