What goes through your mind when you wake up in the morning? Do you jump out of bed, ready to hit the day or do you roll over and hit the snooze button instead? Perhaps you are like me and set the alarm for as late as possible.
My kids have been my alarm for a very long time. I know, I know. It’s in the top 10 list of the worst things I can do as a mom. But seriously, if I wanted to get up before them I would be up at 5:00 a.m. When my son was a toddler, it would have been 3:30. No, thank you! Surely, you can understand why this night owl mom doesn’t set an alarm. I steal every last minute of morning-shut-eye I can get.
Survival Became Normal
For over six years, I haven’t had to set an alarm. Unfortunately, that means my peaceful sleep is often interrupted by tears, barking or fighting. I throw the pillow over my head until the interruption moves into my bedroom, and then finally get up. I am thrust into chaos then struggle to survive until hitting the pillow again at night. It’s awfully difficult to feel purposeful in life when it’s all you can do to survive your physical, emotional and spiritual fatigue. And for a long time I couldn’t do much about it.
But somewhere along the way my morning routine became less of a necessity and more…normal. I just assumed that I would be tired and unmotivated all day. My problem turned into an attitude choice. The kids woke up a little later and were a little less needy, yet I still felt like someone was trying to torture me when they woke me up. And I acted like it.
Wake Up For Your Life
Wake up for your life, not to your life.
I don’t think this suggestion means that I must wake up before my kids wake up. (I’m not a huge fan of blanket statements about the way we ought to do things.) However, there is a deep jewel of wisdom here. I can wake up ready to meet my life with all I am rather than being smacked by it and play catch-up all day.
And that’s just it. Life has a way of catching me on my heels when I wake up unprepared to meet my day. Through the sleep-deprived years I settled into a pattern of action and thought that generally kept me in a reactive mode, tossed around like a flag in the wind. I know there is a better way. My whole family feels more stable and at peace when I stay in a proactive mode, keeping the forward motion of a bird in flight. Of course, I am not able to control the winds of every argument, injury or fancy of those around me. But I can meet all of life by leaning into the headwinds and navigating them with all the wisdom, strength and humility I’ve been given.
5 Proactive Ideas To Start The Day
I’m a work in progress. Here are a few things that I do to when I focus on wake up for my life. Perhaps something here would help you, too.
- Prepare. Take a few minutes each night to think through the next day’s schedule and goals. It took me twenty minutes to prepare this list for my kids last night, but it bought me hours of cooperation and accomplishment this morning.They loved their lists today and asked for another tomorrow. I rarely have a big list for the kids, but any kind of plan helps!
- Purge. Cut, minimize and simplify your schedule, possessions and expectations. Find and then keep finding the right balance for you and your household between being over and under whelmed. I have a long ways to go, but every little decision helps. My friend Trisha Martinez wrote a great post about this topic (here).
- Pray. In the groggy minutes after opening your eyes you may find a scripted prayer
or verse to be really helpful for realigning your heart and mind with the heart of God. Spiritual Director, Kili Wenburg (here), introduced me to “Six Gestures of the Morning Praise” from Joyce Rupp’s book Out Of The Ordinary. It is lovely.
- Pump. Get your blood pumping in the morning with physical activity before it pumps with anxiety or anger. Your brain and nervous system will be more prepared for the stressors that come your way.
- Play. Find one light-hearted way to get everyone laughing in the morning. (Hint: making fool of yourself with slapstick humor works for kids every time.)
What routines or tips do you use to wake up for your day? I would love to have more ideas
from which to draw when I start to feel blown by the wind. Share here or on Facebook.
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