By Jane Highley
If you ever find me with my earbuds on, I’m either running or cleaning. (Usually the former, about 95% of the time.) And from my earbuds, I’m listening to one of two things: either the Original Broadway Cast Recording of Hamilton or a podcast. I am obsessed with both, but I love podcasts just a bit more for the way they feed my soul. Don’t get me wrong, though. The 90’s-style rap battles in Hamilton have a unique way of nurturing my soul, too, but not in a sustainable way that a podcast can.
A favorite podcast called “Inspired to Action” by Kat Lee has an episode called “How to wake up for your life and not to your life” (episode #77). I love the title of this episode. Kat Lee knows mornings like a boss. And she will cheer for moms who want to make the best and most of their days by taking sufficient time for themselves before they care for others. Like Kat, I have always been a morning lark, though to my detriment, also a part-time night owl. (But we don’t need to get into that.) I adore my mornings because they are truly mine. No one else in my family gets up as eagerly as I do at 4:45 AM, and even on the weekends, I’m usually up by 5:30. In the summer months, this is a vital necessity if I want any chance of running double-digit miles before the heat and humidity begin to pummel me down.
But even on a dark and dreary winter morning, I will still get up well before dawn, brew my coffee, and anticipate the day in peace. In that stillness, I think of how I want to show up for my life, not vice versa. Kat’s mantra of “God, Plan, Move” has been her morning mojo, and encourages like-minded women to spend time with God in scripture and in prayer, to plan for their days with realistic expectations, and to move with healthy intentions. This is how she wakes up, not just for the day, but for the life she has been given as a mom, a blogger, and an entrepreneur. She quotes Psalm 143:8 as her aspiration and hope: “Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.”
As a history teacher, this three-word mantra looks like this on most school days when I get to my desk: Read a page from Paul Tripp’s New Morning Mercies, read the suggested scripture, scribble something in my journal, write a detailed to-do list for the day, and then do some burpees. (Sometimes, I’ll have already done my cardio for the day because I’m up so early). Kat’s proactive example has been a tremendous encouragement to indulge my nature as a morning lark. Like her, I realize that God has made me this way, and I want to embrace it in ways that glorify his precise design of his people. King David knew of this attribute very well: “My frame was not hidden from you; when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth” (Psalm 139:15). I am fed and fueled by a loving Father who, knowing how much I would thrive in the mornings, gives me unexpected “gifts” like a podcast. Through it, He reminds me that His grace has no limit, his goodness has no boundary for his children.