Recently, I saw a woman behind the counter of a business who had obviously rushed out the door that morning. Her hair and clothes were rumpled and she hardly looked awake. Her customers were greeted with even less enthusiasm than she had for her appearance. It wasn’t that she was sick or up late with an ailing child. One inquiring customer was told that she simply hated mornings. She was my first impression of the business. Suffice it to say, I don’t think she gave the impression her employer had in mind.
Are you an early bird or a night owl? Some of us prefer rising early (and by that I mean usually before sunrise) while others enjoy the late night hours and sleeping in. At times, I honestly wish I could sleep in late but for me it seems I’m in the bucket with the early risers. Though there is nothing wrong with being a night owl, as I watch the lives of those who miss the mornings, I do see more advantages for the early bird.
Here are just a few advantages…
Greeting the day with optimism. Early risers seem to have a “seize the day” attitude. They welcome the day with an attitude that says, “Good! God it’s morning!” as opposed to, “Good God, its morning.”
Solitude. No one demanding your time, no rushing, no distractions. This is time to yourself to do what you want to do. We live in a fracturing world and none of us get by unscathed. I like to use this time before my Lord where yesterday’s fractures (those I’ve given and received) find perspective, resolution and healing. Rather than have the day forced upon me, I prefer easing into it with as much wholeness as God allows.
Peace. No alarms blaring, no kids yelling, no bills, no schedule, no TV booming – just quiet peace all to yourself. I enjoy doing what I want to do before the noisy world starts clamoring for my attention.
Kick start the day. It’s amazing what you can get done before businesses open and the kids have to get to the bus stop. For me, mornings are the most productive time of day. I don’t like feeling out of synch with the rest of the world; a world that like it or not starts early. Why stumble into the day feeling behind and rushed?
Exercise. What happens when you don’t exercise? You feel less energy, your mind isn’t as sharp, and you feel more irritable. An overall sense of well-being wanes because you’re not getting the feel good chemicals (endorphins) that flow when you exercise. Eventually your health takes a hit. You can’t decide what to wear and you don’t feel good about yourself because nothing fits the way it’s supposed to. You have difficulty handling the pressures of life. It all adds up to STRESS! And because none of us lives on an island, your stress impacts those closest to you too. Isn’t it time to simply start exercising? For me, as the day wears on, the probability of exercise getting shelved greatly increases. I find however, if I step onto the treadmill early rather than waiting until the end of the day, it rarely gets pushed aside.
Take care of others by taking care of you. This is not about selfishness, it’s about taking responsibility. You’ve been given people in your life to care for, to set a good example for and to influence. Impacting lives is a responsibility that takes time and energy. How will you wield your responsibility? By getting through my priorities early (especially the kind of priorities that seem to get pushed off the schedule), I have time at the end of the day to relax with my family.
A Relationship Note: If you want to see a hotbed for conflict and struggles… watch what happens when an early bird marries a night owl. I’m not siting an official study here, only my personal observation from years of ministering in marriage and relationships. In my experience it’s a VERY rare instance when these two opposites can make it work well in a marriage – at least not without the couple meeting somewhere in the middle. Compromise is the key to marital bliss for these two extremes.
Obviously, all of the early bird advantages I’ve noted here can be put at the end of the day rather than the beginning… but somehow for me the good stuff (peace, solitude, exercise, a good kick-start on the day, etc.) often gets pushed out by the day’s distractions when I don’t put them first.
What do you think?