The habit I couldn’t establish with willpower alone

Two years ago I signed up for my first Hello Mornings challenge. I started off slowly, waking up only 5 minutes earlier than my boys. Then a few weeks later I moved my wake-up time a little earlier…15 minutes before the boys woke up.  I only lost a few minutes of sleep, but I gained a whole new direction to my day.

Then on Valentines Day 2011, I “celebrated” by going to bed at 7:30 p.m. with a fever, chills and aches. For the next week I was bed-ridden with the flu…awful. (my heart goes out to all the mommas who have been hit by the flu virus this year).

Only a month into the Hello Mornings challenge, the flu bug knocked me off my new routine and I stopped checking in on Twitter.

You know who noticed? My accountability captain, Kat Lee, that’s who. 

katandme

photo credit goes to Kat…since I couldn’t find a pic of us on my computer

Kat, a.k.a. my mom coach**, sent me a sweet direct message checking to see if I was okay and if there was anything she could pray for me. Seriously.

Having the author of “Maximize your Mornings” and creator of www.inspiredtoaction.com contact you personally to see if you needed anything because she noticed you hadn’t been up lately…yeah that will get your bottom back in gear.  

If you’ve ever considered waking up a little before your kids, but haven’t signed up for the challenge because you figured you’d be disciplined enough on your own. Let me tell you, if I had done it on my own I would not have established the habit I have now.

Accountability. Positive peer pressure. Community.

Whatever you want to call it, we need people. We need godly people in our lives to spur us on in this walk. God never intended us to pursue Him alone. He created the world with His Son and the Spirit. From before time began, there was community in the Trinity.

(In case this story scares you from joining HelloMornings…don’t be scared. The challenge is set-up to be self-directed with as much support as you desire. If you stop checking in after two weeks and decide you can’t finish the challenge, no one will force you to continue. But if you desire women to come alongside you and encourage you to keep trying even when you didn’t wake early one morning…than this group is for you.)

God is working all around me. He is not waiting on me to get His work done. I have to decide if I am going to join Him in His work. In order to hear His personal calling on my life, I must meet with Him.

I’d love if you joined me this Winter/Spring in meeting with God. Registration started yesterday and the challenge starts January 28th. May we experience the joy of His presence together! (one of the primary goals I have for us here at God Centered Mom this year!).

**A coach is defined as “a private tutor; one who instructs or trains; instructs players in the fundamentals and directs team strategy.” That’s Kat. You feel like it’s a private tutoring session when you read her posts. She gives you a new strategy to approach motherhood. She encourages moms to stretch themselves to pursue greatness. Because our kids already think we are great, we just need to believe it!  

Kat inspired me to wake up for my children. She encouraged me to spend one-on-one time with my boys. She gave me the idea to have my boys do push-ups when they need some discipline. She introduced to my new favorite meal planning program. Let’s just say she’s pretty much the best mom coach ever!! 

Who do you have in your life to keep you accountable? Have you ever shared a new goal with a friend so she would “hold you” to it? 

Im-Maximizing-My-Mornings-300

Pst, one more thing…wrote more about my Hello Mornings story over at the MOB Society this week. Talking about how to stay one step ahead of our boys (also applicable to girls). 😉

onestepahead

 

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the one thing I can’t live without. seriously.

I’ve told you how awesome it is. I’ve told you how out-of-sync I feel when I DON’T do it.

Today I’m sharing how I truly cannot live (the way I want to live) without morning time with God. Since January of 2011 (for 1 1/2 years), I’ve risen early, headed to my leather chair and spent time in worship and His Word. Not because I’m “holier” than you are. Or God loves me more. Or I’m more disciplined. Nope. I do it because I desperately need to.

HelloMornings

It’s a Christian cliché–‘morning devotions’. If you grew up in the church you may roll your eyes or even feel a tinge of guilt when those words (‘morning  devotions’) are uttered. I imagine you saying, “I know, I know. I’m supposed to wake up and pray and read my Bible. But I love sleep. I have 72 young children. I am exhausted all. the. time. I just can’t wake up early. Stop making me feel bad about it. Alright?”

My response is, “That may work for you. But I’ve found I HAVE to get up early. If I don’t my whole life suffers. It is NOT worth those extra 40 minutes of sleep.”

The past couple weeks I have stayed up uber-late watching Olympics, taking care of ministry needs and following Jon Acuff and Jen Hatmaker on Twitter (really important things). When I stay up late the last thing I want to do is get up early (oh and sometimes I have a baby who wants to eat in the middle of the night). 

I didn’t think it would be a big deal. Just a few days of sleeping in. But then it became a habit…the wrong kind of habit.

I left myself open for lies because I wasn’t daily filling with Truth. My cup emptied quickly because I hadn’t filled up with the Living Water. Every where I turned someone else needed a piece of me, but there weren’t even scraps to offer. I cracked. In the drive-thru line of Bubbas after church, I lost it. Like for reals.

When my boys kept asking, “Why are you crying mommy?” I finally responded, “I’m sad.” Then their question, “Why are you sad?” made me stop my mommy tantrum and think.

Why am I sad. What is sooooo important to make me this sad? I realized it wasn’t really an event or problem that “made” me sad. It wasn’t earth shattering life events. It was just normal life. The true problem was how I was reacting to it. I wasn’t handling life well because I was trying to handle it by myself.

I hadn’t been resting in His all-sufficient, mighty hands. I hadn’t been sitting in His presence. I hadn’t seen myself through His eyes, but found my value in how others see me. I had made the temporary important and neglected the eternal.

Realizing how desperately dependent I am on my time with God I’ve made a commitment to my husband, and asked friends for prayer, to rise early. And in that time I will spend more face-to-face time with the One True God, not distracted by social media.

Fortunately my official accountability starts up again August 20th with the fall HelloMornings challenge. Like I’ve told you 20 billion times before Kat Lee changed my life for the better with her Maximize Your Mornings eBook (go read it).

“In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait expectantly.” Psalm 5:3

If you have less than 72 children, you feel out-of-control, you need some structure, you feel pulled in 42,000 different directions, then join me in “waking up for your children, not to your children” (Kat Lee) and spending time in His Word. I’ll be checking in using the #hellomornings hashtag on Twitter. If you click on this link–> Fall HelloMornings Challenge, you can sign up for a group in your time zone either on Twitter or Facebook.

What’s keeping you from waking up early to “Meet with Him”? Share in the comments section if you’ve joined over 2,600 women in this Hellomornings Challenge.

*There was a LOT of hyperbole in this post, but that last number (2,600) wasn’t made up. Isn’t God awesome? Will you say a prayer right now for those leading this challenge and the Accountability Captains guiding women? One thing Satan doesn’t want is for 2,600 women to be reading God’s Word every morning and using His Strength to love & guide their families. Thanks.

Maximize your Mornings

I can’t tell you enough times what a HUGE difference Kat Lee from Inspired to Action (www.inspiredtoaction.com) has made in my life, in my mothering, in our family, in my friendships, in my marriage…

What has Kat done that is so spectacular?

She introduced me to a new habit and a new concept: Waking up for my children instead of to my children. Designating a time in the morning for just me and God…BEFORE my boys wake up!

Crazy. I know.

Most of you have probably stopped reading at this point. You love sleep. You are exhausted from your day. You can’t imagine losing anymore sleep than you already do. I get it. Remember? I have three boys and I’m pregnant with another child.

Here’s what made things click for me…

My boys sleep about 11 hours at night. I need at least 8 hours of sleep to be a happy mommy. That leaves 3 hours for “me” time. Prior to meeting Kat I would spend that entire 3 hours in the evening…doing the dishes, folding laundry, surfing the web, watching T.V., etc.

After reading her eBook, “Maximize your Mornings”  and doing her Spring and Summer MYM Challenges, I spend 2 hours at night doing those things and 1 hour in the morning: with God in prayer, reading His Word, planning my day & hopefully soon doing some exercise. So I begin the day feeling filled up, instead of waiting until the evening for some “me time”.

I would NOT suggest waking up an hour early right off the bat…BAD IDEA. Kat suggests, and I agree, to start small. Just 5 minutes earlier!! Spend a minute in prayer, read a short piece of Scripture to dwell on throughout the day, look at your calendar for that day, and do a minute of sit-ups or lunges or push-ups. Then the next week push yourself to getting up 15 minutes earlier (she talks you through this process in her free eBook).

Are you convinced yet? Do you need accountability? Then sign up for the next MYM Challenge or “Hello Mornings” Challenge!! 1,200 women have already signed up…amazing!

You can sign up for a group on Twitter (that’s where I’ll be @hmacmomma), Facebook or through email. Join me in maximizing our mornings! See link below for details on signing up (before FRIDAY!!!):

http://inspiredtoaction.com/2011/08/sign-up-now-for-the-fall-session-of-the-maximize-your-mornings-challenge/