If I had a perfect world, nothing (work, school, church, appointments, eating… anything) would begin before 11am. Mornings are just not my thing. It is not even about getting a certain amount of sleep; it is simply that it is morning time, it is before 11am, and I tend to just not function properly.
I was blessed with wonderful children who understand this concept. For 3 years, mornings began around 9am at my house. I would rarely plan anything earlier than their wake up time because not only did I like to sleep in, I didn’t want to disturb them. Obviously, that is not 11, but it is immensely better than 6 or 7, or sometimes I hear of kids waking up at 5!!!! I would be a hermit if that were the case with my children.
In this last year, we moved our ginger Liam into the same room as the twins. We live in a two bedroom apartment, so yes, all 3 share a room for the time being. Life continued as normal…until Liam learned how to climb out of his crib at 16 months. Having more space and freedom in his toddler bed has led him to waking himself up earlier and earlier. Within 3.5 weeks, Liam was waking at 7am and conveniently waking his brothers since he has full access to jumping on them and their beds in mornings. Well, I was lovingly spoiled by my husband and for 7 out of the 9 months of my last pregnancy, he got up nearly every morning with the kids and I slept and rolled out of bed between 10 & 11 each day… perfect world, remember? Then, he got a job on the graveyard shift. Oh, heaven help me! The not-so-blissful 7ams began.
Sometimes when life brings a change, we cringe and cower and fight it with everything while it becomes a thorn in our side and even keeps us from being our true selves. You see, I kept saying that ‘It was phase’ or ‘He’s just getting used to being in a toddler bed’ or ‘I’ll keep him up past the twins’ and ‘I need to get curtains to make it darker in there.’ All the while in the back of my mind, I was pretty sure our Liam was not going to start waking up at 9am again anytime soon. I have fought it everyday since. I have tried giving him a bottle or toys/books to play with until I am ready to get up, but everyday he awakens around 7 or just before and wakes his brothers and they all start playing (or get wild & crazy) until Eric or I wake up to let them out of their room.
In other circumstances, we stand strong, boldly facing our fears and overcoming the obstacles that come our way. I was “awakened” to the world of early risers in the last couple of months and even though sometimes I need 2 cups of coffee to get me going, most mornings I am urged in my being to ‘use your moment well.’ I could pout everyday (which honestly is the case at times) and be grumpy and lash out at my children or I could use the opportunity to pursue some of my passions, engage with my littles who are growing ever so swiftly, create stability and an atmosphere of love and uplifting in my home, or fill my day with so much purpose and life that when I get to my bed every night I lay down with exhaustion from a full life.
You see, there are many who have it much harder than I do. I recently read Mending Tomorrow by Alyssa Quilala, and I realized how much I was not using my moments well. There is so much more my life was meant to be and I have so much to offer others. This young lady in the book went through one of the most tragic experiences a mother could, and gave birth to nearly fully-developed stillborn baby boy. This book wasn’t about how much she lost, but how much she lived. How the grief sought to consume her, but her response was praise to her God. How she chose not to diminish who she was but to find her purpose in making others well and whole. She chose to use her moment well. I can say in the hardest moments of my life, my response hasn’t always been a well moment. This story however showed me that it is possible and inspired me to embrace the early risers and not stop until I’m overflowing with pouring out from who I am and whose I am. For the last 3 years, I have woken nearly every morning with thoughts of doubt, regret, degrading my looks and abilities, low self-esteem, and little confidence that I was really meant to make a mark on this earth. I tried to be humble regarding the situations brought to me, and most of the time I was, but what I didn’t realize was I had turned inward and was deflating who I was at times. I was struck that many of us do the same, even when talking about our life in the Lord.
Alyssa said, “…some of what we call ‘humility’ in the church is actually just the opposite. Devaluing and diminishing ourselves isn’t humility -at its root, it’s actually unbelief, idolatry, and pride…It’s elevating our own negative opinions above God’s opinions…True humility, in contrast, surrenders our right to define ourselves, positively or negatively, by anything but what God says. True humility believes God when He says we are blameless in His sight, acceptable, pure, lovely, and deeply loved. True humility acknowledges both the Giver and His gifts to be good, and confidently delights in and uses those gifts in order to glorify the Giver.” –Mending Tomorrow
There are countless times I have quoted to myself or to others, “He must increase, and I must decrease.” (John 3:30) It was always well intended to keep me from getting prideful or believing I had a part in an awesome moment with the Lord. Suddenly I realized I was not being humble at all, but actually devaluing God and his glorious creation (all people included) every day I stared in the mirror and spoke insecurities and dislike and discontent over my life. I was breeding the very thing I’d hoped not to. Pride and arrogance is not the issue, but allowing the fullness of who I am to come out and to let it be shown in all its glory, beauty, life, and share it with anyone or place I come across!! When you tear yourself or others down in the idea of humility, you are actually devaluing the very wonderful and magnificent creation God made. He created you with as much beauty, grace, richness, and splendor as the most beautiful sunset off the coast of Hawaii. That means that if He created you with the same passion and love, you are so valuable there is no price tag! Why would you ever speak less of yourself? Why you would ever condemn or look down upon the grandeur of you! You ARE important. You ARE loved. You ARE a force to be reckoned with! There is nothing wrong with displaying your gifts and who you are because God made it and he WANTS to see it!!!
Even in the face of Alyssa losing her son, or me losing my dreams, we are meant to use our moments well. So instead of waking up each day a grumpy pants, my goal and pursuit is to believe life and truth flow through me. My words, my mannerisms, my conversations, my texts, my moments of trial, my laughter -all of it is me choosing to be exactly who I have been created to be. 7am or 10 pm, I love knowing I can always choose to use my moment well.