I have been looking at some daily prompts shared by writer Jeff Goins in a Facebook group, My 500 Words. I started late, due to my post-holiday funk and fatigue. But I have been happy to write more regularly, even if I’m not publishing all of it online.
One of his prompts caused me to giggle and roll my eyes: “Get Up Early.”
I often look to Scripture for encouragement, but when I have a certain though in my head, a singular verse can sound quite funny. I did an online search for the word “morning” in the Psalms, and found this:
All day long I have been afflicted, and every morning brings new punishments.
Ha! Certainly the full context of that verse matters for a meaningful reflection, but I laughed when it popped onto my screen today! Anyone who knows me even a little bit knows I am not a morning person. When I was working full time, my paratransit bus would come to pick me up around 8:15 in the morning, and I often scooted down my driveway onto the wheelchair lift around 8:18 before they drove away. Hungry, because I never had time for breakfast, and possibly still with damp hair, I would apologize profusely to the driver. If I was ready on time, the driver and I would actually laugh and shout “It’s a Miracle!” or some other jubilant cheer.
My husband and I sing in a small choir at church for 8:30 Mass each Sunday. We don’t have a very formal warm-up, so guess what. There are mornings when we show up around 8:28. In fact, our previous pastor often ran late (he isn’t a morning person either) and I actually started counting on the extra 3-5 minutes! Imagine my disappointment when the new pastor started Mass on time!
The reality is that I am a night owl. I usually get a second wind around 9:30 or 10:00 at night, a burst that leads me to make a few birthday cards or write a blog post. Now that Bruce works second shift, this is even more true. I might put on some Pandora or a series from Netflix for a bit of background noise, then I try to pull out my creative juices. If my mojo is missing, I have been known to chat online with some of my stamping friends from around the country. I like to stay up at least until Bruce gets home around 11:30, and sometimes even then I am still working on something. Once I decide to call it a night, it is usually after midnight.
Added to my night owl tendencies are my health issues. Sleep apnea requires that I use a c-pap machine, which I pretty much despise. Arthritis and muscle weakness means I often wake up in pain at different times of the night. I rarely feel truly rested when my alarm goes off. If I have something scheduled, like my monthly Lay Dominican meeting, I can and do roll out of bed early. But most days, I hit the snooze alarm at least twice. I’m not necessarily cranky (though perhaps Bruce would disagree)…I’m just a very slow riser.
So getting up early to write or to stamp is not going to work for me. But clearly this advice isn’t a rule set in stone; it is just a suggestion. The main idea is that any of us who want to pursue creative work must find a time that works for us and our home life, then stick with it. We need to find time everyday to put our creative gifts to use. Of course, we all have different factors to consider. Health is a big one for me. For others, small children dictate how your day goes. Maybe your work shift changes from time to time, as it does with my husband. It’s great to have some flexibility, but if we are too flexible we are less likely to sit down and do the things we enjoy. And yes, it’s okay to spend time on you! Without a dedicated time slot, we may push these fun things aside. Then suddenly the day is gone.
Looking at how my day runs, I have some options. I am home most of the time now, and even more in the cold winter months. Hopefully during this month of refocusing my energies, I can decide how to make the best use of my time. Scripture is filled with verses about all of creation praising God, and at all times of the day. Morning, noon, night…every period of the day gives us opportunity to praise and to serve God. Time itself is a gift from God, and so I should be a better steward. This doesn’t mean I need to fill my entire day; rest is good too. But as I mentioned yesterday, there is so much more I can accomplish if I trust God and focus on His calling every day. 2 published posts in 2 days. It’s not much, but it’s a start.
Just don’t expect to see me before 9 a.m.!