I hate getting up early


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But I do it anyway.

After mentioning the fact that I get up before my kids in this post, a few people asked me about it, so I thought I’d talk about why I do it.

Around the time I had Reagan, I read the book Shopping for Time by Carolyn Mahaney and her daughters.  Now, I don’t always like these sorts of books, because I’m cynical and obnoxious, but this was a really good one. It’s got all the expected tips for being a more organized and effective wife and mom, BUT it begins with the gospel. It’s who we are in Christ that drives our obedience, and not the other way around.

Anyway, one of the big things they talk about in this book is rising early. As in, REALLY early. 5am early. With the express purpose of communion with God being the first thing that happens in your day. A side benefit of this rising early being that you are up and alert and ready to love and care for the rest of your family when THEY get up.

This all seemed like a brilliant idea. So I spent the next 5 years trying and failing miserably at it. I went in and out of seasons of thinking it was a good idea and trying to make it happen, and thinking it’s legalistic and excusing myself from it.

So why do I do it now? Well, I think there are 2 reasons.

1) I finally got to a point where I started to GET that it’s about being with God. I think that deep down there has always a been a desire to do it for ME. I wanted to feel like I’d checked my “quiet time” or whatever you want to call it, off the list. I wanted to the benefits of time with God, but not necessarily God Himself. Plus, I wanted to have some peace and quiet and drink my coffee and get the laundry started and dishwasher emptied without interruption. But only recently have I begun to simply long for the time to commune with my heavenly Father and acknowledge His presence and control before the day begins. What does the Psalmist say? “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.” And, simply put, I’ve begun to taste this longing.

2) The second reason is not quite as pretty as the first. I obeyed. I disciplined myself to do it. The idea of being up before my family, drinking my coffee and drinking from the well of God’s Word was a beautiful picture in my head. But, in the end, the alarm was still going to go off when it was still dark out and I was NOT GOING TO WANT TO GET OUT OF BED. I had to say, OK God, I need to meet with you. Help me. Here we go. 1-2-3 GO.

The discipline involved in developing this habit has been 2-fold. Getting up when the alarm goes off is a big part of it for me, but more importantly, I have to go to bed at a reasonable hour so I’m able to do it. Let’s face it, when you are at home with children all. day. long. and said chidlren have been touching/talking to you for 12 hours straight, the moment they are in bed feels like a glorious release. FREEDOM. And the later I stay up, the longer that freedom lasts. But it is for the true freedom to know God and serve Him rightly that I have been set free (Galatians 5:1). Not for a freedom to enjoy being my own master for a couple hours.

I know all of what I just said sounds super legalistic, so let me elaborate on it a bit.

While I do believe that there is much in the Word of God that points to the value communing with the Lord BEFORE the day begins (Proverbs 31:15, 20:13, Psalm 5:3, 88:13, 119:147, Mark 1:35), there are no express commands to do so. For me, this has been a matter of conviction that coincides with this value I see in Scripture. The reason I had to do it is because God wanted me to and He made it clear to me. I need it, and He knew I needed it, and I couldn’t get away from it.

However, this is a grace-filled activity.

When I do it, it’s by God’s grace. He graciously enables me to obey. Sometimes, He wakes me up with a cough from a child when I’ve forgotten to set my alarm (this has seriously happened). And sometimes He just gives me the strength to sit up instead of hit snooze. Either way, it’s all Him.

When I don’t do it, I am under grace. This is a great day for me to write this because I actually haven’t gotten up early in days. I have a bad cold and I’m having trouble sleeping. Grace. Sleep, Katie. I’m with you always. Not just when you meet me in the morning. Or when there is a crying newborn in the next room. For heaven’s sake, don’t even think about it then. That’s crazy. Or sometimes my husband and I need time together and we stay up late talking and hanging out. That’s better. That’s from the Lord. Grace.

So, if you feel yourself longing for that uninterrupted morning time with God, then by all means, pursue it. By His grace. And if you have children, like I do, who like to get up before the dawn, get this clock and force them to stay in bed. And if you’re in a season of life where it’s just not practical or possible, then don’t do it. By His grace.


  1. Donna Sowell

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