Jason Wright: Are you up for the good news morning challenge?
One day last week, I woke up early filled with high hopes and optimism for the day. Even a sore throat and eye crusties couldn’t get me down.
I’d slept well, had a plan for the day and I was ready to crush it.
Then I looked at my phone.
Like many of you, my phone sleeps sweetly next to me on the nightstand. I’ve tried leaving it downstairs, but I rely on the alarm clock and with two daughters living two hours behind and 2,000 miles away at college, I like the comfort of knowing my phone isn’t far from my side.
But as soon as I touched the phone that morning, my screen lit up with enough notifications I would’ve thought we’d gone to war with Russia.
Most of the notifications were text messages, and the news wasn’t so good. No serious emergencies, but several things that would disrupt my day and unexpectedly chomp up time.
Still in the dark and on my back, I quickly went to my favorite news app and found even more bad news. Email and social media weren’t much better, and it was clear I wasn’t the only one waking up on the wrong side of the technology bed.
My mood changed in a blink and all that hope and optimism washed down the drain with my shampoo.
A bit later that morning as I spent time in my scriptures, I found myself longing for something else.
“I could really use some good news.”
It’s as if those thin white pages could talk … and roll their eyes.
“Really, Jason? Look down!”
And so it hit me. I was literally reading “good news” – as in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Instantly, my writer’s mind was crafting an alternate beginning to my day.
What if instead of opening my eyes to temporal and often empty-calorie news, I’d started with the divine good news?
What if the first thing I had consumed that day, or any other day, was the word of God?
What if before I worried about Facebook, I spent some time in his book?
So the next morning, I did just that.
When the alarm chimed, I instinctively lifted the phone to see what I’d missed overnight. But before my eyes could focus on the text messages, the sports scores or the drama in my newsfeed, I set the phone back down and began my day a different way.
I retrieved those good old-fashioned paper scriptures.
Then for the first time in a long time, the first information I consumed was the good news of Jesus Christ.
I probably don’t have to tell you that it set the course for my entire day. Personal revelation and answers to questions came in a way that might not have if I’d filled my head with concern, worry and meaningless news and information.
Naturally, I still encountered some frustration and obstacles throughout the day that threw me off and required some mental and emotional flexibility.
But I learned that if I started with the good news, it provided a heavenly umbrella for whatever rain would come.
The next day I tried the same thing. I confess that I worried I might be missing an emergency or something that would require immediate attention. But when I finally picked up my trusty friend, I found the text messages and emails could easily wait until I had set my day on a straight and narrow course.
It’s been a week, and my good news morning challenge has changed me.
Challenges of life, work and family haven’t gone away, but my capacity to navigate them has increased considerably.
I recognize there will be exceptions to come. There will be middle of the night emergencies from a church friend or a family member, or some news around the world that merits either a 3 a.m. call or my attention first thing in the morning.
But we call them exceptions for a reason. I have no doubt that most days, I will have plenty of time for everything else after I have devoured the greatest news ever reported.
If you’re like me and the phone is the first thing you hug each morning, take this challenge: Move it, hide it, unplug it, whatever you need to do to spend a few minutes each morning enjoying the most significant news of your life.
The investment of time doesn’t need to be lengthy, particularly if prayer or scripture study have not traditionally played a role in your morning routine. But a conversation with your creator and a few verses in your favorite book of scripture will surely launch your day in a better way.
Try it tomorrow! I promise good news awaits.