Mornings - most people either love them or just flat detest them.
How about you? Do you love the break of dawn, or do you find morning to be a dreadful time, and getting up early a constant struggle?
In my own life, mornings were definitely best described by the latter of the two. I was NOT a morning person. As someone who was not a fan of the break of day, I found myself resenting the virtuous nature people tended to ascribe to those who were. I’d have thoughts like, “What is the deal with mornings? Why is everyone always talking about how great morning people are?” (Insert eye roll).
To be honest, I actually felt a bit judged when I’d read articles about how to make the most of mornings, or listen to people gush about how productive their mornings were. Trust me when I tell you that I don’t fail to see the irony that here I sit, years later penning this “Making Mornings Work” article myself. Allow me explain how that happened!
I knew that the Word of God has a lot to say about mornings. That was a fact I simply couldn’t ignore. If God thinks mornings are important I knew I needed to understand why. The word “morning” is found extensively in the Bible. In fact, it occurs more than 200 times in the Old Testament alone!
I began my journey from night owl to early bird by having a very honest conversation with the Lord. I confessed my struggle, I whined a bit, and I adamantly defended my stance that, “Lord, some people are simply not made to be morning people.” Again, let’s not overlook the irony here – there I was telling THE Maker about how I was made. Surely my insightful explanation would clarify for Him why I felt exempt from any need to explore the idea of becoming acquainted with early mornings. What? I know. All I can say is thank you patient Lord for your grace!
Shortly after beginning my pursuit to understand the importance of mornings, I remember coming across a statement in the Dictionary of Biblical Imagery. The sentiments just hit me like a ton of bricks, and I knew that I needed to more intentionally seek God on this topic. It read, “If morning is the time for routine action, in the Bible it is also the most customary time for special events to occur, especially events laden with spiritual significance. In both cases, morning is God’s special time and it represents human opportunity to achieve something purposeful.” Powerful right?
I explained to the Lord that if He wanted me to be a morning person I needed to first understand why, and then I’d need Him to transform me into an early bird. I asked - He answered. Sorry to spoil the ending, but let’s just say I now arise at 4 a.m. – without struggle. True story.
Getting up early on a routine basis without struggle did take some time,but now I can't imagine my life any other way. It took praying and studying the Word, but I am now convinced that mornings are indeed important and that anyone – yes, anyone can become a morning person if they desire to be one. If the Lord can change me, He can change anyone. Do you desire to make mornings work in your life? I’m going to tell you exactly how I’ve gone about transforming myself into a morning person, I pray it’s a blessing to you!!!
Seek the Lord.
As I mentioned, the very first thing I needed to do was understand WHY morning are important to God. I recommend that you have an honest time of prayer if you desire to enjoy mornings, but struggle. Confess your struggles, your concerns, hesitations, doubts, and desires to the Lord as they pertain to mornings.
Then, I would encourage you to seek for yourself the words of the Lord to understand what the Bible says about mornings. These are a few verses to help get you started:
- Proverbs 8:17
- Psalm 5:3
- Exodus 34:4
- Psalm 30:5
- Mark 1:35
Decide how you’ll use mornings.
Next, determine ahead of time how you plan to use your mornings. Simply getting up early for the sake of being up early doesn’t yield much fruit, and you’re not likely to stay very motivated. I recommend deciding ahead of time how you plan to use your early morning to add blessings to your life.
Some ways I recommend are:
Pray. Read God’s Word. Worship – Take this time to fill up your soul and to set the tone for your whole day. Think of it as a time to polish your spiritual armor.
Exercise- I love break of dawn workouts. It’s an amazing time to listen to worship songs, pray, enjoy endorphins and honor your body. What an amazing feeling it is to know that your workout is complete before the demands of the day have a chance to creep in and push it to the back-burner.
Enjoy self-care – It’s nice to have just a few quite moments to enjoy simple blessings. Sip your coffee, take a hot bath, read – it’s wonderful to care well for yourself early so you can pour out care onto others throughout the rest of the day.
Prepare – There is nothing like feeling like you are ahead of the eight ball is there? Mornings provide an amazing opportunity to gain control over your day rather than feeling like it’s controlling you. I love to use that quiet time to make lunches, meal prep, go through my schedule and organize my week, or to tie up loose ends like emails or work that's been “pulling” on me.
Go to bed!
OK, you simply can’t get around this one. There is profound wisdom in the statement, “Early to bed, early to rise.” The fact is that without adequate sleep, mornings are infinitely more difficult to manage. If you desire to be a morning person, you’ve got to get into the habit of going to bed early. A few of my best strategies for getting enough sleep in order to stay consistent about rising early are:
- Keep kids bedtimes the same. Whether it’s a school night, the weekend, or summer break, I keep my kids bedtimes basically the same. That way, I am able to tuck them in and keep my wake up time consistent.
- The snooze button is not an option. This is huge - HUGE! Training yourself to get up when the alarm goes off is one of the most important keys to success. If you tend to be one of those people who sets your alarm to go off before you actually need to get up so you can hit snooze several times. Stop, right away, stop. Train yourself to use the alarm to wake you. Learning to wake up the first time the alarm goes off is a great accomplishment and one that will serve you incredibly well!
Make the morning lovely.
Naturally, we tend to look forward to experiences that we find relaxing, fun, and enjoyable. Making your mornings lovely and something that you look forward to instead of something you dread is a wonderful way to become a morning person. A “lovely” morning will look different for everyone, but some of the ways I make my mornings lovely are to:
- Savor my coffee - joy in a cup!
- Light candles and turn on soothing lighting
- Sit in my favorite place in the house
- Play worship music
- Turn on the fireplace in the winter
- Open the windows, or sit on the front porch in the cool morning air in the summer
I hope these tips from my journey from night owl to early bird bless you in your journey.