What are your essentials for starting a day or week? Here are a few of mine. (And of course these don’t all carry the same weight in terms of importance.)
1. Reading the Bible. Yes, quite often I am thinking about a class or a message to be preached. Yet, I try to keep conscious of my own need for formation. In the last few days, I have read II Corinthians and I Timothy. I have found it to be important to linger over a text as a person might linger over a nice steak.
2. Prayer. Sometimes I pray as I step outside early in the morning before the sun comes up (to those of you who are night owls, this is totally weird, I know). I also use prayer books though not on a regular basis. This summer, I have been immersing myself in Jesus’ teachings regarding the kingdom of God. So, I have been praying the "Jesus Creed." (See Jesus Creed, by Scot McKnight.)
3. Relationships. I try, each day, to think about the status of my relationship with various family members. Is there someone I really need to call? Do I need to e-mail someone? Do I just need to "check in"? My children are 21 and 25. I try to stay connected with them to the point that I know the names of their close friends. Am I aware of what my children are dealing with this week?
4. My Next Action List. I have found David Allen’s work in Getting Things Done to be extremely helpful to me. One of the most important lists that I have is my "next action" list. This covers not only my work but home, relationships, etc. I walk through this list each day wanting to make progress on a few things on it.
5. Coffee and the news. My early mornings begin with a cup of coffee and/or a book. Then I will look through the Dallas Morning News. At some point, I will read the front page of the New York Times (on-line) and usually a few other papers (any of those which are listed on the right-hand bar of this page).
6. Exercise. I generally work out five times a week. I do this right after work for about an hour in a local workout facility. It’s not that I’m a "health nut" or I’m trying to get into shape for some event. No, more than anything it helps me deal with stress. I function better and feel better when I am exercising in some way on a regular basis.
No doubt I missed a few that are very important to you. What would you add to this list? What practices are important to you as you begin a day or a week?