I am nowhere close to being an early bird. Up until my first kid, I’d sleep in until noon when I didn’t have to go to work or church. Once the kids were here, I’d wake up early because I had to nurse or feed the kids. I certainly didn’t enjoy it, but it was something I had to do.
My aversion to rising early changed when I stumbled across a website called Inspired to Action and heard about moms waking up willingly in the wee hours of the morning for bible study, prayer and exercise and how it changed their lives. Looking for a better way to juggle the endless demands of life as mom, I decided to give this crazy idea of waking up early a try and even signed on for the Hello Mornings challenge.
Strangely enough, I liked it.
The time spent reading my bible was refreshing, inspiring and challenging. I had time to pray about concerns and issues. It settled my soul and set my days off to a more enjoyable start.
I was on a roll with my early morning routine, completing several more Hello Mornings challenges along the way, until the busyness of life started getting in the way.
Before I knew it, days, weeks and months (many, many months) had slipped since opening my Bible on a consistent schedule. My prayers became fleeting requests sandwiched between one appointment and another.
At least that was the case until now.
Now…when the daily dose of news about senseless tragedies and terror happening here in the U.S. and abroad often leaves me feeling beat down and jaded.
Now…when our culture today is bent on maligning and attacking biblical truths.
Now…when the shootings and killings of black men and women leave me concerned about the safety of my own family and the future of our country.
Now…when our political system often seems broken and laughable at best.
Now…I need God more than ever.
Yes, waking up early isn’t fun. But the truth of the matter is we make time for what’s important to us. The excuses and reasons as to why we shouldn’t wake up early are in abundance. I can come up with plenty of them. However, waking up early is a must-have investment of our time when the world is going all kinds of crazy.
Spending time in God’s word, worshipping and praying allows us to start our day on the offense rather than the defense. It’s a time to strengthen our resolve and spiritual backbone. It keep us grounded in hope of the things that are to come and to not despair. We can use the morning time to take our mind off the challenges and refocus on the One who is willing and able to help. I also find the early mornings give a rare opportunity for quiet, uninterrupted time alone to meditate and unwind–a great gift of self-care.
So, how can you set yourself up for early morning success if early mornings aren’t your thing?
1. Don’t be overly ambitious.
If you’re not an early bird, don’t jolt your system by trying to wake up an hour or two before your normal wake up time. Start off slow by setting your alarm just 10 or 15 minutes earlier and gradually move your alarm clock up.
2. Prep the night before.
Before you go to bed, take care of tasks you typically reserve for the morning. That could mean packing lunches, making breakfast or setting out clothes the night before. Set out your bible study materials, journal or whatever else you might need where you can’t miss them. The key is to do whatever you can so that you’re not scrambling in the morning.
3. Go to bed at a decent hour.
Admittedly, this is my most challenging step. I’m a night owl who usually doesn’t get going on my to do’s, house cleaning, t.v. watching and whatever else until 9:30 pm at the earliest. Before I know it, I can easily look up and find that it’s well past midnight. Unfortunately, that can also make it extremely difficult to wake up in the mornings. While my night owl ways are hard to shake off, I try to balance it out with a few nights of plentiful rest.
4. Pray for discipline and motivation.
You don’t have to go at this alone. Rely and trust in God’s strength to get you up. Share with Him your desire to wake up early for Bible study, prayer and meditation and ask him for the discipline and motivation needed to get you out of your comfy bed.
5. Be accountable.
Whether you join a group like Hello Mornings or use an app such as Streaks to track your morning time, holding yourself accountable can do wonders for getting you through those rough patches where all you want to do is stay under your covers. God can give us the will and power to wake up early, but a little nudging can keep us on track.
If you’re not a morning person, I want to tell you that tomorrow morning is as good a time as any to make a change. It may not be an easy thing to do, but the benefits–the peace that follows my prayers, the fresh insights I get about God’s awesomeness and my strengthened reliance on Him–make it all worth it.