Note: Did you leave a comment on yesterday’s post so that you are entered in the giveaway?  You’ve got one more day to celebrate YOU!

Winners will be announced Friday morning.  

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On the way home from Bible Study last night, my daughter asked me if there was something wrong with her because she sleeps so much.  I told her that it was completely  normal for teenagers to need more sleep than adults, and that was only one of three reasons a teenager would sleep a lot.  The other two were 1) They choose sleep as a form of recreation and 2) They have a tendency toward laziness.

My role as a parent is to scare the living daylights out of the lazy, to encourage other productive forms of recreation, and to make sure they have enough self-discipline to one day make it to their job on time or rise in the morning to fix their husband or children something to eat.

I have learned not to sweat the “teenagers love sleep” thing because I know it’s a phase.  It was a phase for me…

Growing up, we went on family road trips to visit my grandparents up east. We stayed at their house.  They only had one other room besides theirs with a bed in it and of course my parents got that.  We kids slept on the floor.  I have memories of people stepping on over me and saying, “Goodness! That girl isn’t awake yet?”  It wasn’t an anomaly for me to grace the kitchen asking for breakfast around 2 p.m.

It was a phase…

Nowadays I couldn’t sleep past 7 a.m. if I tried.  There are a few reason for this of course.  A little human being about the size of E.T. makes his way to my room sometime between 5 and 7 a.m. If I’m lucky enough to make it past 7 a.m. without a visit, he’s sure to be begging for breakfast at 7:01 a.m.

I’ve also had years of getting up during the night and in the early morning with nursing babies.  My body has evolved to be able to do amazing things on very little sleep.

I’m wired to live life as a fairly high-energy, OCD, ADD, wanna-be-creative-and-have-good-ideas kind of person. I can’t sleep too long because I’m afraid I’ll miss out on a concept worth remembering.

When I was in my mid-twenties I worked at a job were I had to arrive at 7:00 a.m. Making it on time to work was one of the battles of my life.   I lost.  I think in my subconscious I still feel that if I’m not up early my husband will hand me a pink slip.

Lastly, in my life-long battle with the “fat demon” I have developed the on-again, off-again habit of hitting the gym  around 5 to 5:30 a.m.  It’s the only time of day that I don’t have to fight my way out of the door to get some exercise.

All in all, I’ve learned to love or at least endure early mornings.

In this season of my life, I actually want to get up early…  Partly because I am working out again. Partly because I have a 6:30 school conference with my oldest daughter still at home. Partly because it’s nice to hear myself think. Partly because I can hear God’s voice more clearly then.

I’ve learned that if I don’t have time by myself,  I find myself growing irritable and a little short-tempered with the precious people in my home, overwhelmed when asked to do something with friends, and more and more guilty that I wasn’t available to serve others like I felt I ought to be.

And while I guess I could carve out time by myself in the evening after the kids go to bed, I think I always fall asleep before “me-time” actually arrives. Some might even call getting a few extra hours of sleep quality “me-time” as well, but I value the satisfaction that comes from making time for areas of my life that otherwise get overlooked.

Early mornings give me….

1) time with Jesus

2) time to raise my heart rate

3) time to read, and

4) time to enjoy my house while it’s still asleep.

While I realize that I do need to get a healthy and adequate amount of sleep in total, I am working on going to bed earlier and getting it on the front end.  Being able to get up on the back end in the a.m. works wonders. Having a few minutes to invest in me before I invest in everyone else helps me to be more patient, even-tempered, and simply more “ready-for-the-day”.

We all need time to recharge.  Some of us need more time than others.  We all need quiet.  We all need moments to remember who we are, connect with what’s important, and do the things we love. Even Jesus made early mornings a priority…

In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up… (Mark 1:35) 

Time alone in the early morning helps keep me sane.  It makes me a better person and keeps me in touch with who I am and what I’m supposed to be doing with the life that I have to live.

Sometimes we just need to hear ourselves think… and I’ve learned that early mornings give me the space and time to do that.

So let me encourage you to make for YOURSELF.  Early mornings work for me. Maybe you have another time of day that works for you.  The important thing is that, on a regular basis, we should make time to recharge, have time to feed our souls, and allow time to do things that we love.

What’s your best time for recharging?  What are your tactics for staying happy and sane? Do you struggle to give yourself the gift  of time alone?