Archive for June, 2011


Rise and SHINE (Part 3)

According to an article titled, Develop a New Habit, written by Steven Aitchison, it takes 21 days to develop a habit. When Aitchison talks about developing a new habit, he says, “don’t tell yourself you are doing it for life, tell yourself (your conscious brain) that you are going to try it for 21 days.” In a way, Aitchison illustrates a story such as talking to your conscious mind. In terms of sleep, if you tell yourself, I am going to wake up early for the rest of my life, your conscious mind might be like, “Woah, I’ve been waking up half past noon for the past 10 years and there isn’t any online blog that will change that!” Instead, if you tell your mind that you want to give waking up early a try for 21 days, your mind will be more willing to cooperate.

The key is, during those 21 days, neural pathways will begin to form with your new routine of waking up early. By the 21st day, your routine of waking up early will be like second nature to you.One technique that you can use to help keep yourself on track is to type up a small calendar. On that calendar, mark your start date and end date. From the first day until the last, write down the time you wake up every day. If you find yourself slowly starting to wake up later and later, you have the power to put yourself back on track. Yes, I said you have the power!

You see, forming habits is not just for waking up early, it is the key to mastering self-discipline. “Discipline is all about cultivating powerful habits that become part of your lifestyle. At one point those habits can become your identity.” – Robin Crow. The habits that you develop within your life-time are the habits that will define you as a person. Let the habits you develop make a positive difference in your life and the lives of others. If this is your first time attempting to start a new habit, congratulations! You have taken a step away from the sidelines and into the game of life. View this as a growing and learning opportunity for yourself. Once you master waking up early, continue to practice your new skill and seek out habits that will shape your identity.

My goal and hope for the Rise and Shine series is to inspire readers to wake up and view everyday day as an opportunity and blessing from God. Do not let your sleeping habits define your lifestyle. Instead, wake up with a so good I can hardly stand it attitude and jump out of bed, ready to change our world!

Consider this…

I am your constant companion.

I am your greatest asset or heaviest burden.

I will push you up to success or down to disappointment.

I am at your command.

Half the things you do might just as well be turned over to me.

For I can do them quickly, correctly and profitably.

I am easily managed; just be firm with me.

Those who are great, I have made great.

Those who are failures, I have made failures.

I am not a machine, though I work with the precision of a

machine and the intelligence of a person.

You can run me for profit, or you can run me for ruin.

Show me how you want it done. Educate me. Train me.

Lead me. Reward me.

And I will then do it automatically.

I am your servant.

Who am I?

I am a habit.

-from Rock Solid Leadership, by Robin Crow

<< Rise and SHINE (Part 1)

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The Death of Creation

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1 ESV)

Let There Be Light by Christolakis (Source: flickr)

Genesis 1 begins with that famous line which clearly positions God as the creator, maker of all things.  The story unfolds as everything that is seen is created and put in order.  Near the end of His working, God creates something very good, a man, in His own image.  I often wonder what characteristics of God show up in human beings because of our possession of His divine image.  None of us express His entire image, and each of us are weak in some aspects and strong in others.  But I think that there are some pieces that we all possess.  One of these is the capacity to create, even if at a level far below what God does in Genesis 1!

It is clear from the rest of the story that God intended man to be able to create.  He asks Adam to create names for all of animals and charges him to “increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it” i.e. create more humans.  This story makes me reflect on modern day creation and how we spend our time.

Let us suppose for a moment that people have two modes, creation and consumption.  There are times when consumption is a physical necessity for life (eating or breathing). In our society it is rare when we do not have the necessities for life, especially when there is a super Wal-Mart down the street, though not for Dean.  We have minimized the time it takes to feed and protect ourselves which leaves ample room for either creation or other types of consumption.

We are a consumption saturated society.  The advent of mass media and advertising has led to people being drowned in a consumer mentality (fight-able yes, but an unlikely victory).  The saying goes, “you are what you think” and in the US, many people think about the next product they want to own or the TV show that is on tonight because an advertisement is in front of them all the time.  In my own experience, it is so easy to be convinced that I “need” that new product.  Everyone has their hot buttons.  Think about how you spend your time from a consumer, creator standpoint. Do you add value with your time; is it a good return on investment, or do you only consume?  As a creator you could create knowledge, build relationships, design art (digital or traditional), or play music.  How do you feel after bringing something to completion?  Most people experience joy when exercising their powers to create.  I know that Bethany was pleased with herself after repainting her bookshelf with cool stone flecky paint!

I agree that there are nights when I only feel like consuming a bit of mindless TV, but I find that even after couch potatoing I do not feel refreshed.  This situation has an opportunity for hidden creation.  I like to think about relaxing as the creation of peace.  Relaxation is specific, instead of mindless; it does not happen naturally (except during sleep).  How to relax is different for everyone, but my relaxation spot is a dimly lit room in a chair with a glass of Arizona sweet tea, a book, and DJ Tiësto’s “Hide & Seek (In Search of Sunrise Remix)” playing in the background (you’ll find me there after I get this post written)!  I am adding value with the book but when in relaxation mode I choose something lighter than Shakespeare!  Another great example of hidden creation is what I talked about in one of my first posts: Called for a Purpose – Building a Community where my roommate, Dean and I used video games to create a community.

Where do you want to focus your God given powers of creation this week?  We all have our projects.  I encourage you to spend time there, in things that add value to yourself and to others.  Those are the activities that are truly important and are so often buried under those which are only urgent.  The best way to think about it is what you will remember and what you will be remembered for.  Let me end the post with one more theme and reverse the definition of success.

“Success is to laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people & the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics & endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded”  ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson (thanks for the find Tuesday!)

Expression – The Reversal

In an essay in her book, Sister Outsider, poet and activist Audre Lorde pondered the question of expression and entitlement shortly after she learned she had breast cancer:

I have come to believe. . . . that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood. . . .

In becoming forcibly and essentially aware of my mortality, and of what I wished and wanted for my life, however short it might be, priorities and omissions became strongly etched in a merciless light, and what I most regretted were my silences. . . . I was going to die, if not sooner then later, whether or not I had ever spoken myself.  My silences had not protected me.  Your silence will not protect you. . . .

We can learn to work and speak when we are afraid in the same way we have learned to work and speak when we are tired.  For we have been socialized to respect fear more than our own needs for language and definition, and while we wait in silence for that final luxury of fearlessness, the weight of that silence will choke us.

Taken from the book Difficult Conversations by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen.

What Is Love?

“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35, ESV)

The word “love” is mentioned 235 times in the ESV New Testament (according to a quick biblegateway.com keyword search).  Clearly, love is something that God is quite concerned with.  In fact, when asked which was the greatest commandment in the Mosaic law, Jesus responded,  “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39, ESV)  So, love is the thing we are to be concerned with.  Despite this, I think our society has tragically distorted and misunderstood the concept of love.  We tend to confuse it with other, similar terms that have very different meanings.  So then, what is love, and what is it not?

First of all, love is NOT…

  • Tolerance.  Much is made in current popular culture of tolerating those who are different from us, those we might disagree with.  So what does tolerance actually mean?  The Oxford English Dictionary says that “tolerate” means “allow the existence, occurrence, or practice of (something that one does not necessarily like or agree with) without interference,” or “accept or endure (someone or something unpleasant or disliked) with forbearance” (www.oxforddictionaries.com).  It often carries the connotation of allowing something because you have no choice, such as “I don’t like olives, but I will tolerate them.”  But in Matthew 22:39, quoted above, Jesus does not call us to endure our neighbors, or to allow the existence of our neighbors without interference, but to love our neighbors as ourselves.  Quite a difference – one is almost begrudging of the existence of the thing to be tolerated, while one unconditionally cherishes it.
  • Condoning.  There is a common belief that to love someone means to support all of their actions and attitudes.   That idea falls apart pretty quickly, though; say a parent has a teenager who is dabbling in illegal drugs.  Is the parent loving if they support the kid’s habit or give him/her money to support it?  Absolutely not.  The loving parent will do anything they can to get the kid out of the situation and cleaned up.  Simply put, not everything we do is good for us; those who truly love us will correct us when we go astray and help lead us out of the darkness of sin.

Love IS…

  • Action.  Contrary to what chick flicks would have us believe, true love is not a warm, gooey feeling of affection toward someone.  True love is action – doing things for those you love.  We can say we love the poor, but unless we do something about it, what good is it to them?  Or to use a more personal example, I can feel what I think is love for Tyler, my boyfriend; but if I never actually do anything to show him that I love him, well, the relationship probably wouldn’t last very long.
  • Accountability.  If I love someone, I am sharing a piece of myself with them, and I am answerable if I let them down.  I can profess to love the homeless of Champaign-Urbana and volunteer at a soup kitchen every weekend in order to show my love for them.  But if I then start a campaign in the city to shut down these types of charities, you can bet the hypothetical soup kitchen patrons would hold me accountable for my actions.  As well they should – my campaign to shut down the soup kitchen is hurting the very people I claim to love and rendering my claim invalid.
Both of the “greatest commandments” involve love – for God and for our neighbor.  There are lots of misconceptions about love in American culture today; what it is, how to show it, its results.  Love is certainly not easy for us, but real love that does not trivialize or hinder is a rare and priceless gift to a hurting world.
For a different perspective on love, check out Adam’s series on love starting here.

Love = Miracle Gro, Pt. 2

In my previous post, I started to look at Paul’s Apostolic Prayer found in Ephesians 3:16-19. Here’s the passage:

Ephesians 3:16-19:

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his spirit in your inner being so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

I love the way in which the New International Version words this passage. Some words that stand out to me are: strengthen, rooted, established, love, wide, long, high, deep.

I think that Paul had an image in his mind of some spiritual reality when he prayed this prayer. There are two very clear possibilities that I see (though I’m sure there are more) for the image that is being presented by the phrase “rooted and established”: a tree and the foundation of a house. Whether we are speaking of  a house or  a tree, the “soil” around us is love.

I think that Paul had a tree in mind, and here are some reasons why I think so:

1. The ultimate purpose of being “rooted and established” is found in the final words of the verse: “…that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (emphasis mine). The language is one of drawing “power,” “Strength,” and, “the fullness of God” from God.

2. In the prayer, Paul is asking that the church in Ephesus be given stability by God. We know this because he asks that they may be strengthened. Houses don’t gain their stability as much from the soil as they do from their own foundations. Trees, however, gain almost all of their stability from the quality and depth of the soil. Without good soil, your roots will be ineffective.

In either case, Paul prays that we might be established in love.

My next question is: “Whose love is the soil?” At first glance, there is some ambiguity as to whether or not the love Paul speaks of is ours or Christ’s. Looking at verse 18 tells me that this love is Christ’s. There is deep, deep earth beneath our feet here. We aren’t being planted or built upon some sort of sandbox which is only a couple of feet deep. We’re being planted in the love of an infinite God. This love is wider, longer, higher, and deeper than we can even understand with God himself helping us to fathom it.

So, looking at the passage again, we see that the ideal “growth environment” for our faith is to know the love of Christ that is deep within our “inner being.” Our Spiritual “Miracle Gro” is Christ’s love.

Past all of the images and ideas, what does all of this look like? Well, look for my next post and you’ll find  out!

This post is part of a series. To view the previous post, click here. To view the next post, click here.

Rise and SHINE (Part 2)

There is nothing better than waking up to that delicious, fresh smell of breakfast… warm chocolate chip pancakes, steaming scrambled eggs with a side of smoked bacon, and an ice-cold glass of orange juice waiting for you on the kitchen table (are you hungry now, because I am!). How do you imagine yourself crawling out of bed on these good smellin’ breakfast days? Are you quick to jump out and sprint to the kitchen table before anyone steals your chocolate chip pancake? OR, do you slam your alarm clock off, slowly slide out of bed, and sluggishly make your way to the table?  I am going to assume most of us would be dashing to the table. Take a moment and imagine yourself waking up on a normal day where there is no delicious breakfast waiting for you, only the screeching sound of your alarm clock telling you to WAKE UP.  How do you wake up on these days?

Normally in the morning, I am usually fighting with my alarm clock about what time I need to wake up (usually the alarm clock wins…mwhaha). On these days, I am not quick to jump out of bed. I am not quick to wake up and make the most of my day. On these days, I lack the enthusiasm that I would normally wake up to on a so called, good smellin’ breakfast day. There is no excuse for not waking up in the morning with an “I am so good I can hardly stand it” mind set. To exemplify this thought, I need to share a short story. While working one day, I was taking a patient back to his assisted living complex. This man was handicap and had to move around by a mechanical chair, but that did not hinder his attitude or enthusiasm. Every time I saw him, he always shared his positive, cheerful energy with those around him. Here is one quote that he shared with me and I will never forget it, “Every day that we can wake up and see the sunlight is a blessing from God.” Every morning that we are able to wake up, open our eyes, and see the shining morning sun, we need to thank God for that day. Every morning when we wake up to our alarm clock, we should not be counting the time, but counting our blessings.

How do you wake up in the morning? When writing this post, I wanted to think of a creative idea that people could relate to. The first thought that came to my mind is the many ways we can have our eggs cooked to order…

1. Sunny Side Up: These people never fight with their alarm clock. They are quick to jump out of bed and start the day with a, “SO good I can HARDLY stand it” attitude.
2. Over Easy: These people normally get along well with their alarm clock. They rarely press the snooze button and can hop out of bed with a smile on their face.
3. Scrambled:  These individuals are best friends with their snooze button. When the morning arrives, they stay in bed until the last minute, often skipping breakfast and running behind schedule.
4. Hard Boiled: These individuals often wake up on the “wrong side of the dirt.” When their alarm clock goes off, exit the premise because it will either be thrown across the room or out the window.

With this post, I hope I provided you with insight into how you can change the way you wake up. Your first encounter of the day has a larger impact on your attitude than your next 5 encounters. Who is your first encounter with? Yourself! Rise UP and envision everyday as an opportunity and blessing from God. Next week in my last post with the Rise and SHINE series, I will provide you with the tools you need to successfully make waking up early a newly acquired habit in your life!

This post is part of a series on waking up early, click below for more of this series!

<< Rise and SHINE (Part 1)  |  Rise and SHINE (Part 3) >>

We Need Each Other

Over spring break I attended a week long Intervarsity program called CityLights in St. Louis.  CityLights is an Urban ministry which serves the poor and neglected people of St. Louis.  Every day, we were asked to read a chapter from a book called Theirs is the Kingdom by  Robert D. Lupton.  Although it is written about the urban poor, I think that this passage contains many lessons about leadership.

“I came to the city to serve those in need.  I have resources and abilities to clothe the ill-clad, feed the hungry, shelter the homeless.  These are good works that our Lord requires of us.  And there is blessedness in this kind of giving.  But there is also power that allows me to retain control.  My position as a helper protects me from the humiliation of appearing to need help.  Even more sobering, I condemn those I help to the permanent role of recipient.

When my goal is to change people, I subtly communicate:  Something is wrong with you; I am okay.  You are ignorant; I am enlightened.  You are wrong; I am right.  If our relationship is defined as healer to patient, I must remain strong and you must remain sick for our interaction to continue.  People don’t go to doctors when they are well.

‘It takes everyone of us to make His body Complete, for we each have a different work to do.  So we belong to each other, and each needs all the others’ (Romans 12:4-5).

I need the poor?  For what?  The question exposes my blindness.  I see them as weak ones to be rescued, not as bearers of the treasures of the kingdom.  The dominance of my giving overshadows and stifles the rich endowments the Creator has invested in those I consider destitute.  I overlook what our Lord saw clearly when he proclaimed the poor to be especially blessed, because theirs is the kingdom of God.  I selectively ignore the truth that monied, empowered, and learned ones enter his kingdom with enormous difficulty.”

I love this passage because it is so rich with information.  Here are some of the things that I get from it:

Leaders need to be able to change their role in their relationships.  As time passes and as a relationship develops, people will relate differently.  If a relationship is started as teacher to student, one day the student will graduate.  Keeping the same attitude towards that student could hamper further growth, and the relationship my die.  Do not be afraid to upgrade someone’s status!  If someone no longer needs help, become their friend instead of their provider.

This is a difficult one – leaders should strive to work themselves out of their job.  It’s about legacy; leaders should be dispensable and give way to the next generation.  If a leader sets up systems that only they can run, the system falls apart once they leave.  The mission of the organization should not be about the leader, but about the mission.  Leaders need to think about who will come after them and train the next generation.

All people are valuable, everyone is a bearer of God’s image.  Everyone brings something worthwhile to the table even if it is hard to see.  Do we treat people as bearers of God’s image, even the annoying, or disadvantaged ones?  To the Christian it means welcoming the alien, poor, and vulnerable among and around us.

Another profound lesson is that we all need other people to be the person God has called us to be.  Our conversations and interactions will change if we need those who we interact with.  We normally treat people of power with a sense of need because they have positional or material power.  What if we treated everyone, even those who do not have obvious gifts for us, as if we needed them?  As leaders, we need others’ perspectives, challenges, and correction because our vision is so limited.  We need others’ support because the challenges of this world are far too heavy.  God brings people into your life for a reason.  He wants to give something to you through them.  I encourage you to try this out in your interactions with people.  Approach it from a stance of needing their input, perspective, and abilities.  Leave a comment for what you find out!

Update: found this quote the day after publishing – “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” ~ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Giving Significance

As a grad student, I often feel like my work really has no significance.  I feel like anyone could do it, so I am not anything special.  This is an unfortunate side effect of being at the top of my class in high school and college, only to become solidly mediocre in grad school.  It’s not true, of course, but it’s too easy to listen to the little voice telling me that I am not good enough, not smart enough, not good enough at programming, etc.

Luckily for me, I have a fantastic advisor.  I think there are two types of professors that everyone likes: the easy ones, and the ones that challenge you and make you want to give up until you finish the task and realize how much you learned from it.  My advisor is, without a doubt, the latter type.  You take his classes and you stay up until 3 am doing the homework, you don’t sleep for 3 consecutive nights because you have a huge project due, you do 7-page derivations that make you want to gouge out your eyes with a rusty knife.  But after all of that, you realize you have learned more in his class than in just about any other class you have taken.  People sometimes feel sorry for me because I am his student, but I would not have it any other way.  As I’ve worked for him, I’ve wanted to quit grad school so many times – but I also want to live up to his expectations, so I keep going.  All this to say…

I was sitting in my advisor’s office on Friday afternoon and we were discussing the results of some analysis I had just completed.  As he was explaining something to me, his office phone rang.  Now, I’ve spent a lot of time in professors’ offices – when the phone rings, they stop what they are doing and take the call.  This time, though, something strange happened: he ignored the phone.  We continued to talk about my results, all while his phone was still ringing.  My mind was completely blown.  I know this seems like a really tiny thing, but it sent me a loud message:  “Your work is significant.  I care about your work.  I care so much that I’m going to ignore whomever is calling me right now, even if it’s a hotshot from NASA.”  Wow.  There are other signs of this – printouts of my results scattered all over his desk, relevant papers showing up every other day – but I think that, in this instant-gratification society in which we can’t seem to keep ourselves from being connected to as many people as possible, ignoring a phone call from who-knows-who to discuss research with a lowly grad student speaks volumes about how my advisor feels about the significance of my work.

For someone who struggles with feeling insignificant and at times incompetent, this was like ice cold water on a hot summer day.  This ten-second incident got me thinking about how we, as leaders, treat our followers.  If you’re reading this blog, odds are good you want to reach out and help people in some way.  As you do that, ponder this thought: If you want people to believe that they are significant, it is your job to show them their significance.  There are more effective, and simple, ways to do this than a simple banner in the hallway or giving everyone an award.  The key is one word: Focus.  Focus on those you are teaching, mentoring, and/or leading.  Focus on what they are doing, how they are doing it, and how they are feeling about doing it.  If you can give them your complete, undivided attention, they will take note.  And imagine what could happen if everyone in the world truly believed that their existence, their life, their work, had significance.

Love = Miracle Gro, Pt. 1

Ephesians 3:16-19:

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his spirit in your inner being so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

Recently I decided to take a look at the Apostolic Prayers of the New Testament. I chose to study eight of these passages. There are more prayers offered up by Paul and more prayers offered up by the other Apostles which are recorded in the New Testament, but I found these eight to be the most direct and easy to approach.

With that said, here are my thoughts upon the first one: Ephesians 3:16-19.

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” (v 16-17a).”

From this I draw several conclusions.

First of all, our God is so kingly and so mighty that he uses riches, not resources. In human terms, God doesn’t deal in dimes and nickels. He’s the kind of guy who has a wallet stuffed with $100 bills. Not only this, but he can afford to just pay for things out of excess! If he went to a restaurant, he could just slap down four or five of his bills and effortlessly pick up the tab for the entire restaurant. And at the end, he would say “it’s ok, keep the $67.85 in change. I’m no where near running out of cash.” Only God can be loose with his spiritual money and not be guilty of wastefulness due to the treasure trove of riches he has at hand. And it is a looseness with his spiritual riches that Paul prays for here. That the Lord would literally dump “power through his Spirit in your inner being.”

Secondly, I want to ask the question, “what does it look like to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in our inner being?” The answer, I believe comes after Paul finishes his prayer, in verse 20: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory…” (Emphasis mine). I pray that we might develop the habit of looking introspectively on a regular basis to see where the Lord is at work within us. It is a Christian precept that the Holy Spirit abides within Christians. Paul is asking for a veritable explosion of powerful work by the Holy Spirit in the lives of the Ephesian Christians. In such a way that they would not be able to deny that something craaaaaazy was going on inside of themselves and that it was not their imagination; that they could see where they were and where the are now thanks to what God has done.

Finally, I want to look at the intent of this prayer (a brief glance will show that Ephesians 3:16-19 is comprised of three complementary prayers). Why? “So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” The working model would look something like this: God sends his Spirit (the Holy Spirit, which IS power) into a believer’s life. The Spirit brings a both a significant internal transformation and a marked increase in spiritual power to a believer. The believer, seeing more and more what the Spirit is doing, will naturally have more and more faith (we are human and our faith is wobbly and weak at times). This whole process will strengthen the believer as a whole, which brings us back to the beginning of verse 16, “…he may strengthen you with power…” The end result being a believer (and a group of believers [“so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith…”; “hearts” being plural]) who is experiencing an influx of supernatural power thanks to the work of the Holy Spirit and who responds to this influx with ever-strengthening trust not only in the existence of God, but in the reliability of God to help him when in times of trouble or adversity.

Whew! In the next post we’ll be looking at why I titled this series of posts “Love = Miracle Gro. Thanks for reading and I pray that the Lord would make this prayer of the Apostle Paul true in the life of anyone who reads this post!

This post is part of a series. To view the next post, click here.

Rise and SHINE (Part 1)

“Wake up early to a SUPER Fantastic day” –Steve Knobeloch

3…2…1…BEEP BEEP BEEP

There it is, the delightful sound of your alarm clock waking you up bright and early.  Most people dread this time of the day, a time when they have to slowly crawl out of their warm, comfortable bed to turn off that ear wrenching alarm clock that won’t shut up! The saying goes, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man/woman healthy, wealthy, and wise.” For Steve Knobeloch, he is no stranger to the sunrise and jump starts his day, every day at 4:00AM.

I have always struggled with waking early in the morning. I am usually the one to slam down the snooze button, pound my alarm clock until it turns off, or I simply turn it off and return to my Zzz’s. Lately, I have been pondering the benefits to waking up early and kick starting my day. For advice on this blog, I called a man who is best friends with the morning birds, Steve Knobeloch. Every day, he wakes up at 4:00AM. By 4:15, he starts his walk around the neighborhood and returns home to finish his workout. After his morning exercises, he then has time to read scripture, the paper, e-mails, and even enough time to start breakfast for his family. Steve said, “By waking up early, I feel more alert than after sleeping in and getting up a couple of hours later.”

After talking with Steve, I decided to look for online resources about the many benefits to waking up early and these were my top finds:

  1. Healthier Diet
    1. The saying goes; your biggest meal of the day should be breakfast, followed by lunch, then dinner. As for most Americans, we rush to get out the door in the morning, eat lunch if time allows, and then come home to eat dinner like a king. By having time to eat a large breakfast in the morning, you are able to boost your metabolism and not feel so hungry throughout the day.
  2. Exercise
    1. By working out in the morning, you will have less missed workouts due to unexpected plans occurring in the afternoon. Morning exercise will increase your energy, metabolism, and help relieve stress during the day.
  3. Higher Productivity
    1. With less people awake in the morning, you will have limited distractions and be more efficient when starting your goals for the day.
  4. Quality Sleep
    1. By waking up at a specific time each day, your body’s biological clock and sleep patterns will begin to adjust. No more waking up to that ear wrenching alarm clock!
  5. Enjoy the sunrise
    1. One of the most beautiful things Mother Nature offers us every day is the sunrise. The birds cheerfully chirping in the background, the gentle calmness in the morning air, and then the stunning colors that the sunrise brings to the sky.

Are you ready to jump start your mornings? Check out my post next week to discover how you can change your attitude toward waking up early and make it one of your newly acquired habits!

“The sun has not caught me in bed in fifty years.”  -Thomas Jefferson

This post is part of a series on waking up early, click below for more of this series!

Rise and SHINE (Part 2) >>