Before I even open my eyes, I know if it’s going to be a slow morning. It’s not because of the weight keeping my eyes shut, but the pain in my body. Stiff joints and cramped muscles greet me and I moan. I stay under the covers just a little bit longer because I know jumping up will be a big mistake. I pray to God for his strength to move me.
These are the days I appreciate the Hello Mornings girls the most. Even if I can’t get out of bed right away, I can pick up my phone and send out the tweet, “Fibromyalgia has it’s grip wrapped tight today, girls. #hellomornings” Then I know that I am not the only one praying. Within minutes, my phone begins beeping with replies. Each beep is a warm hug from a friend.
After a longer time in prayer, I am ready to move. I might not have as long a quiet time left for me, but I have had the extra time in prayer as well as the support to motivate me for the rest of the day.
Kat has asked us to write a few tips for those participating in the next Hello Mornings challenge. Since this has been such an encouragement to me, I thought I’d focus my advice on a morning with pain.
(These tips apply to any early morning routine.)
1. Be Prepared: Set the essentials for a successful morning close to your bed, just in case you cannot get up right away. My phone, a Bible and a book of scriptures to pray are on and in my nightstand. These are not my usual quiet time tools. Those stay where I have my quiet time so that I don’t have to carry them down the stairs in the morning.
2. Get a Head Start: Go to bed early enough to get the amount of sleep your body needs to repair. Faithfully take the vitamins and/or medications necessary to keep you moving. It is so tempting to let these things slide, especially the early bedtime. Ask yourself what is more important when the choice to stay up late presents itself. For example, sometimes quality time with your husband late at night is needed and worth a later morning. In that case, adjust your morning routine and remain faithful to the essentials, like prayer time.
3. Go slow and gracefully: If you have chronic pain and are not used to getting up early in the morning, take baby steps. Do not expect to get up two hours earlier the first week. Even if you do, your body will make you pay. Begin by setting your alarm ten or fifteen minutes earlier until you adjust. Then set it another ten or fifteen minutes earlier. Don’t give up if it does not work as quickly as you like. Take a look at your day and see if something needs to change. Ask someone who understands your condition for advice.
4. Focus on one thing at a time: When I began participating in Hello Mornings, I thought I’d get up and start doing everything within the first week. Surprisingly, I did not include exercise in my morning routine until four months after I started. It took me that long to adjust to an earlier wake-up! (This from a girl who was already waking up before her children to have quiet time.) Some of us just move slower and that is O.K.! God makes all kinds and loves all kinds.
5. Finally, Be Honest: No one wants to complain, but we all need prayers. It is possible to ask for help without complaining. The women in Hello Mornings are there to support one another. If you simply fail to show up without telling the others why, you won’t be the only one missing out. We want to pray for you and encourage you!
The challenge will likely not be easy. Umm… that is why they call it a challenge! The good news is, you are not alone. It won’t be long before you are meeting your goals and offering encouragement to others. You can do it!