I was so blessed to be able to go to a ladies study, tonight, with some good friends. The topic was from the book, Shopping For Time by Carolyn Mahaney and her three daughters–The First Tip: Rise Up Early.
We talked about the selfishness we often engage in when we stay up late doing what we want to do instead of getting a full night’s rest so we can rise early to spend time with the Lord and serve our family effectively the next day. It reminded me of something I wrote last year:
Too much time for me is too much of a good thing.
Like too much food:
In the proper portion I am refreshed and strengthened;
But when I exceed that I become sluggish, lazy, fat.
What begins as a tool to help me serve my family better
becomes an all day feast of selfish pursuits.
Self-control is what I lack
against chocolate cake, potato chips, and all the books I want to read
right NOW and not tomorrow,
and all the writing I would do. . .
Self-discipline, patience, gratefulness for the time I am allotted–I need these.
Proverbs 25:16, 27 say, “Have you found honey? Eat only as much as you need, lest you be filled with it and vomit. . . .It is not good to eat too much honey, nor is it glorious to seek one’s own glory.”
Going to bed on time is an area I have been dealing with for over a year, since Rob has been working late most nights on our remodel. It is hard for me to go to bed at my goal time of 9:30 when he is not here to keep me accountable. I’ve been taking it one night at a time, praying that God will help me to have self-discipline in this area. I’ve also been trying not to take naps, even when I am really tired, because then I definitely have a hard time going to bed on time. I don’t need a lot of sleep, but I seem to function best if I get to sleep by 9:30 or 10:00, and then get up early.
After tonight’s discussion I am even more motivated to pursue this. I came home with good intentions and I did follow through–but I think my hormones are doing crazy things tonight and I am really cold and can’t sleep. I thought maybe I had a fever, but I took a temp and my temp is low. I’ve jogged in place, eaten a snack, bundled up in warm layers, and prayed for everyone I could think of. I even drank a hot mineral drink with magnesium before I went to bed (magnesium usually helps me sleep). I have three patches on my back with various chemicals on them to test for allergies. I wonder if that has anything to do with it? I get those off tomorrow. Maybe I will sleep better.
I will try again tomorrow.
We went over some discussion questions that you may find helpful–
1) What are the obstacles in your life (unique challenges or lazy habits) that make it difficult for you to rise early?
2) Does your current wake-up time allow for sufficient time to meet with God? What effect do you think rising early would have on your spiritual life?
3) Are you aware of any ways you could serve your family better by rising early?
I like this quote from John Piper, which was in Shopping For Time:
I earnesty recommend that it [Bible reading and prayer] be in the early morning, unless there are some extenuating circumstances. Entering our day without a serious meeting with God, over His word and in prayer, is like entering the battle without tending to our weapons. The human heart does not replenish itself with sleep. The body does, but not the heart. . . .We replenish our hearts not with sleep, but with the Word of God.
I’ve often thought about how Jesus went to the mountain to pray while it was very early, before other people were up and needing His ministry. He made private conversation with His Father a priority, but He did it at a time when the people were not seeking His attention. I try to follow His example as I serve my family each day. Unfortunately, I am often tempted to allow other things of lesser value than prayer distract me from serving the precious lives God has placed into my care. “Too much time for me. . .”