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MondayIf you ask most people what their least favorite day of the week is, Monday invariably tends to take home the trophy as the most unpopular of the seven days that make up our week.

We humans have the need to compartmentalize our lives in a series of segments, each one in succession and we ascribe certain tasks and various events with those segments, giving each one a name, such as Monday or Saturday. Most of us take it a step further than that though, breaking down those events and tasks into specific blocks of time and then we assign those blocks to a specific part of the day and in this way, our lives become ordered and we’re able to digest life much in the same way that eat, in manageable portions and bites. At least that’s the way its supposed to work.

Much like our daily diet though, our daily schedule that we have meticulous ordered to keep our lives straight and on track tends to now and then get derailed. We think we manage it but it in truth, it oftentimes manages us. Think again of our diet of food. When we take on portions that are too large, we overdo it and we get too full. If we take bites that are too large, we can get choked on it.

Life is much the same way and our time and what we do with it is a lot like eating. If we take on too much, we overdo and it begins to unravel. If we take bites that are too large, we “bite off more than we can chew” and get choked doing one thing, leaving the rest to go undone or half done. Conversely, if we don’t have enough to do, boredom,  lethargy and idleness does its damage as well but this is rarely a problem for me.

I think our attitude towards Mondays start when we are children. Very few children I know like to get up and get ready for school. Mine certainly doesn’t. They have just finished up a weekend where they have had two days to do pretty much what they wanted to do. Sleeping in isn’t usually a problem on the weekend. If the weather is nice, they can play outdoors or ride their bikes and if bad, they can watch TV or play with their toys. They enjoy the relaxed restrictions on their time and for them, it’s just hard to readjust suddenly to a day of routine, expectations and demands. For them, Mondays signal a start to another series of five segments, each one filled with smaller segments that orders their day and they resist.

As adults, we face the same thing and we resist the transition from the relaxed restrictions of the weekend to the ordered and segmented days that make up our workweek. For a lot of us, myself included, Mondays tend to be a bit more chaotic as things that might have been left undone the week before come back to haunt us in the new week. The small pile on the desk that we happily said goodbye to on Friday looks daunting and huge on Monday when coupled with the normal routines we must face that day.

Other people’s “pile” affects ours, adding to what is already on our plate, and we do our best to consume the portions we have been given but pretty soon we are gorged on demands and expectations, both our own and those of others. Mondays can consume us and some tend to be spent either putting things back in place or making a new place for them but usually when Tuesday arrives, we are back on track and making some progress.

Look at what God did on the first Monday ever….He created the heavens and the earth and right after that small task, he separated the day from the night, in effect creating the first day ever. Before He made land, before He made plants, before He made stars and before He made animals and humans, He made the days of the week. God created us on a Saturday….is it any wonder that Saturday is our favorite day of the week?

Monday comes like a thief in the night, stealing away the happiness and the fun of the weekend and splashing our faces with the cold water of reality, a reality of demands and expectations, schedules and workloads, obligations and issues. If our week is like a ladder, we climb every day, reaching the top on Sunday only to fall off sometime in the night and have to start the climb all over again on Monday morning. God performed the most Herculean of tasks on the first day of the week and, so it seems, it falls to us to do the same thing in our own limited way, tackling the largest and most important tasks first….and that is the beauty of Monday.

Monday is more than just the first day of the week…its the most important of the five weekdays we have. It’s the chance to start over, fresh and new, and dive into the tasks that are set before us to handle in the week ahead. The weekend should not just be viewed as a time set aside to unwind from the week before but as a time to recharge our batteries and refresh our spirit for the week ahead. After all, Friday night is for unwinding isn’t it?

Sleeping in late on Saturday, going to a movie, having a Starbucks coffee at Barnes and Noble, taking my wife to eat at the French Market, catching up on TV shows, watching a ball game with my son (when I can follow along with what is happening) and reading a book all go a long way toward recharging my batteries.

Attending worship services on Sunday, watching my son light the candles at church, being creative and writing an article that makes me think about life and what it means (like I’m doing right now) and going for a drive when the weather is pretty all go a long way towards refreshing my spirit.

Each of us have our different ways that we accomplish these two things but the end result is usually the same: if we are successful in what we do with the two weekend days we are given, we will usually find Monday a lot less daunting than we would otherwise. Its a lot like taking an exam….if we approach it well rested and well prepared, we will probably score a better grade and at the end of the day, despite the challenges of that day, we will know that we can face whatever the rest of the week throws our way.

The same goes for an athlete. Won’t a football player or a golfer have a better game if they are rested up, physically prepared and mentally focused to meet the challenges of that game? Even if they don’t win, they will still feel a lot better about how they did during the game than they would otherwise, just as we might not always get everything done that we need to in a given week. We always feel better if we know we did all that we could.

Each day has a purpose. We find our challenges on Monday, our rhythm on Tuesday and our pace on Wednesday. We push hard on Thursday, reflect on Friday, rest our bodies on Saturday and recharge our spirit on Sunday. We are given the strength we need before the challenges of the week are put before us and that strength will help us get a lot done in the week ahead.

We might even get that pile off the desk this week if we make each day count and use each one wisely. What will you do this week? Will you rise to the challenges or succumb to “pile”? Will you find your rhythm and your pace? Look ahead for your challenges but always look above for your strength and then when you look behind, you will see all that you have accomplished.

Have a great week!