It has taken me years go get to this place, but it’s official now: I am a morning person.

I recently realized I have never shared fully on this blog what my mornings look like each day. To that someone who is not a morning person reading these words, stick with me. I used to be a night-owl sleep-in-late kinda girl for the better part of my life! But before sharing with you my morning routine, I want to share what the Lord has shown me this week during those sweet morning times with Him:

Here is what I wrote down in my journal this morning:

Discoveries I have made (that the Lord revealed to me) during my quiet times this week:

– I have made stress a habit / mode of operation in my life.
– It’s time to change that and make serving & joy a habit / mode of operation in my life. (Altruistic egoism)

I know this might seem incredibly simple to you at first glance. But when the Lord speaks something so specific, it is profound to the one listening.

So why was that so profound to me this week? As a business owner, I deal with intense stress on a daily basis. While I do my best to accomplish my to do list for the day, (which, in all honesty, I rarely do), there is yet another ever-growing to do list with about 378 items on it that is still yet to be done at the end of each day. (You might think that’s an exaggeration, but I assure you it’s not.) It is extremely difficult (sometimes it feels impossible) to shut off my brain and focus on my life and the people in front of me and not be thinking about my business. It’s even more difficult because I love what I do! But: too much of anything good can be bad. (Can I get an amen from all my entrepreneurial friends!?)

So, if I’m honest, I live in this state of stress. Not 100% of the time, but a lot of the time. And it’s unhealthy. But I didn’t really SEE it in myself until this week, when the Lord gently told me in the quiet morning hours that I need to change the way I operate in life. He made it clear to me this week:

Stress is a choice.
Peace, joy, and serving others is a choice, too.
It’s time to choose the latter, and to make the cognizant choice to not live in stress.

This is not the first time I’ve heard this lesson from the Lord, and it won’t be the last. But it was poignant and true for me this week in particular. I am not going to arrive at a joyous, perfect place of stress-free living today, tomorrow, or next week. After years of hustle and lots of stress, it will take some time to hold the hand of Jesus and allow him to lead me in this. But now is the time to start. When I arrive in my thirties, I don’t want to be a stressful person. Heck, when I turn 28 later this year, I don’t want to be a stressful person!

“Being a Christian has to do with learning to do by reflex action that which you first learn to do by duty and discipline.”
– Fred Smith Sr.

For me, right now, I will have to choose peaceful living as a duty and discipline, in hopes that it will become my reflex / default / MO.
For me, years ago, I had to choose my morning routine as a duty and a discipline. Now, it is my reflex / default / MO.

When I decided to become a morning person, it was the result of several factors in my life: feeling frazzled and rushed at the start of every day, watching a few of my closest friends get up at 5:30am like it was nothing (while thinking “yeah, right!” in my head and yet wanting it at the same time), being sick and tired of being sick and tired, and attending Making Things Happen to give me the final kick in the pants.

So, after several weeks of dragging my exhausted self out of the bed early, learning that I also need to stick to an early bedtime to make it work, and finding a morning routing that worked for me, I began to settle into my new routine. It took several focused weeks of discipline to even think it was possible. It’s taken years for it to become my default. Now, it’s something I couldn’t imagine living without. Thank you, Lord, for always calling us to greater things!

My Morning Routine

6:00 Up! Out of bed. Fresh coffee begins brewing (set on timer the night before).

6:05 Light candle, turn on lamp, pour mug of coffee

6:10 Snuggle up on the couch with my favorite blanket. Quiet my heart, and ask the Lord to reveal His word to me today. Sit in silence for at least 3 minutes.

6:15 Read my Bible reading for that day. Currently going through a chronological plan to read through the Bible in a year with Will.

6:40 Write thoughts and prayers in my journal

6:50 Read my current book (see what I’ve been reading by following #nancyrayreads)

7:15 Write 3 things I’m thankful for in my gratitude journal. Sit in silence for a few more minutes to reset my mind.

7:30 Workout / Run

8:15 Get ready for the day

9:00 Begin work

•••

Not every morning looks exactly like this, but they are very similar. I will also be the first one to say that I realize this is a wonderfully long morning routine. I acknowledge that those of you with small children would probably laugh at this, knowing that for you, it is very unlikely impossible to commit to that. While that is true, I also say to you: do what you can. Even 30 minutes of quieting yourself before the Lord each morning will change your life for the better!

I believe that anyone can become a morning person if you want to. While some say they are wired to be a night owl and they could never be a morning person, I believe it’s a choice you make. It has changed my life for the better, and I want you to see that you can change too! What do you think?

A few other thoughts on my journey to becoming a morning person:

I wrote this post write after I became a morning person back in 2012
My Spiritual Organization posts: Part 1 and Part 2, dig deeper in my Bible reading and Journaling.
I am adding this book to my #nancyrayreads list. Thought I would share it with you here for some additional insight, even though I haven’t read it yet. (If you’ve read it, let me know what you think in the comments!)

So, it’s time to get real! I’d love to hear from you: are you naturally a morning person , does it take lots of effort (like it did for me)? Do you think being a morning person is for everyone, like I do?

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I have always been a morning person, but the last time I was able to have 5 seconds to myself in the morning was BK (before kids). 30 mins is still impossible, unless you want to set your alarm for 5am before the kids start waking around 5:45-6am (it seems they are morning people too) :-)
I pray you are wise when you have your little one and don’t push yourself too hard to even find 30 minutes at a set time of day, especially when you’re up all night feeding.

Although, on that note, I currently spend time reflecting, reading, being still, talking to God (and often falling asleep) during those night feeds. And once my toddler and newborn are in bed after their dinner& bath… That’s the time we find we can finally focus/relax.

But don’t try squish in too much in that time either, rather spend quality time with your husband and pray/read the bible together or just CHILL! :)

[…] (2013) Our 5th Anniversary BVI Trip (2013) 5 Years of Marriage (2013) 5 Years of Business (2013) My Morning Routine (2014) Series on Organization (Work, Time, Home Finances, Personal Life, Spiritual Life) (2014) End […]

I am absolutely a morning person. I wake up and hit the ground running. I love having my daily devotional in the morning because it makes me pause and focus for the day ahead. Love looking at your day in a glance! Thanks for sharing.

I love reading your blog – thanks for being so honest. It’s encouraging to hear other business owners say they struggle with the same things. Your morning routine is so encouraging too and I need to prioritize getting up early before my little ones are awake.

Thank you for sharing your heart! I’ve had the desire to be a morning person for years. Desire has all it has stayed. I find that I have to be extremely uncomfortable to make changes (something I do not like about myself). Well, I’ve hit that point of being absoloutely uncomforttable with my mornings. I find myself running around like a crazy person before bed and then it takes every bit of strength that I have to get up and go the next day. I haven’t made time for quiet or the word. BUT I’m ready. This post gave me the little push I needed. I even bought Callie’s gratitude journal :) Thank you again for your words and your ministry to women.

I started implementing early mornings after being inspired to do so from your Healthy Boundaries class and they have changed my life. Thank you for setting such a good example!

I’m naturally a morning person, but unfortunately I have to be up at 5:45am and out the door on my way to work 45 minutes later. I listen to K-Love during my half hour commute. Christian music helps me get in the right mindset and there’s a noticeable difference in my attitude. This coming from someone who NEVER thought she would like Christian music!

I love this post Nancy. (As I love all of your ‘life improvement’ posts and inspiration… yep, self confessed fangirl here).

I wholeheartedly agree with Emma D’s comment – “It is extremely difficult (sometimes it feels impossible) to shut off my brain and focus on my life and the people in front of me” – so very true for me too. I’m constantly bemoaning my ‘noisy’ brain (however, I am working on it). I also relate to the endlessly growing to do list. I have this (perfectionist) desire to have everything wrapped up in a neat little bow at the conclusion of each day. Unachievable, and thus ridiculously soul damaging and stress inducing.

I’m working on my morning routine – having filling tasks that, importantly for me, are not on any form of electronic devise. Book based, peaceful based… and I like your idea of silence. Why is it that we want to fill every spare second with some form of technology? My phone is too handy to reach.

Anyway, wishing you all the best with your morning-ness :) And thank you for the continuing inspiration x

Dear Nancy,

1) You are awesome.
2) Your words “It is extremely difficult (sometimes it feels impossible) to shut off my brain and focus on my life and the people in front of me” resonate with me entirely.
3) I agree with most of the thoughts you share on your blog and social media and I hope that one day we can be real-life friends because it would be nice to talk to you in persona about life.

Stumbled on your blog today, i’m so looking forward to hearing more from you. I will be coming back! I love all of your organization posts.

Love this peek into your morning routine :) I’ve always been more of a morning person, but over the past month or so (after reading your organization posts!) I’ve started to make my morning time more intentional. I read & loved “Ordering Your Private World” and have started journalling along with my bible reading. I’ve definitely started to notice changes (especially on days when I miss my morning time!) and I love starting my days intentionally with the Lord :)

Thanks so much for sharing this, Nancy.

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