“Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense” (Proverbs 12:11).

Every morning, at five o’clock, my alarm clock jangles me from slumber’s comforting embrace. I throw back the covers and climb out of bed. I slough off cozy pajamas in favor of clingy and cold workout clothes. I eat Fruit Loops in peace, without the watchful, judging eyes of my children questioning my life choices. I read some, write a little, and plan my day. I run and still have time to shower and dress before greeting my crew with sunshine and a smile.

Just kidding. I don’t do that. Ever.

I turn off my alarm and nestle deeper into soft security of my bed. It doesn’t even matter if I find sleep again. I just lie there breathing.  It is too hard to get out of bed when I am all snuggly warm and toasty under the covers. I know the cold hard world is waiting to ambush me as soon as my toes touch the floor. Never mind how much better of a day I would have if I started it off right. The ease of the moment trumps the eventuality.

In truth, I want the first paragraph. I want the quietly productive morning and the alone time. It is my warm up before the day begins in full. Without it, I start my day depleted, which makes me cranky. My bad attitude flavors everything dreadfully. I sacrifice time in the Word, because it’s just going to say something about discipline or self-control. I don’t need the bitter taste of conviction adding more foulness to my sullied day. I get angry that I don’t have time to work out and compensate by eating a Snickers bar. Then, I relent to the hypnotic powers of Netflix and my couch while my lack of self-control morphs into self-loathing.

Ironic isn’t it? Pursuing ease leads to difficulty.

I know that, yet I do it anyway.

I lack sense.

Please understand I am not saying sleeping in is bad. Neither are Snickers bars, Netflix, or naps on couches. There is a time for rest, feasting, and entertainment. But, that time is after hard work and fasting. Indulging in rest without toiling in labor just means I am lazy and lacking discipline.

“A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls” (Proverbs 25:28).

That is how I feel. Unfortified. Relenting to my sinful will cracks my defenses. The enemy exploits that breach until my barricade crumbles. Then, I am caving to every fleeting appetite.

Knowingly, I choose to forsake holy pursuits for worldly gratification. Sleeping in is just one of the ways this sin manifests in my life.

I crave mornings that are uplifting to the entire family. I crave days that are productive and bring glory to my Lord and Savior. I crave a lifestyle that evidences my servitude to Christ. Yet, when I live in constant submission to every indulgence, I forsake righteousness.

“The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied” (Proverbs 13:4).

How do I become diligent? How do I break the cycle? How do I stop choosing ease over earnestness and expecting accolade for indolence?

First things first, pray. Sin requires repentance, which comes through the Father. We can’t do it on our own. Prayer need not be an elaborate ritual. It is a conversation with God. Father, I need your help right now. Fortify me against the temptation to stay in bed and help me embrace this wonderful day that you have made.

Second, memorize a scripture. Because my struggle is with self-control, my go-to is 1 Peter 1:13a, “Think clearly and exercise self-control.” Simple and succinct, it is a perfect mantra to pull out of my pocket in moments of weakness. It tells me what to do next.

Which is: think clearly. Focus on cost and reward. Staying in bed will provide the instant gratification of comfort and more rest, but it comes at a price. Am I willing to derail my entire day for a few more minutes of fleeting sleep? Am I sacrificing self-control for self-indulgence?

Next, plan rewards. It is easier to exercise discipline if there is a tangible payoff. I love coffee. I buy good coffee, my favorite creamer, and fantastic mugs. The combination creates this rewarding ritual that motivates me to get vertical.

Also, I take a 30-minute nap every day. I indulge as soon as I finish checking everything off my to-do list. My alarm ensures I don’t overindulge but sleep just enough to wake refreshed and ready to finish the day.

Lastly, give grace. There will be days we are exhausted. There will be nights we don’t sleep. There will be meals we skip. Sleeping in will have to be okay. Taking midmorning naps will have to be okay. Grabbing a Snickers will have to be okay. We need to give ourselves grace in those moments, but we don’t need to stay in those moments. Dust off, get up, and keep moving forward in the grace and strength God provides.

I don’t care if the early bird catches the worm. I don’t eat worms. I eat Snickers. But I do care about living a life that validates my faith. For me, that means I wake up early so I can get my heart right with Jesus before the day begins. Not because it’s required of all the saints, but because it works best for me.

Also, I hate being called senseless.

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