I am not a morning person. I have said that for most of my life because it is completely and totally true. I love the idea of mornings and fresh starts, but my mind takes a long time to wake up. After reading Gretchen Rubin’s book Better Than Before, I realized that my night-owl tendencies are hard-wired and aren’t necessarily going anywhere. I got up early for years, determined that self-discipline and time would change me. But it only got me more and more exhausted, and I received a firm exhortation from my husband to sleep later.
I began to honor the way that I am made and the gift that comes with older children who finally sleep later. I received more rest, more health, and felt energized all throughout the day. I learned that getting up early didn’t equal spiritual maturity, super-mom status, or better productivity. I didn’t need to prove myself anymore. And yet I knew that something in my mornings was missing.
My mornings were more reaction, less proactive. The rhythm changed daily according to whatever I deemed the most important when my eyes opened. Sometimes I got dressed, and sometimes I stayed in pajamas for a while. Some days I put on essential oils, but usually, I would forget. Some days I looked at my planner or read a verse, and other days I walked around in a fog for an hour tidying my home. Every morning looked different, and none of it felt centering, grounding, or energizing.
I had given up on my desire for having a meaningful morning because I somehow believed that it could only be accomplished if I got up early. So as a mostly night-owl, I believed that early birds get to have meaningful mornings but the rest of us are relegated to make-it-through mornings. I have learned that whether you get up at 5:30 am or at 9 am, you can have a meaningful morning routine.
Having a meaningful morning is less checklist and more nurture. We are not just a body or a mind, a robot, but a living, breathing, soft soul that needs tending, filling, life. We create morning space for ourselves so that we are filled body, soul, and spirit and from that nurtured self, give to our families, friends, and community. The goal isn’t to check off a morning routine so that you can be more effective or more productive, although those are usually nice by-products. The goal is to be a whole, centered, grounded, and rooted woman who can live and love well. We fill up so we can flow out.
How do we fill?
Breathe deeply, while you are still in bed. In and out, in and out for a minute. Breathe in the love of the Father, the communion with Jesus, and the comfort of the Holy Spirit. We calm and center our bodies and spirits, praying to be filled with the Holy Spirit before we allow the alarm or the list to dictate our day. We begin without screens, without scrolling so that we can be clear-minded, focused, and present.
Sip some water. Have a glass sitting right there by your bed, ready to hydrate you, fill you, even before coffee or tea. We are made of water and need water and the Living Water. Every breath and every sip, these tangible actions that we need mirrors His identity: Rest, Breath, Water.
Rise. Get up. Stretch. Smile. Look towards the new day with resurrected hope. Ask Him for the hope.
These small acts are the beginnings of a small, doable, meaningful morning. None of this takes much time, energy, or a clear mind. Breath, Water, Rise. Small beginnings.
That is where I began. And if you are struggling, you can too. And next Tuesday, I will be sharing on Facebook Live my expanded routine. Where does my morning go from there? How do Post-its save my mornings? What do I do with my kids if they are awake? What resources do I use to help fill me when I have a foggy mind and sluggish energy? How do I connect with Jesus when my brain doesn’t engage well in the mornings?
I no longer say “I am not a morning person.” I have reframed that with, “I am a slow morning person.” I have begun to love mornings as I move at my own pace, according to my own personality, and tweak resources to serve my situation. Everyone can have a meaningful morning routine that fills and nourishes, builds and sends. Isn’t that good news?