As the alarm went off this morning and I rolled out of bed, I am ashamed to say that one of the first things I said to my husband, Greg, was “Don’t forget to take the garbage out” instead of “Good morning honey, how did you sleep?” Wednesdays are garbage pick-up days at the Nichols. Unfortunately, I was reminded last week of just how important taking the garbage out is to one’s senses. Someone in the family (and I won’t name names) forgot to take their garbage out and as we opened the door to this person’s place, we were met with the worst smell you can imagine. Thank you, Proctor and Gamble, for the hours of research coming up with the Febreze formula!

My dear friend, Rene’ Vidal, is currently writing a new book called, “The Golden Hour”. The principle that he explores in this book is the many different ways that great leaders choose to spend the first hour of their day. In my opinion, along with many others, it is imperative to discipline yourself with a daily quiet time to be the best “YOU” that you can be.

My goal is not to “tell” you how you should do this, but rather just share my experience. Without fail, the first thing I do after I roll out of bed is put on a pot of hazelnut coffee, grab my cup with a lid (we are a little anal about spills on the carpet) and head to my special chair. My time spent will vary based on my morning meeting schedule, but I routinely spend time studying the scriptures (Bible), journaling and praying. For me, reading and studying the Bible is the way that I renew my mind daily. It is the way that I can “empty the garbage” from my mind and pour in truth that will transform my attitudes, mindset and ultimately actions. Unfortunately, our minds can accumulate a lot of garbage. Between the media, outside voices and negative self-talk that goes unchecked, our minds can sometimes go to very unattractive and dark places.

For instance, have you ever been disappointed by someone? My guess is that you have – you are human. Left unchecked, negative attitudes, bitterness or resentment toward that person can spin out of control. A month or so ago, I was studying forgiveness in my daily quiet time. I remember thinking to myself at the time (with perhaps too much pride), “I really don’t have a problem right now with an unforgiving spirit”. Lo and behold, just a few days after this proclamation, someone dear to me really disappointed me in a big way. I was suddenly faced with a decision – Oh, which road to travel? I am not going to tell you that I forgave this person instantly. I did spend some time fuming and venting, but because of the counsel I found in the scriptures, I made the decision to forgive the person and move on rather than allow a bitter root grow. I am not perfect and neither is this person – so I decided to extend grace.

Letting garbage sit too long will become toxic. Maybe tomorrow morning can start differently for you. Instead of searching around for the Febreze, take some time to be ‘still’ – search out what is making that unpleasant odor, and get rid of it. Then begin to fill your mind with truth that breathes life into your soul. Mornings may very well become your favorite part of the day!

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