I will look up when he tottles into my room in the morning. Oh I’m not ready to begin my day yet. But he climbs in anyhow. He snuggles up close to me as I draw the blankets up over his shoulders. And it doesn’t matter if he’s happy, grumpy, sad, or whatever… My day begins now. But my flesh cries out for more; More sleep, more me-time, more quietness. So I will trust Him with each moment and I will look up.
I will look up in frustration when the new board I had cut to replace a split board on our bench is too short. I had even painted it to match and now I want to hit my head against the wall. How could this happen? I even measured it to make sure it would fit. I will feel my blood pressure rising as I fight to breathe, pray, trust. I will fight the feeling of failure and defeat as I reflect back on a day where nothing went as planned. With a deep breath and a whispered prayer, I will look up.
I will look up when he says those words to me. They are hurtful, wounding, and harsh. I wonder why he would even say such a thing. Does he really believe that or did he just say that because he knew it would hurt me? I take a deep breath and fight back tears that I can feel stinging my eyes. Slowly, like cold air seeping in, I feel insecurities and fears creep around me. But as I turn away I will remind myself of all the gospel truth I read that very morning, and even though I’m feeling shaken, I will look up.
I will look up at the amount as she rings up my groceries. That much? How can that be? I was so careful to choose only things that we really needed and things that were on sale. I can feel that tightening in my chest and trust is the only thing that loosens everything and makes me free. I will turn my attention to the truth tucked into my heart, and I will look up.
I will look up at the calendar and wonder where on earth these days went. The weeks go by faster and faster and is it really a new year again? Is it really 2015? And suddenly my parents are aging quickly and my kids aren’t so little anymore. Did I spend enough time rocking, cuddling, caring for them? Did I really show them that I treasured them enough? What sorrows will the coming years bring? But instead of dwelling back there or up ahead, I will step into this moment, anchored to eternity, and I will look up.
I will look up at the woman in the mirror. Why does she look so tired? So old? Where did those bags under her eyes come from? When did she get those wrinkles around her eyes? I will look at her shoulders, drooping from the weight of responsibility, of letting many lean hard into her daily life. I will be tempted to despair, tired and overwhelmed. But I will receive His new mercies, call to mind His faithfulness, and I will look up.
As I look back on my childhood, I can see myself standing next to my mother at church, listening to and watching the adults around me sing this simple chorus:
Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided.
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!
It is really that simple. The first and most important order of business, for life, is to look up. Consistently. Persistently. Continually.
I have read through the Bible, cover to cover, several times. For many years I have made the one small, simple, humble habit of looking up every morning. It is nothing big, spectacular or thrilling. It is just a long string a little obediences. It is a simple decision to rise and seek Him first. To spend time alone with Him and in His Word before the day begins. Before little ones. Before the phone begins to ring. Before the onslaught of life comes, unrelenting, my way. Before my conflicting desires pull me different directions. Above all and before all, I humbly commit to look up.
This one small habit has changed my life more powerfully than anything else.
When I seek Him first each morning He hands me the lens through which I see the rest of my day. He orders my steps. He calms my fears. He quiets the multitude of discorded voices in my head. He blankets me with His peace. He directs through His Word. He convicts me, lovingly, through His Spirit. He reveals His love to me each day.
I will make my aim clear: I plead with you, this year, to make a daily looking up habit each day. Read through God’s Word. Pray. Without this one resolution, all others will be out of balance. Without True North, all other goals and aspirations will be off course.
Because sin isn’t just doing bad things. Sin is also making good things into ultimate things.
Without looking up to Him first, we will look up to other things and make them ultimate things. We will look up to fear. We will look up to money. We will look up to other people’s opinions. We will look up to fitness and our body image. We will look up to our to-do list. We will look up to our children’s performance. We will look up to the tragedies and sorrows which threaten to crush us daily. We will look up to temporal happiness and fleeting flirtations with success as a source of our daily hope and joy.
My voice shall you hear in the morning, O LORD;
in the morning will I direct my prayer to you, and will look up.