My morning ritual has evolved over the years, but it has always consisted of a daily devotional. I see them as guides for growth and wisdom in a short, approachable format. Even on the busiest of days, I can take a few moments to read the brief passage and gain some insight I had not considered before.
This year I read, “You are the Beloved – Daily Meditations for Spiritual Living” by Henri Nouwen. It was packed full of beautiful writing and heartfelt observations. Reading his words each morning felt as if I was walking through the year (one of much transition, many challenges, and growth) with a dear, wise friend. Nouwen, a Dutch Catholic Priest and theologian, believed in, “taking time for daily meditation… It was his time to be present to God, to hear God speak to him.” I’ve come to see daily devotionals as a beginning point for each day’s prayer and meditation; a way to rise above the distraction of the world.
I write, underline and dog ear my devotionals. I don’t just politely read them, I devour them, work through them and jot my own reflections and prayers. They become time capsules of my life. Particularly those favorite devotionals that I have returned to – Simple Abundance and Jesus Calling. It is fascinating to read them from different places and perspectives in life. Some pages consistently speaking to me powerfully and others jumping out at me for the very first time. Nouwen’s devotional will be a similar staple to return to again.
This year, I am beginning a new devotional – “New Morning Mercies” by Paul David Tripp. I admittedly don’t know much about it, though the daily reference to scripture verses appealed to me. I will also return to a beloved favorite, Simple Abundance, by Sarah Ban Breathnach. While it is enjoying a resurgence and a recent update, I will reread my tattered and well-loved copy that I first read in 2002. This seemed the time to revisit Sarah’s wisdom, as she was one of the major early influences in my life on spirituality and self-awareness.
In this new decade, full of change as I will move into my dream farm house; finally settling into life after nearly two years of transition, and experience my children graduating high school and moving into their own futures, I am mindful of preparing myself for these experiences. By being fully present each morning and guided by the wisdom of others, I pray I can accomplish all I am called to do as the years unfold. It is my desire to live my best life, on purpose and full of intention.
In case you are in need of a daily devotional to begin the year, here are my favorites and my current selection:
Jesus Calling, Sarah Young
Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy, Sarah Ban Breathnach
You are the Beloved – Daily Meditations for Spiritual Living, Henri J. M. Nouwen
New Morning Mercies, Paul David Tripp
May you be blessed by the daily ritual of a devotional, allowing it to speak to you and guide you each day.