There’s something significant about mornings. I think scripture points to this. Jesus rises early to spend time secluded with the Father, David cries out to God in eager expectation in the morning, Jeremiah proclaims the mercies of the Lord starting new each morning, even the idealized Proverbs 31 woman awakes while it is still dark to begin her day. There is also a lot to say about those who let their time be wasted in slumber and laziness.
As a notorious sleeper, coming from a family who is known for their special abilities in sleeping long hours at a time, I often find myself convicted when I stumble across these passages. I like to sleep. And I like to push snooze. A lot. For me there has always been two options for wake up time. The first is when I would ideally like to get up to accomplish what I need to do to start the day well, and the second is when I absolutely have to get up or I’ll be late for something I’ve committed to. The latter was regularly chosen, as I hit snooze multiple times and then frantically got ready for the day, always running slightly behind schedule.
Peace is not in frantically frenzied mornings. Wholeness for a day begins with the morning. Yes, some people aren’t morning people and thrive in the evening. I’m one of them. But our days still begin when the alarm goes off, whether it is easy or not. How can we seek to make the morning less stressful and more peaceful?
Here are my solutions. They may be helpful for you, or they may not. But perhaps we all need a moment to intentionally asses our morning structure and consider whether or not it is setting the tone for a whole and peaceful day.
1.Snooze is not an option.
I’m not sure why oversleeping an hour in eight minute increments is so enticing, but it is. But it isn’t actually restful for your body and it creates stress. Don’t let it be an option. Move the alarm across the room and get out of bed immediately without returning.
2. Use the timer on your coffee maker to have it brewed upon waking.
Or if you don’t like coffee, find a morning drink that is enticing. Or something that brings you pleasure.
Disney Pandora is made for early mornings.
4. Have a plan
Decide what you’re going to wear, what you’re going to make for breakfast, and what your first task for the day is. Better yet, lay out the clothes and begin any food prep the night before.
5. Look outside
Watching the world wake up helps you wake up.
6. Make the bed.
Your body will understand that it’s time to be awake and the bed will stop looking so alluring if it is made.
7. Come to the Lord.
I read the Proverb coinciding with the day of the month every morning as I take the first sips of coffee. It doesn’t have to be long, in fact I can’t sit down for a thorough study until I’ve been active or I fall back asleep. But something short centers my heart and helps me face the day.
8. Practice for seven weeks to form the habit.
I heard this statement eight weeks ago. I now have gotten up every weekday morning at 5:55 without pressing snooze once (and praise the Lord for weekends). It doesn’t feel awesome every day, but it is beginning to feel natural and good.
It’s not about the time on the clock or the alarm clock habits we have. The focus isn’t what we do in our mornings. The focus must be what we seek. There is no room for self-indulgence or wasted time in the life wholly devoted to Christ. Our pursuit of wholeness and peace begins each morning, just as His mercies and graces are renewed. Each morning is a new opportunity to rise and seek the bright Morning Star.