The FIRST First

The FIRST First

Teeth brushed. Bed made. Husband kissed. Exercise clothes on. Tea cup in hand.

And the battle begins.

The author podcast I listened to last week said the only way to make consistent progress on your novel is to make writing the first thing you do every morning.

Best time of the day to exercise? Most fitness experts agree: First thing in the morning.

But I know the advice I’m supposed to listen to: Give the first fruits of your time to God. Spend those first, brain-rested minutes of the day in prayer and Bible study.

So I sit. Bible. Study book. Prayer journal. Pen. Tea cup in hand.

And the battle begins.

Lord, thank you for another day to— Laundry. I should have put a load in before I sat down.

Focus. Father, you are all I nee— Baking soda. We’re out. Can’t make zucchini muffins without it. Will I remember if I don’t write it down right now?

Maybe I should just get up and get a few things done, then put my shoes on and pray while I walk. Throw in some laundry, load the dishwasher, call my daughter-in-law about babysitting, text my friend about lunch…


I know this. I know a day that doesn’t start with time alone with God doesn’t go as well as it could have, and I know if I put other things first, I may never get to that all important time.

So I get honest with God. I need help here, Father. I have so much to do today. A thousand words to write, a house to clean, people to love on. I want to want this time with you, but… 

A gentle nudge points me to my devotional book. My Utmost for His Highest. Wisdom from an era that seemed to value discipline more than ours does. And there, under today’s date I read:

Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. (Psalm 37:5) And then:

Don’t plan without God. God seems to have a delightful way of upsetting the plans we have made, when we have not taken Him into account.

I laugh, right out loud. And then I stick my thumbs in my ears and my fingers over my eyes. Portable prayer closet.

Lord, I’m going to sit right here and keep on talking and listening and fighting off intrusive thoughts with the sword of your Spirit until I want being with you more than I want crossing stuff off my list. More than I want anything.

And it happens. I fight through the clamor of to-dos until I’m once again in his presence, that sweet place of communion I never want to leave. But I do. Because we’re called to life in the valley, and sometimes life in the laundry room.

And tomorrow? Maybe I’ll slip easily into his presence. Or maybe I’ll face another battle. Father, if I do, just know that no matter what excuses I come up with, I want you to win. Because if I don’t put you first, nothing I accomplish will last.



Becky Melby About Becky Melby

Wisconsin resident Becky Melby is the author of the Lost Sanctuary Series and a dozen other contemporary fiction titles. Married for 43 years, mother of four, grandmother to fifteen, Becky thrives on writing, reading, camping, rides on the back of a silver Gold Wing, and time with family. Connect with her at her website or Facebook.


  1. Love this post, Becky. I face this same battle each morning. Thanks so much for your gentle reminder to focus first on the Lord. Blessings!

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