Make Your Bed and Make Your Day
Written by Lyndi Fultz
Immediately making your bed after you get up may seem like a trivial task. But could starting your day off with this one small habit lead to a better day?
In 2014 U.S. Navy Adm. William H. McRaven presented a commencement address at the University of Texas at Austin. Immediately at the start of his speech, giggles filled the stadium, yet it wasn’t long before those snickers stopped, and an astonished hush filled the air.
What did he say that was so funny?
Why did their laughter turn into astonishment?
He caught their attention by saying, “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.”
Our beds matter
You may be wondering, What’s the big deal? Why should I care about making my bed? It’s always there, like a sink full of dishes or laundry. It will get messy again in a few hours, right?
His point was that the small task of making our bed gives us a sense of accomplishment and encourages us to keep performing small, but meaningful, tasks throughout the day. By the end of the day, these minor tasks reinforce the truth that the little things in life do matter.
Think about it.
Every day, we wake up, rub our eyes and shake off our sleepy stupor. Every night, we end our day in our bed. We start and end every day in our bed. Our bed has a prominent place in our life.
Respect the bed
Have we ever thought about being thankful for our bed? After all, not everyone in this world has the privilege of sleeping in one, let alone having access to clean sheets, pillows and blankets.
We’ve all probably seen selfies shared on social media of people happily parading the outfit of their day. Often, what’s behind them stands out more than their clothes! Have you ever zoomed in to look more closely at the mess of the piled-up bed behind them? I know I have!
Maybe you have never posted a selfie in your bedroom, but what if you have? What would your bed reveal if someone zoomed in? We take the time to iron our shirts, style our hair and ensure those purses are cleaned out every day. So, why not take the few extra minutes to make our beds?
King Solomon wrote in his book of wisdom that we should build our barns and till our lands first, and then work on building our homes (Proverbs 24:27). He essentially taught us that there is an order when prioritizing our tasks and maintenance.
One less stress
When we make our beds first thing in the morning, we start the day with a small task completed. It feels great! Best of all, it is one less to-do item to worry about!
One of my favorite Bible stories involves two godly women, Martha and Mary. This story occurred when Jesus Christ came to the village where the two sisters lived. In Luke 10:38-42 the story begins when Martha receives Him into her house, and she is described as “distracted with much serving.” Martha was running around trying to get everything in order while her sister Mary wasn’t helping her one bit! Frustrated, she tried to convince Jesus to make Mary stop what she was doing and help her out!
However, Mary was focused on the right thing at the right time, which was Jesus Christ. In fact, Jesus answered Martha by telling her that she was worried and upset about the wrong things! He reiterated that Mary was focused on the right thing.
So, without a doubt, our spiritual priorities trump everything! In the rare instance when you’d have to choose between making your bed and prayer, you should choose prayer! Strengthening our spiritual relationship with God is the most important thing we can do every day. But personally, I’ve found I can focus better on the spiritual when I have key physical things taken care of. Basic, visible chores that are left undone distract me!
If Martha hadn’t been so stressed and running around trying to do everything else, she could have sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His words. Can you imagine such an opportunity?
I can’t help but wonder whether Martha might have been less stressed and distracted if she would have had her home prepared ahead of time. Something as simple as making your bed leads to completing other simple tasks. Before you know it, they add up. I find that it takes some of the pressure off.
Get your day started
Okay, making our bed first thing in the morning may not actually change the world, but it can make our day. I believe this because I personally live it.
Years ago, when I heard Adm. McRaven’s commencement speech, I devoured it. Then I read his book Make Your Bed. He convinced me to develop the daily habit of making my bed first thing every morning. I can attest that this singular task provides a sense of motivation and encouragement!
As a result of adopting this habit, my bedroom is tidier. I quickly pick up after myself and put things away because now clutter is glaringly out of place. If someone drops by unexpectedly, I no longer must shut the bedroom door so the visitor won’t accidentally enter a disaster zone. Best of all, when my husband and I fold back the covers and sleep at night, we feel pampered as the stress of the day simply eases away.
I hope you will also consider adding this habit to your daily morning routine. It’s a small task, yet it’s mighty powerful.
If you want a deeper understanding of the story of Martha and Mary and how putting first things first is relevant in our lives today, read “Women of Faith: Martha and Mary.”