I get asked this question a lot – “Do you really get up at 4am?” The answer is “Yes, I do!”
When people meet me today, they see the culmination of a lifetime journey. Many do not know that when I was engaged to Kristin twenty-six years ago, I worked at United Parcel Service. I did the PreLoad shift which loaded all the famous brown trucks that deliver to your door every day. The shift started at 4am, so I would get up at 3am to do my devotions, eat, etc. When I became a pastor in Orlando, I would try to sleep later but would often get up with our kids because they were early risers. As GFC grew in Tampa, it just became more convenient to get up early and in the last 10 years, 4 am became the time!
So, the next question is “Why?” The answer is very simple – “It creates margin in my life.” Let me walk you through my typical Monday – Thursday mornings. Get up at 4am. Make my breakfast, do my devotion, review my day/night at GFC, write my social media entry for the day, read my news articles, personal project time, prayer/worship/solitude, workout – shower, at GFC 8:30 (M/W) or at breakfast appointment at 7am (T/T). You see, it’s not exciting or something to shout about. It’s routine and boring. But, it works for me. Do you realize in those morning hours, I am ready for anything that I need to do that day? Also, I have prepared my heart spiritually to face the myriad of challenges or questions that I will need to address. I even get to keep myself physically fit and have lost 15 pounds since the beginning of this year. It became a perfect time slot for me to work on this very blog and I am loving it! Finally, my phone never rings and very rarely will someone be awake in the house. As Madea says, “It is ‘Me’ time.”
What is the price I pay to achieve this. I go to bed early – usually no later than 9:30pm. Honestly, if you need ministry after 9:30, you would want Kristin anyway. Ironically, people ask more about the TV shows I miss more than anything. I DVR a couple of them and don’t mind missing the rest. I enjoy reading and found it to be the perfect way to fall asleep. Of course, if you get up at 4am, falling asleep isn’t too hard to do in the first place.
Parting thought…If you could give yourself a three-hour head start every day, what you do with it? More importantly, what would you be able to accomplish with the rest of your day if you had “margin?”