Tuesday, October 13, 2009

lessons in self-discipline

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.


Emily said...

My kids aren't the latest sleepers but they're not up at the crack of dawn either. I've had the same thoughts as you...take advantage of that time! But I also have a hard time motivating my body to actually move. Good luck getting into your new early routine.

Randall @ Happy For This Moment said...

I agree that the extra time in the morning in a quiet house is such a great time, a well kept secret!

Anonymous said...

I could give you a call when I wake up for work at 4 a.m. Or when I arrive at work between 5:45 and 6 a.m., if that would help.



Betsy said...

I need to do that also. I have been blessed with late sleepers. Easier said than done!

Kay said...

Mine is a late sleeper too.... and we have always loved it too! But yes, it's hard to get up when curling up under the warm covers sounds so nice. lol

Penny said...

You are so funny! I have to get up at 5:00 or 5:15 Monday through Friday, so if I can sleep in on Saturday I DO! And Sundays, I get up by 7:30. I am SO NOT a morning person. If kindergarten in Louisiana could just start after lunch, I'd be in Heaven --- well, at least I'd feel better. ;)

Laura said...

You hit the nail on the head and I'm convicted, again, as I've been slipping myself and can hear the Spirit calling me to greater discipline in this area. I think a second side to the equation is having the discipline to get in bed the night before. It's too easy to "veg" in front of a TV or computer for too late, and then our quiet time suffers in the morning. One of my favorite Scriptures is Isaiah 50:4-5. I always warn people to be serious about it before they pray this one, because God will wake you up early if you ask sincerely!

"The sovereign Lord has given me the capacity to be His spokesman, so that I know how to respond kindly to the weary. He wakes me up every morning; He makes me alert so I can listen attentively as disciples do. The sovereign Lord has spoken to me clearly; I have not rebelled, I have not turned back." (NET)

Kenzie said...

Funny you posted about this. My kids are NOT late sleepers, D up at 7 on the dot and FC somewhere between 6 & 7 BUT I talked to a mom with 3 children barely 3 and under and she wakes up at 5am every morning just to have that first hour alone- working out, with the Lord, drinking coffee... just awake. It really got me thinking... Do I attempt a 5am schedule? I just feel like I am NEVER without someone awake in my house- kids bright and early and husband til the wee hours of the morn. What to do?! :) Love you girl.