I am NOT a morning person! You?

There. I said it, confessed it, admitted it, and shouted it.

I used to feel extremely guilty that I was not a morning person. For many years I was convinced that good Christians “rise and shine and give God the glory, glory.”

I tried to be that person, but I never got there. I don’t wake up with a smile and say, “Good morning, God!” as I whistle and skip down the hallway heading toward my quiet time. I’m the guy who drags himself out of bed mumbling, as I smack the snooze button and throw the alarm at the cat.

It has been the constant stories from early risers that have triggered my feelings of inferiority. For years, I was envious of those who could live on little sleep and wake up early with one hand on a Greek New Testament and the other grasping a pen to journal and pray. I thought good Christians wake up early and survive on little sleep because they are so Spirit-filled. On the other end of the spectrum, are the backsliding, carnal Christians, who like me, need a full eight hours of sleep in order to function.

These days, I’m not sleeping in until 9:00 a.m., but I’m not popping up at 0-dark-thirty either. I’ll force myself to get up at 6:30 a.m. tomorrow to meet a buddy for exercise at 7:00 a.m., but I won’t really come alive and be really good with people until about 9:00 a.m. I’ve learned my rhythm. I start slow. I exercise. I read. I have to warm up my body and my soul. I have learned to stop envying those who are “early-to-bed/early-to-rise” or “late-to-bed/early-to-rise”, and have become comfortable with my own wiring.

I wish someone had told me earlier in life that it was okay to be myself, the person who God has made me. Sure, everyone has areas in life where shifts in behavior can be made, where course changes are within our power, and bring positive results. But when it comes to how God has wired you in basic ways — introvert/extravert, short/tall, small/large, bubbly/reserved, funny/serious, morning person/night person, little sleep/lots of sleep — it just doesn’t work to invest years of time and energy trying to become someone who God did not create you to be, nor intend for you to become.

I wish someone had given me the permission to be more like…well, me. Today, I’m happy to grant you this permission. Consider it done. Yet, in the end, my permission isn’t very significant. The most important permission must come from you.

Question: What about you? You a morning person? Or, a not-so-morning person? Weigh-in here.

[Are you getting Doug’s daily blog in your email inbox?] If not, it’s real easy–go here.

  • Jmiller818

    thanks for the simple article Doug!  I am not a morning person…the only reason I even get up before 9am these days is because I have a little girl about to turn 3 years old!  Thanks as always for your honesty…

  • Jill

    Totally a morning person, but useless after 7:00 pm. The exceptions are when I get to bed late (after 10:30) or if I’m immersed in something, then all bets are off.

    You’re right about accepting the grace to be who God has made each of us to be. I think that applies to just about every aspect of life. Thanks for the reminder.

  • http://twitter.com/JasonVUnderwood Jason Underwood

    You nailed it!  I, too, have carried that guilt, and despite knowing what you have said is true, it is still a struggle.  A friend of mine wrote a great book on this very subject, and it is one I find myself coming back to often.  It is called Refuel; you should check it out.

  • http://joshrobinson.cc Josh Robinson

    Yes, this is refreshing to read! I am not a morning person but I’ve learned to try and get up earlier as I get older to be on time, etc. But I am grateful God has wired us all differently and that is okay! 

  • Andy Forister

    This made my day!

  • Jonathan McKee

    Here’s the big difference between you writing this article and a college kid writing this article. You write: “I force myself to get up at 6:30 a.m.” That tells us the whole story right there. You could almost re-title your article, “I don’t enjoy getting up early, but I do, because life demands it and I’m an adult!” If a college kid wrote this… “I force myself to get up before lunch closes at the cafeteria because I know I’d have to wait for dinner to eat my first meal!”

  • Alisa

    Wonderful post.  In the area where I live, people regularly get up for work at 4 am and live on very little sleep.  I do feel pressure to be a “morning person,” even though I really am not one.  Also, I love that your post challenges the idea that our time with God always needs to be in the morning.  What about an afternoon chat with God or an evening reflection on the day?  I also like that you mention introvert/extravert, because that is an area where those of us who are introverted feel pressure to be more “extraverted,”  especially in ministry.

  • http://brandonweldy.wordpress.com Brandon Weldy

    For a few months I have been making myself get up at 6:30. I have found in order to do that though I have to go to bed earlier. I need between 7-8 hours of sleep. I can go on less a few days a week but for the most part I need more. It takes me a little while to really start going. I’m glad I am not the only one.

  • Cheryl

    You knoooooow….night people are still up and contributing in some way long after the ‘early birds ‘ are fast asleep. So, what’s there to feel guilty about anyway? If I lived in another time zone, it just might make me one of those disgusting ‘early, perky’ people.

  • http://tijuanabecky.wordpress.com/ Becky

    I can be a morning person or a night person but can’t be both. Typically more of a stay up late get up late but when I have to get up early and am excited I’m definitely a morning person like Sunday’s for instance. Just have to plan ahead so you know when to go to bed and if to set the alarm! 

  • Kylecorbin

    Great post, it has been something I have been thinking about a lot lately. Rhythm. When am I the most effective, that’s when I do my study. When do I have time to have undivided attention, that is time for God. When do I have my brick wall, this is go for coffee with people.

  • http://www.youthleadersacademy.com/ Rachel Blom

    I am a morning person actually, which isn’t always ideal in youth ministry either. I’m not good at staying up late, because my internal alarm clock will go off early and I’ll end up 3with a headache due to lack of sleep. So I too have learned to accept my rhythm and go to bed far earlier than is considered cool :)

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