First thoughts

First thoughts

By Isaiah Pauley

The alarm clock rings. While your hands shuffle covers, your mind shuffles thoughts.

The teenager groans—it’s another day of school. The working mom stares at the ceiling—it’s another day of seemingly endless responsibilities. The dad puts his feet to the floor, knowing he must provide again for his family. The middle-aged grandparent worries—it’s another day of guilt trips. Who knew the kids would turn out that way? Now, he fears his grandkids will walk the same road. The elderly man weeps as he realizes how different his life is than the dream he just had. The tears now run down his face—he’s reminded of the cancer. It’s another day of sorrow and fear.

Oh yeah, and might I mention the baby who effortlessly awakes three times per night—oh, how life changes!

Truth be told, everyone wakes up to first thoughts, and most of them are negative.

But God has given me a reminder—one I want to share with you.

My first thoughts Wednesday morning speak loud and clear, “I have a column to complete!” I sit at my desk—journal, Bible, and coffee in front of me. Conscious of my inability to write effectively by my own strength, I start my “study” with prayer.

It’s one thing to pray about the column. I mean, it makes sense to pray that God anoints me, gives me guidance, and uses me to write something meaningful. But it doesn’t make quite as much sense to spend my valuable time praying for others.

I am blessed to gather prayer request cards at my church and pray over them. On Wednesday, I feel as if I should take some time to pray for those whose names appear on the cards. With hesitation, I walk to the room where they lay and begin to pray for others. Not me. Not my situation. I pray for them—two of whom I couldn’t tell from Adam.

By now, you’re probably wondering what’s wrong with me.

“Good gravy! What kind of disciple are you, Isaiah? Don’t you care about other people?”

But think about it. As you wake up in the morning, what do you think about? More specifically, who do you think about? If you’re anything like me, the answer is myself—my responsibilities, my problems, my coffee addiction!

It’s a human problem. Unfortunately, we’re often more selfish than we’d like to admit.

By His grace, God speaks to my heart Wednesday morning. I begin to consider their situations, and God begins to stir within me something different.

In my prayer journal, I write, “But I’m reminded, Lord, that this morning, they will wake up with their own first thoughts, and I have the opportunity of asking God [you] to strengthen their perspective and ensure their destiny. What an honor this should be!”

Remember, we all have first thoughts. Things that garner our attention in the morning. But what if our first thoughts were not about us? What if we made it a habit to think first of others?

Philippians 2:3 says, “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.”

After all, I’m reminded of a man who lived selflessly. Maybe you’ve heard of him. He could have easily thought about himself. But instead, he chose to think about others. About me. About you. About any human being who has ever walked the face of the earth. His name is Jesus.

“Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross” (V. 6-8).

This week, I encourage you to make yourself available to God’s prompting. Allow Him to make your first thoughts about His will—reaching other people for the Kingdom. Sure, everyone thinks about their breakfast and weariness, but let your first real endeavors be about others. As we know from Christ’s example, what a profound difference it creates.
First thoughts

By Isaiah Pauley

Isaiah Pauley is a junior at Wahama High School. His blogs and videos can be found at

Isaiah Pauley is a junior at Wahama High School. His blogs and videos can be found at