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.