I’m uncertain why, but I’ve always enjoyed getting a head start on anything and everything. An upcoming project, a workout, a new book, whatever it may be, I like knowing I’ve started something a decent amount of time before it’s “due,” even if I’m the one setting the “due date.” If only I had the same motivation for finishing a task as I did beginning one, ha! It’s no secret that mornings are my favorite. I’m a lover of routine, a creature of habit, and mornings typically set the pace for the rest of my day. Waking up before sun rise, I experience stillness accompanied with the satisfaction of beginning the day before the day has truly begun. I listen to the coffee brew while sitting on my banquette. Have you ever had the opportunity to pause simply to listen to your coffee brewing? I’m genuinely in awe at how much joy those simple sounds bring.
I didn't become a morning person until late into my college years. My roommate would wake up at the crack of dawn to leisurely drink her coffee, listen to sermons, go for a quick jog, or just have a quiet time to pray. I began to adopt those habits, too. The quiet and calm before the busyness of the day is one of my favorite ways to prepare (mentally, emotionally, spiritually). I tend to feel better equipped to take on new challenges, even if it involves waking before sunrise.
Recently, I was reading a fellow Covenant alum’s blog, and he wrote a post on his intentions of making mornings matter. He discussed a friend whose intentional with her mornings, stating, “…she wakes up early to truly experience life before heading to work. She’ll listen to a podcast or read a book, just to remind herself that the sole reason for her existence isn’t to work. Sometimes, it’s a grace to simply put ourselves in the way of the good; that which brings us joy – those life giving practices that remind us that we have a God who delights in us and is the source of our delight as we start our day.” What a beautiful, gentle reminder. Yes, we were created in God’s image, and as His image bearers, we were created to work in whatever capacity that may be. But that is not our sole purpose, and it’s something I personally easily forget. I’ve mentioned the strained relationship between work and rest in Western culture, and the tension is ever-present.
These days, life is coming at us 100-miles-a-minute. Sometimes, you need to just slow down. This is particularly challenging for me. My coworkers made me do this today, even though I felt like I had no time, like I just couldn't, even if I wanted too. But I listened and took their suggestion. I took some time off to accomplish some pertinent tasks on the home front, and this evening, we slowed down. For a time, we stopped doing and focused on just being present. Resting isn't easy for me, it actually takes a good amount of effort, discipline and willpower. Ironic, I know. But the to-dos never stop and there will always be another excuse. I believe (Western) culture honors the workaholic which only adds to the confusion and discomfort of practicing resting. But I'm thankful for friends and my sweet husband who encourage me to do what I find difficult because it's healthy for me, for my soul. Perhaps one of you reading this needs the encouragement to find some time to truly rest. I know I did.
When I’m constantly going and overall feeling drained, I find myself lacking, struggling to be intentional, creative, and content. This happens often as I’m a “people pleasing” introvert; therefore, overcommitting myself and quickly burning out. I’m learning lessons the hard way, slowly but surely. I’ve noticed that when I take time to stop, disconnect from the busyness, and be still (which still takes discipline, mind you), especially before I begin my workday, I feel rejuvenated. And when I feel rested, I find that I feel more creative. And when I am creative, I experience delight as I realize I’m participating and reflecting the image of the greatest Creator of all time. I realize not everyone has the luxury in the mornings to be still, especially those with little ones. Maybe a moment in your car if you have the rare opportunity to run an errand by yourself, or in the evening after they’re asleep. Whatever that may look like for you, I would encourage you to stop and be still, even if only for a moment. Because the doing will always need to be done, but being, now that’s something we all have to practice or we may just miss it.
Moreover, through the stillness in the early morning, I’ve learned to delight in simplicity – smells, sights, sounds. There’s richness in the ordinary that I’ve missed before, simply because I didn’t take the time to notice. Yes, like the sounds and smells of a coffee maker. Recently, I’ve taken note of the space sunlight fills in our Craftsman home at sunrise. The front of our home faces the East, and as the sun rises, it pours into my living room, casting reflections from my hardwood floors onto my living room walls. Truth be told, I find sunlight captivating. Whether you sit in it or stare at it, sunlight is something that brings me immense joy, even a sense of comfort. In a world that often feels heavy and dark, I find there is something significant and beautiful about finding pockets of light – and rejoicing in that light.
Just some early morning thoughts for you, brought to you by me + my coffee maker.