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Make Your Bed

Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.

Isaiah 61:1

Making the bed was the first task I completed this morning. It’s the first task I complete every morning, sometimes with my husband (when we get up at the same time) or more often by myself (when I rise later). It’s a habit my mother instilled in me as a child that is now part of my DNA. Train children in the right way and when old, they will not stray. (Proverbs 22:6)

As a little girl, I shared a bedroom with my younger sister. We had matching twin beds with matching bedspreads. I don’t recall making the bed upon waking, but I do remember crawling into a neatly made bed each night.

I am a sucker for a well-made bed. I like the top sheet to be long enough to fold over the edge of the blanket, and the comforter to align with the edge of the mattress. Pillows need to be fluffed and symmetrically placed on the headboard. Colors and texture matter too. I want something warm, soft, and inviting. The look I’m going for is “Come! All is ready!”

My desire for an alluring bed was almost shattered when my husband and I started dating. Greg slept in a car. It’s not what you might think. As a single male in his 20s, he used his engineering skills to turn the front end of a ’62 Mercedes into a bedframe, which was large enough to hold a double mattress. When he got up in the morning, all he had to do was shut the hood of the car. Voilà! Messy bed hidden—not made. This was not going to work for me.

Retired U.S. Navy four-star admiral, William McRaven, wrote a book entitled, Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life based on a commencement speech he delivered at the University of Austin. In it he writes, “You search for something that can give you solace, that can motivate you to begin your day, that can be a sense of pride in an oftentimes ugly world. But it is not just combat. It is daily life that needs this sense of structure. Nothing can replace the strength and comfort of one’s faith, but sometimes the simple act of making your bed can give you the lift you need to start your day and provide you the satisfaction to end it right.”

There are some people who think making the bed is a waste of time, but like Admiral McRaven, I don’t see it that way. I look at it as part of my morning routine, along with brushing my teeth, getting dressed, and reading the Bible. I rely on these daily steps to help me mentally and physically prepare for the day. And guess what? Studies show that having a daily routine positively affects mental acuity—especially in children. Having a defined set of steps to get them moving through the day helps children feel secure and alleviates their anxiety. Maybe this is why my mother insisted that the beds be made!

While there aren’t any specific studies targeting the benefits of making your bed, there is plenty of research that demonstrates a clear link between productivity and lower stress levels for people who abide by a set routine and/or live and work in an organized, clutter-free environment.

Speaking from experience, I accomplish more when I have a set schedule and my office is clean. When my office is messy, my willingness to work decreases; and when my schedule is relatively bare, I tend to goof off. Perhaps the writer of Proverbs was thinking the same thing when he wrote, “Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth”(10:4).

I’m not here to encourage you to make your bed, though I am a firm believer that it can be beneficial to mental and physical health. What I am saying is that a simple task like making the bed can bring a sense of order to our lives before we step out into a chaotic world. It might be the only thing you can control today, the only thing you will accomplish, or the only thing that makes you feel worthy.

My husband’s “car bed” is still in the family, though it is no longer in our home. He doesn’t seem to mind though. That phase of his life is over. There is no hood to close, only covers to smooth out and pillows to arrange. I may not know what God has in store for me each day, but even when things don’t go as planned, I can still say, “At least I made my bed.”

THE SONG THAT COMES TO MIND IS Rise and Shine and Give God the Glory by Reasons for Hope* Jesus.

Lyrics: “Up to you my hands are raised. Use me for your glory today. Rise and shine and give God the glory, glory.”

As a special treat this month, I invite you to read four more blog posts about making your bed, each written by one of the wonderful women in my Hope*Writers’ Circle. Just click one of the names below. Enjoy!

Pastor April Cranford

Jennifer F. Riales

Briane Pittman Kearns

Dr. April Dawn White

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