By Mike Day

Do you wake up some mornings feeling like the Tin Man? Your alarm clock tells you it’s time to hop out of the bed and start your day, but your body doesn’t want to move. The older I get, the more experiences I have where my body is not as eager to go as my mind. My back and legs cry out for a shot of oil to loosen the muscles and ease the joints. Fortunately, a morning routine of stretching and exercising helps me get on with my day.

While most of the time we associate stiffness to our bodies, this same descriptor can highlight how we are emotionally or spiritually. We’ve all known people that come across as rigid or inflexible. We usually say these people are “set in their ways.” They are unwilling to hear new ideas or try new experiences. Similarly, the Bible speaks of people having a hardened heart or a stiff neck. These people are noted for being so obstinate that they are not open to God working in their lives.

I decided this morning that if I’m determined to physically stretch and exercise to help my body be more flexible, I should also consider stretching my heart and mind each day to be receptive to God. Here’s a few spiritual exercises that may help us live with more zest throughout the day.

Start Fresh.

The psalmist says, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). Begin each day with gratefulness to God for the gift of being alive. I read about a fellow Rotarian who starts his morning by standing in front of a mirror with his arms stretched out, leaning back and laughing as loud as possible for one or two minutes. For him, this exercise relaxes his body and creates a positive outlook. I’m thinking my wife and dogs may think I’ve lost it if I did this first thing in the morning, but I do agree how I start the day often determines how it goes.

Discover New.

If I truly believe that this is the day the Lord has made, then I should open my eyes and mind to the newness this creator God has brought into this day. Live with the curiosity of a child. See the newness all around. I’ve never heard anyone describe God as stale and boring, so let’s step into each day with eyes wide open to see and experience God’s newness.

Give Life.

We’ve all heard that there are two types of people: the givers and the takers. Look for ways throughout the day where you can give life to another person. Look for an opportunity to compliment someone or share an encouraging word. Make it a point to express gratitude and love. My wife, who is a nurse practitioner, recently received a card of appreciation from a patient she has seen for several years. This small act brought a smile and joy to her. How can you give life to another today?

When the sun rises in the morning, make sure you take a few moments to stretch your heart and mind as well as your back and legs. Then, make the most of the day ahead.

Mike Day is the pastor of Celebration Church in Hoschton.

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