Lamentations 3:22-24 “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
For as long as I can remember, my relationship with morning has not been entirely a friendly one. It started when I was just 5 and my grandmother came to wake me up. “Go ‘way Grandma,” was my reply. My feelings towards mornings remained the same through high school and college. I posted this verse on the front of my door as a warning to my family members: “If a man loudly blesses his neighbor early in the morning, it will be taken as a curse,” Proverbs 27:14. After I got married, my husband and I learned early on not to engage in any serious life-changing or important decision making conversation in the morning.
Despite this, I chose teaching as my profession and so my professional life included early teachers’ meetings and classes for which I was responsible. Gradually, through these years, my attitude toward morning changed. As long as I didn’t have to interact with anyone before my morning cup of tea, I actually enjoyed the quiet peace and crisp clear air of the early hours.
Now I have four children and sleeping in is a thing of the past (I am still holding out hope that my future might include some sleeping in). Getting up early is a different thing for me now. It means quiet peaceful time with the Lord, to think my own thoughts, and to get a good start on my day. Rising early is difficult, but the rewards I reap are so great that I am often motivated to do this. The past few months, however, I have not been in the habit of rising early due to pregnancy and middle of the night feedings causing me to be very sleepy in the morning. The warm, cozy bed and the soft, fluffy pillow are too much of a draw. Lately, I have been waking up when my toddler starts whining to get out of his room, at about 6:45.
Last week, I found a blog written by Kat at inspiredtoaction.com who authored an e-book (it’s free!) called Maximize Your Mornings. I already was convinced of the benefits of early morning rising, but her book inspired me to action. I had gotten out of the habit of rising early since being pregnant with our fourth child and during his first few months. Now that he is sleeping through the night, I am ready to begin early mornings again. Her book and blog posts have encouraged me and these are the main things I’ve been struck by:
1. “Get in motion.” It is true that if I’m up and moving around early in the morning, the momentum keeps me going and I get a good start on my daily chores.
2. “Be prepared.” I lay out my Bible, prayer journal, and planner- and a pen and pencil- on the kitchen table. Last night I even selected my clothing and placed them in the bathroom. The morning goes much more efficiently and smoothly if I’m ready for it.
3. Have the hubby deal with early risers. This was a new thought to me. I figured that if we had early risers (and we do- by 6:30 or 6:45, my boys are up!) then whoever is up should take care of them so the other one can sleep in. I will still want to let my husband sleep in on the weekends, but he has been surprisingly very open to this idea of getting up with the kids so I can have a full hour to myself to do my morning routine.
4. “Get uncomfortable.” She explains that if she is in her cozy chair with a cup of tea she would be asleep in 6 seconds. I find that if I get comfortable in my cozy chair, I will not get up again. So I sit in the office chair if I have to nurse the baby (it has supportive arms) and at the kitchen table if I don’t. It is so much better. I am more efficient, alert, and focused at the kitchen table.
5. “Stop waking up TO your children and start waking up FOR your children.” Rising early gives me the quiet, peaceful time I need to be prepared to be kind, joyful, and patient with my children for the rest of the day.
I am happy to report that this morning, I woke up at 5:50, got dressed and ready for the day. I had my steaming cup of chai tea and sat down with a nursing baby and my Bible to soak in God’s truths that would help me respond well to my children today. I lifted my praises and requests to the God who cares so deeply for me. I reviewed my planner to see what my day would include, threw a load of laundry in the washer and then jumped in my car to drive around the corner to my friend’s house. We took a brisk 20 minute walk together. Exercise is so much easier for me when it is either with someone else or is Dance Dance Revolution for the Wii. It got my heart rate going so that when I got home, I was ready and raring to go!
So, although I should still avoid serious discussions in the morning and those who loudly bless me might still face a solemn stare (my sister calls it “the bug look”) now I will be posting these verses on the front of my refrigerator door:
Psalm 5:3, “In the morning O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.”
Psalm 90:14 “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, so that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.”
Psalm 143:8 “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.”