I’ve been trying to wake up early for the past few weeks.  Life gets so busy around my house that I’ve found it’s impossible to do the things that refresh my heart and my mind if I don’t do them early.  So I’ve gotten in the habit of waking up at 5am Sunday through Thursday.  I’m not saying this to brag.  :o)

Waking up early to do my reading and occasional writing is good for me, for several reasons.  First, I can’t really making any noise, so I’m practicing the discipline of silence.  I love to have music playing when I’m working.  My house is too small to play music in the morning without waking everyone else up.  So I do my morning routines in silence.

Second, I’m alone, so i’m practicing (in micro form) the discipline of solitude.  I have a lot of meetings day to day, especially as my responsibilities at the church grow.  I’m an introvert, and meetings are one of the most mentally draining parts of my day.  They are necessary, and I put as much as I can into the meetings that I am in, but I know that I need to spend some time alone if I’m going to remain spiritually, emotionally and mentally healthy.

This one habit of setting my alarm and waking up early, while I’m not perfect at it, helps me to start my day with things that energize me.  Rather than waking up at the last possibile minute and rushing out the door, I am able to warm up to the day.  I get to see the sunrise, which as I write this post is just about break over the tree line in my living room window.  I get to drink coffee.  I can get to the reading that I need to get through.  And I get to plan my day.

Habits shape who we are and who we will become.  If you feel like your life is not going the way that you want it to go, what is one thing that you can change to start building a healthy habit?

Practicing Greatness – Review

As a part of the leadership journey that I am on, we were asked to read Practicing Greatness by Reggie McNeal.  A few years ago i read the Present Future, which is also by McNeal (and I should probably read it again).  So I was familiar with his work and his style.  Practicing Greatness is a quick and easy read, but there is a lot to digest in it.

The basic plot is this, what are the practices or disciplines of great leaders.  And what does that look like in various contexts.  The use of anecdotal examples is very helpful, and I kept finding myself in both the negative and positive examples.  Reading this book challenged me to really look at what practices I need to develop in my life.  Of the 7 listed I think that Decision Making and belonging are my two weak points.  I make decisions but I know it takes me forever to feel comfortable with that.  And I am an independent person by nature but I need to develop relationships that I can truly belong to and with.  And I am working on that.

I was also challenged by the Chapter on the Discipline of Mission.  i know what the mission of every christian is, but I need to constantly drag my life back the mission that God has put on my heart, which is teach people about Jesus and his incredible grace.  That’s my mission, so whatever I do I need to be making sure that I am living up to my mission.

This is truly a must read for all spiritual leaders.