Read With Me Book Club
Chapter 2 of Shopping for Time
The First Tip – Rise Early
“We all want to be consistent to meet with God. And yet it can seem impossible to find a slot in the schedule that we can maintain. So instead we often continue for long periods of time – weeks and even months – convinced there is no alternative … one busy season invariable gives way to a busier one. The spiritual disciplines gather more dust at the back of our priorities shelf. Our souls wither and our faith grows dim,” writes Carolyn Mahaney. Sound familiar? I think most of us resonate with this at some point in our life.
For some of us, a small percentage of us, “sleeping in” really is the best use of time in those early morning hours. I just emerged from such a season; this is the season of getting up multiple times a night to feed young babies ’round the clock. (If this is you, pin this for another time.) But for the rest of us, who get a solid 7-8 hours of sleep, getting up early has its benefits.
Just as breakfast is the most important meal of the day, spiritual food is important – if not more – than physical food. Yes, we are to meditate on His Word all day long, but it’s hard to fight the day’s battles if we are spiritually malnourished and fatigued. A good morning’s feast gives us the spiritual armor, energy, and motivation we need to engage our day with the right perspective. I can skip breakfast for a couple of hours, but if I don’t eat by 11 am, I am the crankiest of crankies and pretty much useless at doing anything well. Eating a little cracker or a bite of cheese here and there does not solve the problem. The same principle applies to my heart. If I starve myself spiritually, the fruits of kindness, gentleness, and self-control are remarkably diminished and even absent.
Chapter 2 speaks to some of the benefits we reap during the day when we sow the seeds of Truth in our hearts in those early hours. Here are three. When we meet with God early, we are:
1. Anchored to Christ. “More dependent on the Word of God with hearts fixated on the cross. A greater thirst for God’s Word in our souls.”.
2. Adjusted to Christ. “Transformed from desperate to dependent, from sporadic to consistent, from anger to anxiety to peace and perspective, from lukewarm affections to growing love for Christ.”
3. Available to serve Christ. “…the Proverbs 31 woman rose extremely early to provide food for her family.” As a single, getting up early ensured a smooth morning routine off to work and enabled me to have an others focused mentality, verses the mad rush to get out the door and possible abruptness to roommates and co-workers. When we serve others, we serve Christ.
The principle is: Make your schedule reflect your priorities. “The purpose of getting up early is to make the most important priorities the most important.” You may not need to get up at 5 am! If you have a 10 am class, then waking up at 8 am is early for you. You might have a husband who could care less if you are up before him with breakfast and would rather you stay up late with him till 11 pm. It works for you to have your quiet time at 10 am after he has left for work. The point is: discern the best hour to meet with the Lord for your schedule. For many of us, it does happen to be in those early am hours. If this is you, here are tips from chapter 2 for getting up early.
Carolyn’s Super Six Point Strategy for waking up early:
1. Place your alarm clock at a strategic location, preferably on the other side of the room from your bed.
2. Set your alarm for the same time everyday.
3. Never, never hit the snooze button or lie back down. The second your alarm goes off is the most critical moment in getting up early.
4. Proceed directly to the coffee pot or caffeinated drink of choice. (Preset it so it’s ready when you awake. Even better – set out the mug.)
5. Be prepared to feel absolutely miserable for about ten to fifteen minutes. But the misery soon turns to pure gladness as you experience the delight of meeting with God and reap the benefits the rest of the day. Fifteen minutes of misery is certainly worth fifteen-plus hours of peace and productivity.
6. Remember our bodies eventually respond to a standard wake-up time. In other words, it gets easier.
Need to jump start your quiet time devotionals? Read Simplify Your Spiritual Life or 7 Ways for Busy Moms [or anyone] to get in the Word (Desiring God blog).
Next Monday, Book Club Check In: Maximize Your Mornings
Please Comment: What do your mornings look like?