Hello, HelloMornings!



I've wanted to become a morning person for the longest time but so far, my attempts have not yielded long term results. 

SLEEPING/WAKING PATTERN DILEMMA

Being a night owl was not an issue until I graduated from college and started working. Unlike my university days, evening to early morning study binges were easy. But when I started my job, midnight was the latest I could stay up to read or do something where my mind has to be fully engaged. Even as I started sleeping earlier, I still oversleep.  Our office was within walking distance from where I lived so there was no reason for me to get up ridiculously early; there was no traffic to prepare for and breakfast was quick and easy. My body clock got whacked during college and it got even more confused during employment. This affected how I started my day, when and where I did my quiet times, and how I managed my time in general. I was getting by but my walk with the Lord was not flourishing.

I quit that job after two years to get married and go back to school. I have been married and in seminary for a little over six months now. Because of yet another life change, my schedules now change every three months depending on my classes. I often find myself either over- or underestimating my time budget. From college, to employment, to newlywed life in seminary, I learned that one big obstacle was my lack of structure for myself, especially one that I can adapt whenever life seasons change. My lack of prayer and dependence on God to help me cultivate healthy habits was also another major obstacle.

I figured that the answer was to become a morning person. However, I'd like to clarify a few things. First, it doesn't mean that I consider early risers who read Scripture, pray to God, and accomplish a bajillion stuff by sunrise more blessed than the night owls who do these things. I'm sure you'll agree that God does not prefer one time of the day over the other. Becoming a morning person in and of itself won't solve anything. Second, I don't think that becoming a morning person is the best way but I do believe there is wisdom in starting the day early to seek God. Third, "early" is relative. My personal goal is to wake up at 6:30 instead of 8 (even on Saturdays I wake up at 8 but I think 6:30-7:30 a.m. is a good margin of time for myself).

A HAPPY ACCIDENT
I was just so dissatisfied with my lack of structure and the way the I start my day. I don't allow myself that time and space to be still, to think, to just be with God, to treat the day as a gift and not another empty 24 hours to fill with the usual activities. At night, I would be too tired to even fill myself up with things I enjoy doing. For these reasons, I remain determined to change my sleeping and waking habits. But I fight to keep in mind that any transformation I desire cannot be achieved apart from God, as John 15 teaches us.

Three days ago, I was on Google looking for tips on how to become a morning person. Happily, I stumbled upon the Hello Mornings website. And friends, I  just knew this is what I needed.



Hello Mornings focuses on three core things: God, Plan, and Move. I'll let their site blurb explain what it's all about:

Our motto is “God.Plan.Move.” and we aim to empower women to spend time with God, plan their day and make healthy choices first thing in the morning. [...] In just a few minutes each morning, we can attend to the most important aspects of our lives – our relationship with God, planning, and improving our health. The goal isn’t overnight transformation, but slow and steady progress toward life long habits that radically change the direction of our lives and allow us to thrive in whatever role God has given us. (from the site's About page)
This is it. Something structured to get me started on the road to good morning habits. On top of the worksheets for the 6-week session, participants can join an accountability group for support and encouragement. I decided to join a group with 14 other ladies to get added motivation.

The new session starts tomorrow and I'm thoroughly excited about it. At the end (or beginning?) of the day, it's not simply about a physical change that I'm after. I realize that it's more than adjusting my wake up time from 8 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. so I can cram my day with work to do. Rather, it's about taking the necessary steps to grow in my relationship with God and realizing that all of the tasks that follow are actually means for me to know Him better. Without his empowering, I can't even go through the next six weeks fruitfully.

This is not about legalism but about discipline. By the same token, it isn't the morning activities themselves that will earn my intimacy with God. But in cultivating healthy habits, these morning disciplines (quiet time, exercise, planning), they become means of grace. The Hello Mornings challenge for me is a means to an end. Ultimately, the end goal is to seek God first (literally), his kingdom and his righteousness.

Tomorrow I say "hello!" for the first time to a commitment, one that I'm laying down at God's feet. May he use the next six weeks to show me and teach me things that I've been missing out on from lack of discipline.

See you in the morning!

(Question: Are you a lark or an owl? Do you have any morning rituals?)


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