I don’t like to get up early! I really don’t. I LOVE sleep, love it!
But, when I wake up early and it is quiet in the house; I have more options of what to accomplish to start my day.
I can do any number of relatively quiet activities: clean a space of the house, start laundry, wash dishes, sweep and mop the floors, sit and enjoy a cup of coffee, watch a TV program, exercise (for the record I have NEVER chosen this), make my bed, take a shower, or do Bible study. And almost immediately upon waking up, breaking the fog of sleep come these choices. I immediately set about making decisions about how I will spend my time. And I have found that the best way to start MY day, the choice I MUST make is to do Bible study.
When I start my day in the Word of God, I am grounded for all the things that challenge me today. When I seek the face of my LORD early in the morning, I am reminded of His mercies (new every morning). When I begin my day studying the precepts I am to walk in by the power of the Holy Spirit, I find the Holy Spirit meets me and guides me through the rest of my day.
This does not mean that there are not many temptations to do the other things. To be Martha when I should be Mary. To get just that one thing done before I get to the Word. To read those emails, or pay those couple of bills online. But, it means I have to consciously “[choose] the good part, which shall not be taken away from [me]” (Luke 10:42).
As I choose the good part, the fellowship with my Lord, I do realize there are some things that can be done “first.” With modern technology (praise the Lord!) I can accomplish much while I am sitting at Jesus’ feet.
Here are the things my Martha gets done so she can sit with Mary.
Brew a pot of coffee
not so holy in essence, but oh so helpful for this Martha to turn into a Mary. I try to prep my coffee maker at night so all I have to do in the morning is push a button to get it going.
Start a load of laundry in the washing machine
I usually have my clothes sorted before they make it to the laundry room, so starting a load simply takes putting in the clothes and the detergent and pushing a button. When I am ready for a refill on my coffee, I can go downstairs and transfer the wet clothes to the dryer and start another load.
Put away the dishes
I do this almost every morning while the coffee is brewing. I run my dishwasher overnight and all I have to do is put the dishes away.
Do a small cleaning project
one that requires very little effort or needs some time to set. I can scrub my downstairs bathroom toilet and wipe down the surfaces in the time it takes for my coffee to brew. I can quickly re-organize a drawer in my kitchen in the same amount of time. I like to keep my hands busy while the coffee is going, so I don’t lay down on the couch and go back to sleep!
Go through magazines and mail
sorting and tossing into the recycle bin what we no longer need is another quick project I like to get done while the coffee is brewing.
Each morning I can think of a number of other things I could do to start my day. My list just gets so long so fast! But all those things are really not important in view of spending time with my Lord. So the verse that I keep ever before me to remind me of my need to “[choose] the good part” is Psalm 119: 37:
Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity,
And revive me in Thy ways.
This verse helps me to suppress my Martha so I can sit with Mary. It is the prayer to start my mornings. I can get a couple of things done while I am sitting at His feet, but I need to be drawn to Him so that I can be revived, refreshed, renewed. The tasks that my Martha accomplishes before she sits at Jesus’ feet are not mentally taxing, do not spiral into a major project (most mornings), and can be accomplished very quickly. I consciously choose these tasks and not others because I know the other tasks will draw me in, take more time than I have to give, and keep me from being focused when I get to Bible study.
In fact, I try not to think about the list of things I need to do today or make a list of any sort until I have spent time in the Word. I have found that making my list for the day is better left until after Bible study (or even the night before) to avoid the temptation to start immediately and skip the “better part.”
I don’t write this post as a means of guilt, to get you to think you must choose Bible study to start your day. I am simply pointing out why I am getting up early, what motivates me. Your motivation may be completely different, you may want to get up and exercise (God bless you!), or read a book, or tackle that nagging project (or a series of nagging projects) in the peace and quiet getting up early affords. But, if you are getting up early, I hope you are doing something with your time! Otherwise, wouldn’t you just rather sleep? I know I would!
Are you taking up the challenge of getting up early in the morning? What are you doing with that extra quiet time?