Waking up… twice
Every once in a while, I end up starting a post with this statement: I have a confession. I mean, what’s more juicy than that? Who could possibly stop reading when a confession is coming?
Well, this blog is one of those times. I have a confession. Here it is: After my 5 a.m. workout, I usually go back to sleep for a little while. Ooooh, that was tough to type.
Why does this information require such a confession? Because I hate waking up. I mean, I absolutely despise it. So WHY ON EARTH would I want to do it twice? Every morning? It’s really quite stupid.
Also, in case anyone thinks I wear an “S” on my chest for rising before the sun and exercising at 5 a.m., do not be fooled. Superheroes would never go back to sleep after it’s over.
My morning nap has become a (bad) habit. I look forward to it so much. It even motivates me to keep moving. Just finish this set of push-ups, and then you’ll be done. Closer to nap time.
I have no idea if going back to sleep has any effect on my metabolism or calorie burning or any of those fancy terms fitnessy people use. I am good with words, but when words start to cross into science, I zone out a little.
I am currently reading “Never Be Late Again: Seven Cures for the Punctually Challenged” by Diana DeLonzor. I don’t know why I ever wanted to read this book in the first place. I am clearly a pristine example of punctuality. Right, husband?
Anyway, it is an incredibly interesting book. Like most good things in life,what I’m learning from it has carried over into other areas. The book is not just about being on time. Because being on time means developing discipline and self-control as well as setting and achieving goals. These are all things with which I can always use some help.
“When you wake up in the morning, you choose between lying in bed another ten minutes and getting to work on time,” DeLonzor writes. “As you prepare for a meeting, you choose between making one last change on the agenda and being on time. It’s when you choose the easy thing – the instant gratification – over the right thing that you demonstrate a lack of self-discipline.”
There they are. Two deadly words. Instant gratification.
I feel so conflicted. I do two super hard things – get up at 4:30 to exercise and complete the 5 a.m. workout. Am I then ruining it all by returning to my comfortable bed for 15 to 30 minutes? I don’t know. I’m starting to feel like I am. Like I’m cheating by taking that short nap.
The easy thing is to go back to bed. The hard thing would be to use that time for some reading or praying or packing a superhero healthy lunch.
By going back to bed, I am, therefore, forcing myself to do the very thing I hate most in the world: WAKE UP. It puts me right back here: “Repeat the mantra, ‘It won’t get any easier in five minutes,'” DeLonzor suggests. “When faced with something you really don’t want to do but know you should – like getting out of bed in the morning – repeat this to yourself. This mantra works well because it’s true; most difficult tasks don’t get any easier when you put them off.” (Emphasis mine.)
Much of this sounds familiar to a post I wrote three months ago about how enduring the hard things (and even conquering them!) leads to beauty and joy and exhilaration that was previously unknown. Previously not even in the realm of being given a thought.
“For most of us, accepting discomfort is difficult,” continues DeLonzor. “Yet that’s really what self-discipline and successful habit-breaking are all about – the ability to make sacrifices and to accept limitations. It’s the strength to choose what’s best in the long run instead of what feels good right now, even if it means having to give up something.”
I feel like I’m about to get really deep here. Really heavy, as Doc Brown said in “Back to the Future.” But Romans 7:15 just entered my mind. It reads, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” That is it, right there. Thank you, Jesus, via Paul, for summing it up.
In case you didn’t already know, I am not a Biblical scholar. I just love Jesus, and I love how he reached people. Because you know how he did it most of the time? He told stories. Remember that fancy word parable? Jesus was a storyteller. A storyteller. (I suspect his mother was, too.)
But back to this incredibly difficult chapter in Romans. (Well, what chapter of Romans is not incredibly difficult?) Paul was actually writing about the law and sin. Like Paul was, I am human. It is my natural tendency to “not do the good I want to do” (Romans 7:19).
Because I am a storyteller and Jesus was a storyteller, I look at scripture as a collection of stories. And just as Jesus intended when he used parables, I learn lessons when I read the Bible. There have been times when I’ve learned several different lessons from the same passage of scripture.
So, yes, I realize Paul was referring to the law and sin, good and evil. And yes, I am talking about getting out of bed (twice). But in my crazy mind that never stops and is always narrating, it makes sense.
Is it evil to sleep in? No, of course not. But could it produce good fruit to do the hard things, to actually DO what I want to do (be awake), instead of what I hate (go back to sleep and have to wake up AGAIN)? Yes, I think it could.
There’s only one way to find out.