Another day dawns, and I find I’m excited for the day to begin. I have a lot on my calendar for the day, but they are all tasks I enjoy (except laundry! ????). So, I get out of bed – not crawling as in the past – and go about my morning routine. I have adapted my morning routine from the Miracle Morning I wrote about a while ago. It’s been several months, so I thought it would be a good time to revisit the topic and check on how I’m doing and see if any of you have adopted any or all the Miracle Morning practices. If you haven’t, or don’t have a clue what I’m talking about, read on. If you have adopted the Miracle Morning, let me know!
I’ll be honest – when I wrote the last post I had read only part of the book by Hal Elrod; but I have since finished it (it’s not long, I just dawdled)! It is exactly what I thought: a motivational book to get people to leave behind the mediocrity they live with and pursue something greater by focusing on personal development first thing in the morning. It is not anything new to me. I have been practicing parts of the Miracle Morning routine for years – without giving them a name.
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The Miracle Morning routine – remembered by the acronym SAVERS – is a good way to start your day. The premise of the Miracle Morning is that by taking time the first thing each day to work on personal development, a person will naturally become more focused and energized for the remaining tasks of the day. The concept of the Miracle Morning was crystallized from multiple sources by Hal Elrod. He has written a book by the same name, which has morphed into a series of books. Much of what Hal advocates can be useful to believers in Jesus. But maybe a sink-or-swim-all-by-yourself approach isn’t what Christians need. Let’s take a closer look at the six aspects of the Miracle Morning.
The acronym SAVERS stands for Silence, Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, and Scribing (journaling). As you can no doubt see from this list, there is nothing new here, except the acronym and the exhortation to practice each of these disciplines first thing every day – for anywhere from 1 minutes to 20 minutes each. More details about how to work this schedule can be found at MiracleMorning.com. Now, let’s look more closely at the different parts of the acronym/schedule. (It should be noted that the acronym is for memory purposes only, not to dictate a specific order in which to do these practices.)
The emphasis here is on meditating or centering oneself before hurrying into the hustle and bustle of the day. Pray is mentioned as a possible format for silence to take. The biggest problem I see here is that, if prayer is used, it is ‘me-focused’ not Jesus-focused. However, just because the descriptive practice is me-focused does not mean that believers need to keep it this way. No, a Jesus-focused, God-focused prayer time is a wonderful way to start the day, and as such the silence portion of the Miracle Morning should be adopted and adapted to the believer’s own routine.
Affirmations are a form of positive self-talk. Again, the emphasis is on the self, and self-improvement through the practice of repeating (often several times a day, not just in the morning) affirmations such as “I am loved,” “I can accomplish great things,” and “Today is going to be a great day.” Again, as with silence, the me-focus can be shifted to be Jesus/God-focused, by simply rewording some statement (“I am loved by Jesus”) or replacing the affirmations with Biblical truths. For example, “I can accomplish great things” could be replaced with “Through faith all things are possible.” With this modification, affirmations can be a great way to start your day. I did a Beth Moore Bible study (Believing God) that included as an assignment to repeat five statements every day – affirmations but with Biblical truth. The first two statements were about God: “God is who He says He is,” and “God can do what He says He can do.” Numbers three through five were about me: “I am who God says I am,” “I can do all things through Christ,” and “God’s Word is alive and active in me.” Follow this Biblical pattern in your affirmations – or meditations – and you are right on track with Biblical wisdom.
Visualization is both different and the same as affirmations. In Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning plan, affirmations are what you say to yourself to get yourself to believe you can change your life. Meanwhile, visualizations are what you look at or imagine to motivate yourself. For example, a person might say (affirmation) “Today is going to be a great day,” but visualize opening his/her own business in a year to motivate him/herself to do what is necessary to reach that goal. Visualizations are more goal-oriented, and affirmations are more immediate-life-oriented. One way of participating in a visualization is to create a vision board. I have made a vision board before – two, in fact – and while they were fun to make, they didn’t change my life! No, the ‘power’ in visualization is not in seeing yourself the way you want to be, but in being inspired to make changes to get where you want to be. What does this mean for a believer? It isn’t as straight-forward as replacing silence with prayer and self-focused affirmations with Biblically based ones. Some believers think that any type of visualization is wrong – based on such verses as “We walk by faith, not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). Others think that this is an extreme view that would have eliminated much visual art because the artist must first imagine (or visualize), and then create, his/her masterpiece. Therefore, these believers think that visualization, as an exercise of the imagination, is perfectly fine, but as a guaranteed path to success is way off course. Finally, there is a group that believers that visualization is the path to material/business/relational success. They think that visualizing the right things will virtually guarantee those things will come to pass. I tend to fall into the middle group – believing that visualization as a way of motivating yourself – is perfectly fine. However, I am open to other insights into this puzzling question. That said, if you wanted to participate in the visualization portion of the Miracle Morning, I would encourage you to collect images that inspire you to seek the Lord above all else (maybe images of nature or cathedrals or graphic representations of favorite verses), and then to seek to life your life in a way that would please Him.
What is there to be said about this? – for bodily exercise is of a little benefit (1 Tim. 4:8). We are to care for these frail bodies because they contain priceless treasure (2 Cor. 4:7) and to be good stewards of the life God has granted us. No need to substitute or quibble – exercise is a good thing! Whether you adopt Miracle Mornings or not!
Hal Elrod suggests a self-improvement book; I suggest the Bible and possibly also a nonfiction Christian living book. But definitely, the Bible first. Don’t know where to start? Start with a gospel (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John), then move on to the rest of the New Testament – just a chapter a day to start if you’ve never regularly read God’s Word. You could add a Psalm and/or a chapter of Provers every day too. If you choose to read Christian literature, do so after you’ve read the Scriptures. Give God first place! Good authors to start reading: Mark Batterson, Max Lucado, Bruce Wilkinson, Lysa TerKeust, Jerry Bridges, Beth Moore, or Liz Curtiz Higgs. There are literally hundreds more I could list!
Finally, the last piece of the Miracle Morning regimen. Scribing means journaling – write down your thoughts about the day yesterday, your hopes for the day ahead, things you are grateful for, or things you want to change. Think of this as a brain dump on paper – write whatever suits your fancy but do write. Many of the greatest Christian leaders throughout the centuries were journal-ers, so you’d be in good company if you choose to adopt this Miracle Morning habit. Some believers combine writing with praying, but that is up to you – writing your prayers can be very powerful and rewarding. Whether you journal hopes, or events, or plans, or prayers, start journaling today! OK – maybe tomorrow if you need to buy a journal!
That’s it – the essence of the Miracle Morning. It is a good routine to get into, and one which could pay huge dividends in your life as you draw closer to the Lord and seek to live your life by His precepts. I’ve followed a loose version of the Miracle Morning for a while: Prayer, Bible, Christian book, Journaling, and Exercise. I have not incorporated Visualization in my routine. I find the routine helpful, but I’m not tied to it. For example, on cold, dark mornings, I’ll put off my exercise – walking – until the weather warms up and the sun comes up.
Adopting a morning routine helps to get your day off to a good start. Even if you only have 15 minutes – you could pray for 5 minutes, read the Bible for 5 minutes, and then journal for 5 minutes. Leave the remainder of the options for later (exercise, affirmations, visualizations). I’ll talk more in a later post about why I think mornings are best for your Bible and prayer time – and why getting up in the morning is a good thing (instead of sleeping in!).