Morning time: The inevitable chaotic rush to get to where we're going. For me, the daily disappointment. You see, my plan for the morning is always to wake up before the kids, delve into the Word, enjoy a hot cup of peppermint tea, and just soak in all the dreamy morning glory. Sometimes I get super ambitious and I plan to exercise in the morning, too. But the truth, friends? The truth is that my mornings are more like a chaotic scramble - me scrambling to get the kids ready, find socks, make lunches, and get there on time. I know you get it. I likely stayed up way too late the night before because those precious hours after the kids go to bed are my only hours to work on my projects, or catch up with friends who are also up late on Messenger. I likely thought about going to bed at 10:00, and thought about how I need sleep and really want to wake up early the next day to soak in the morning glory. Yeah, I thought about it.
That night, when I finally make it to bed, I set my alarm for 6:00am. I put my phone down. I pick it back up and think, "Just in case I don't wake up..." and set another alarm for 6:05. And then another for 6:10. Laugh, go ahead. I *know* it's ridiculous. You know what's more ridiculous? Sometimes, I (somehow) turn off ALL of my alarms and keep sleeping. Because I'm exhausted. Because I stayed up too late thinking that "me time" was best found after the kiddos went to bed. And then, chaos. Rushing. Frustration. And my hope of morning glory is gone.
You know what I really need? Discipline. I need to have discipline. I know that what my soul needs is time with God in the morning - time to be fed spiritually, time to talk with Him. I know it and I want it, but often times I get sucked in by the "right now", and ultimately my soul isn't fed. And you know who suffers when that happens? Them.
The times that I do have discipline - when I get sufficient rest and wake up before the kids - morning glory. When I make time for Him in the mornings - when I get in the Word and spend uninterrupted, quality time with Him, the rest of my day is always better. I feel refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to conquer. When my soul is fed, I'm better - I'm a better wife, mom, friend, and stranger. Discipline, friends - I need discipline.
Have you been there? Do you long for that time with the Lord, knowing that your days are better when you start them with Him? You know that how you spend your mornings will carry on throughout your day, but you struggle to make it a priority. I'm with you. Truth is, the late night hours are fun, but they're shallow. They bring me temporary joy, but not the lasting kind that fills my soul. I know what I need. And here's how I've been working to prioritize:
- Know my why.
Tell me to go to bed and set my alarm for 5:30am so I can wake up before everyone else, and I'll just say no thanks. Tell me to do it because the rest of my day will be better because of it, and my time with my kids in the morning will be quality, and my soul will feel fed - now we're talkin'. Sometimes we need to be reminded of our why.
- Make myself accountable.
We all need a little accountability, don't we? If I really want to stick to something, I ask my hubby to hold me accountable. I ask him because I know he's a stick-to-it kind of guy. Even when it means saying no to fun (I suck at that), he'll hold me to it. Find an accountability partner and be honest with them.
- Set my alarm and put it across the room.
This sounds ridiculous, but it's changed my mornings. I can't explain how, but if my phone is next to me on my nightstand, I somehow manage to turn off *all* of my alarms without even realizing it. Maybe I'm half asleep? I honestly have no idea. But if my phone is across the room, I have to get up to turn it off, and that's half the battle, isn't it?
- Prep the night before.
This is something that Dale Partridge over at startupcamp.com taught me. 3x5 index cards are lifesavers! Before bed, take an index card and write your top priorities for the morning. Pray, read the Word, exercise, write, etc. Whatever my top five are, I write them. Then, when I wake up, I have my list ready to go - there's no wondering what to do, what to read, what I should spend my time doing. For a heavy sleeper/slow to come to it kind of gal, this is a game changer.
Look guys, I haven't mastered this. I'm a work-in-progress, even though I know what works for me and what doesn't. Discipline. Practice. Grace. Just because I fail one morning, doesn't mean I'm doomed to chaotic mornings for the rest of my life. I'm learning to have grace with myself. The more I practice these tools, the more consistent I become, and the easier it is to have grace on myself. I know I'm working towards it, and that feels right.
All of this is simply to say this: Start your day with Him. Your mornings don't have to be chaos. Regardless of your season of life, starting your day in the Word will *change* your days, and I mean change them for the better! If you're already doing this, you know it's true. And if you're not, will you join me on this journey of turning our mornings from chaos to calm?
"I met God in the morning
When the day was at its best,
And His presence came like glory
Of the sunrise in my breast.
All day long the Presence lingered,
All day long He stayed with me,
And we sailed in perfect calmness
O'er a very troubled sea.
Other ships were blown and battered,
Other ships were sore distressed.
But the winds that seemed to drive them,
Brought to us a peace and rest.
Then I thought of other mornings,
With a keen remorse of mind.
When I too, had looked the moorings
With the Presence left behind.
And I think I know the secret,
Learned form many a troubled way:
You must seek God in the morning
If you want Him through the day."
- Ralph Cushman