Updated: Oct 4, 2020
"Every time you press snooze you're telling Jesus that your mattress satisfies and sustains you more than Him." I remember hearing that quote from my college pastor and it was like a dagger in my heart. OUCH. But oh so true, it is. Somehow we've created the narrative that everything but Jesus is what we need to "get going" and "keep going".
We have ALL been here.
You set your alarm the night before, with full intention to get up for Bible time. But then the alarm goes off and your bed is so warm and nice so instead of getting up you keep:
Scrolling...and being an overall
Within a blink, 45 min have come and gone and your "dialogue with Jesus time" now sounds a bit more like a pleading prayer of, "Dear God let me make it on time and not get fired."
If you've lived this out to any extent, this blog post is for you. To encourage you, motivate you and give you some practicals to make your morning time matter.
I can only speak for myself, but I'll be honest to say:
I am a morning person. (As in the annoying one who naturally wakes up FULL of energy and pep.)
I ADORE Jesus. (I truly enjoy spending time with Him.)
I love reading and journaling. (My personality was MADE for "Devo Times".)
And yet, I don't always want to spend time with Jesus first thing when I open my eyes. But with the Holy Spirit's help, and a good strong string of habits, I've created safeguards in my life to make sure that I stay consistent. Because I know one or two days "off" turn into one or two years "off" incredibly quick. And without a steady connection with Jesus, I'm going to get distracted, offended, selfish, moody and confused real fast. More than ever, our first source has to be from Heaven.
I also know that the more you spend time with Jesus, the more you'll DESIRE it. After years of starting my day with Jesus, it's now some of my most treasured moments. This is your portion too!
If you don't read any further, at least get this: There's no "Holy Teacher" in Heaven grading your time with the Lord, making sure you read 2 chapters, say 3 prayers, and spend exactly 22 min of "devotion". Formats are good, they help us grow, but the goal is to CONNECT your heart with Jesus' heart.
The main thing is, YOU NEED JESUS EVERYDAY. Especially in the morning. This is not a shame game. I'm calling on us to get out the box, get creative, and get connected to the heart of God.
I'm going to break this down below, but basically I want you to grow in discipline and do whatever it takes to get the Word in you First thing.
1. Ask Holy Spirit for help each night
As you're laying down, or plugging in your phone to charge, take a pause and genuinely ask Holy Spirit for help. It can look as simple as this: (Example not script): "Jesus, I really desire to get to know you. I truly want to love and know The Word. I want to prioritize your presence. I'm going to do my best, but I ask for help. Holy Spirit, help me get restorative deep sleep tonight. Wake me with energy and excitement for The Word at the right time tomorrow. Amen." Also applicable - "Holy Spirit. Help me wake up tomorrow." :)
2. "Encouraging" Alarm Labels
I use to do this in college when I was waking up at 4 and 5am to spend time with the Lord. Once I got my body, the coffee, and music going I was ALL IN and getting all the revelation, but it sure took some effort to get out of bed. I would set multiple alarms and label things that would convict me out of bed :)
You can customize with your own "umph" or "revelation".
3. Combine your habits until you have one of your own.
Start a new habit slow by habit pairing. So let's say, you snooze through all of your alarms (again). During the first few weeks, add in "Connecting with Jesus" to things you already do. Once you have His presence in your morning, when it's not there, things will feel "off". This will really kick-start that motivation for Him. Ex:
Pray or do declarations while you're taking a shower. (Dry erase markers work great for mirrors or shower glass doors).
Play a praise playlist while your putting on your makeup.
Write a verse on a post-it-note the night before, stick it somewhere in your bathroom and say it as your doing your hair.
Sing a hymn while doing the morning dishes.
Say a prayer while you’re packing lunches for the kids.
Listen to a podcast on your drive to work/school.
The 3 minutes it takes to brew the coffee, prayer walk around the kitchen island instead of scrolling on your phone.
4.Establish your 5 : "When" + "Where" + "What" + "Why" + "Curve-Ball" Plan
This is everything. The game changer. You see, you need a foolproof plan that takes all the brain work out for your heart work. (Because when you’re still asleep you have zero motivation to get out of bed AND make a plan.)
I encourage you to do this as an action activity with your family, signifiant other, lifegroup, mentor, sibling, roommate, etc. This isn’t your master plan for the rest of your life. Do this every month for 4 months. Tweak as you need to go. Before you know it you'll find your gusto, but don't start by saying I'm going to wake up at 5am every morning the rest of my life. You'll learn what works and doesn't work; adjust from there. This is not a "be at church every 9am on Sunday" kind of thing. This is for you and Jesus, it has to work and you have the freedom to be flexible.
Talk it out. Be honest. Start small. Stay consistent. You’ll need to update this plan every new life season too (go to college, start a new job, get married, have kids, etc)
***Here's my current, "newborn-living, toddler-loving, husband-adoring gotta-make-it-work" plan. You'll notice, I'm not "alone" - Eleanor joins me. You'll also notice it's only about 30 min (on a good day), in other seasons I would aim for a full hour. I had to learn, my time with Jesus when I was a single girl looks WAY different than my quiet time as a mom of two. That's OKAY. The goal is to connect my heart with Jesus, not complete a checklist of some sorts.
So here's the questionnaire for you to fill out with my answers as examples.
1. When are you going to spend time with Jesus?
Between Eleanor's morning nursing session and first nap. Approximately 6:45-7:15am
2. Where are you going to spend time with Jesus?
Living room while Eleanor is doing "blanket time". On the floor, not the couch, so I can be close to her and not get too comfy and cozy.
3. What will you be doing?
-Song (just me, acapella)
-Reading Believer's World Outreach Church's Journey Guide (Bible Reading Plan).
-Brief Prayers for the day (Ryan, Oliver, Eleanor by name)
4. Why are you going to spend time with Jesus?
I want to know His heart.
I need to know His Word.
I know that friendship is built with time together.
I don't want to live an empty life. Time with Him fills up my "teapot" so I can pour His love to others throughout the day.
I want to model lifestyle discipleship to my children.
5. Curve-Ball Plan : I suggest parents especially establish a "curve ball" plan?
(My context : When Oliver wakes up early, or Eleanor won't stop crying)
Set a 10 min timer - Baby carrier for Eleanor, Oliver joins me in a prayer walk around the downstairs.
*When curve-balls happen, my mood is tested. This isn't the time to expect me to do deep reading or intercession. I throw it all out the window, focus on the flexible goal to CONNECT with Jesus and make the goal a prayer parade :)
5. Give yourself grace, but also get some grit.
Not every morning looks the same. It's okay if things don't go as planned. It's okay if you "do a Bible time" and don't understand scripture and don't hear His voice. Give yourself grace. There is a learning curve to anything new (even if it's something old for you that you haven't done in a while). But at the same time..... if you want to do it.....you just got to do it.
Stop the excuses.
Stop the snoozing.
Stop staying up until 4am and then complaining about not being able to wake up at 7am for 15 min of Bible time.
I know that's really blunt, but goodness let me be a Mama for a second.
It's suppose to be a SACRIFICE. It's not suppose to be easy. We are suppose to DAILY take up our cross and follow Him. You might as well crucify your flesh first thing in the morning. To be the woman you want to be, to become the man you dream of being... you've got to just go for it. Whatever it takes.
Accountability wake-up-call with a friend.
Airplane mode to stop the social media scrolling.
Waking up as a couple with your spouse.
Splurging for fancy coffee or tea that you love to motivate you to get you up.
Reading and praying standing up.
You don't have to white knuckle things... Holy Spirit WILL help you. But you've got to at least get out of the bed and show up.
I'm so for you! I'm so passionate about this because I know it will CHANGE your life. You have no idea how much I'm cheering you on in this venture, Abby ***Don't forget... The Cirkles are cheering you on!