When I was in college I worked for Starbucks. To best juggle school, work, and marriage, I worked as an opener, which meant arriving at 5:00 a.m. to open the store and be ready for the first customer at 5:30. That wake up time, somewhere between 4:00-4:15, was scary at first. I had a hard time imagining that my body would really function behind a wheel or in front of an espresso machine at that time of the morning (or night, whichever way you look at it), but to my pleasant surprise it did. There was something wonderful about walking into a store where the smell of espresso hit you like a wave, waking you up gently as the caffeine seemed to seep into your pores.
I worked there for over a year before I graduated from college and took a teaching job, and the early wake-up habit proved to be one that stuck. For awhile. For a long time, waking up at 7:00 felt like sleeping in, and anything over 7:30 was unheard of. But over time and after children, all of that changed.
I happen to have two girls who are fantastically late sleepers on most occasions. In fact, on Saturday morning I got back from my run at 9:30 to find Nathan and the girls had all rolled out of bed just moments before. What that means is that I am virtually never woken up because of a child. I am the first one up.
There is a gold mine of opportunity in those morning hours before M and A are up, and I know that the possibilities of what can be accomplished in that time are unlimited. The problem is, I've gotten lazy. Knowing they will sleep has led to sleeping in a little later myself. And before I know it, that window of opportunity is something like a shrunken shirt: still there but too small to be of use. I want to change, but I've discovered wanting it, and wanting it enough to do something about it, are two different things.
If I get up with Nathan every morning at 6:00, that would mean at least 2 hours of uninterrupted time to get my day off to a great start. I could work, have my Bible study, do some cleaning, you name it! It would be amazing. Amazing enough that I decided last night that I was really ready to do something about it. I promised myself that at 6:00, I would wake up.
Well, I did indeed wake up at 6:00, but I discovered another important part of the equation that I had overlooked last night at bed time. I found out that I can be awake in bed for a solid hour before my body feels ready to move. Yes, I am speaking from this morning's experience. So lesson number one in self-discipline: swing those legs out of bed and get up! Consciousness from underneath the covers doesn't count.