“I’m learning to leave sort of a sacred margin at the beginning and end of the day, to go to bed earlier and wake up earlier, letting the transitions between sleeping and waking and the reverse be a little gentler.” These words from Shauna Niequist’s Present over Perfect have literally changed my life –my actual, practical day-to-day life. For someone who loves organization, schedules, and methods, I found that the beginnings and ends of my days were seriously lacking in any kind of rhythm. It isn’t surprising that I started my days frazzled and overwhelmed and ended them exhausted but unable to sleep. These morning + evening routines have been added slowly and imperfectly, but are changing the way I face my days, the way I rest, the way I interact with God and the people around me.
Morning: Waking up is hard for me and frantic mornings have sort of been my always, so I’m still working on perfecting this rhythm. But, I’ve found that when I start my morning with a slower pace, a longer pause, it readies my heart for the day in ways that rushing out the door twelve minutes after I open my eyes just never will.
My room is white, and my curtains are sheer –so when I wake up in the morning, my room is bright. Really bright. I’ve found that when my curtains completely block the natural light, I want to sleep until noon and probably will, accidentally. Because mornings are hard, my routine is simple: Make the bed. Make the coffee. Open your Bible. On an ideal day, I give myself an hour for this before I have to get ready and leave the house. Right now, I turn on a worship playlist, make my bed and start the water for coffee. I’m finding that the process of making a pour-over is methodical enough that it can be done in my groggy morning state, but slow enough that it helps draw me out of it. I drink my coffee on the couch and open my bible –right now, I’m going through the She Reads Truth Open Your Bible study. This has been a sadly inconsistent part of my routine, but I’m finding it’s also the most essential. I can’t turn my eyes to Jesus if I don’t know him, if I don’t pause to remember.
Evening: My evening routine is also pretty simple, but it’s significant because I’ve always been a “fall into bed + sleep in your makeup” kind of girl. Right now, I start my evening routine by lighting a candle, setting my morning alarm, and turning on my window AC unit because our little house
is old and hot has character. I put on actual pajamas because Shauna Niequist says that you can’t put on clothes you’d go for a run in and expect your body to know it’s time to sleep. I brush my teeth and wash the day off my face, sometimes adding a Lush mask [my latest favorite thing]. I spend the last moments before I fall asleep reading –right now it’s Ann Voskamp’s The Broken Way or Isaiah 55.
I’m realizing that the time and effort I previously “saved” by cutting out an evening routine was instead spent staring at the ceiling and trying to turn my mind off. I’ve found that the rhythm of routine lulls me to sleep, and adds no more than half an hour to my day. Maybe you aren’t into candles and masks or you don’t really like reading. Find a rhythm that works for you –maybe it’s worship music + tea, or journaling + silence.
Let it be clearly stated that I’m not an expert on rhythms, not even close. I still oversleep, still rush out the door without reading my Bible, still sometimes sleep in my makeup. But, I know now that there’s a better way. I know that I sleep better after half an hour of routine before bed, I know that I love better after a morning spent in truth. I know that God has established the rhythm of morning + evening and that it’s good.
A few of my favorite MORNING + EVENING things:
SHAUNA NIEQUIST, Present over Perfect
SHE READS TRUTH, Open Your Bible
ALL GOOD THINGS CO. P R A I S E Playlist
LUSH Kalamazoo Face Wash + Mask of Magnaminty
GLOSSIER Priming Moisturizer + Balm Dotcom
ANTHROPOLOGIE Baltic Amber Candles