I firmly believe that there are morning people and non-morning people. Or maybe they’re “morning not-people” because they just don’t feel human when they get out of bed. I think to some extent we are wired to be one or the other. Many people who are not naturally inclined to jump out of bed in the morning do well in front of children. A job drives them to clothes and shoes and often to a coffee shop. When they need to engage with the public, they are ready to fake a smile and put on their best face.
Maternity mornings are a whole different struggle. On mornings when mom is home and kids are home and no one else is watching, t-shirts and yoga pants, a messy bun and an unbridled grumpy mood are the default until the morning rolls into the sanity of the day. This grumpy morning rhythm continues because “if Mommy’s not happy, nobody’s happy.”
Both scenarios lack genuine joy—a missed opportunity to greet the day with joy and embark on a path of joyful sanity and holiness.
There is an antidote to morning misery. There is a way to choose joy. First choose gratitude. Better than that, decide to practice gratitude. Start your day with gratitude, even if it’s just a thank you for the chance to start over. Gratitude begins with an awareness of God’s unique fingerprint on your special life. It is a recognition of goodness that does not come from looking around and comparing it to the goods of others. CS Lewis once admonished that we tend to “reject the good that God offers us because in the moment we expected something else good.” We want to write our own scripts, so we fail to read the beautiful story that God writes for us in the morning of each new day. Read his script and thank him for it. Refuse to let your struggles and unfulfilled desires blind you to His kindness and generosity. Joy will not take root in the presence of stubborn ingratitude. First thing in the morning, notice the goodness of God and take a moment to articulate and give thanks, even if it’s just a short, whispered prayer.
To be present. Borrow no problems or worries or regret. Stay firmly rooted in the present. One way to literally do this, especially in summer, is to take a few minutes to step outside barefoot in the early light, even if it’s just in your backyard or on your porch. Use your body to connect with the here and now in a tangible way. We are not just souls or intellects; We are living, breathing, moving bodies meant to worship God with our whole being. So make sure you don’t miss out today. Be fully in this present moment. Don’t regret the past and don’t waste time thinking about an impossible turnaround. Don’t worry about the future and devote time and energy to things you can’t know. Embrace today with a determination to surrender it to God’s will and trust in His goodness. And watch out for the morning light.
choose joy It sounds too easy and very cliche, but happiness is a choice, so choose it. As we allow ourselves to keep up with God throughout our lives, we learn that even in sorrow there are blessings—perhaps especially in sorrow. Not only those who are naturally inclined to jump out of bed with a smile can see the blessing of a burden; it is the people who purposefully go in search of them. Look for the blessing. name it. In the valleys as we bear the burdens, faith is truly forged. When life is hard, we need to consciously fill our minds with the truth that God offers. That means you open your Bible. See his promises. Read how God has cared for the people of the valley throughout human history. Bury its consolation in the depths of your heart and let it live there. This is not denial. It is truth – plain truth, full truth, wholesome truth.
Filling our souls with God – with gratitude for His gifts, with appreciation of His presence in the world around us, with joy in His goodness and peace because He has a plan – is the path to a life worth living to get up . It’s a wholehearted, perfectly healthy life. It is a life united with the Creator that brings true joy.
Foss, whose website is takeupandread.org, writes from Connecticut.