When I was younger, I considered myself to be a night owl. I was convinced that my best ideas and creativity came later on in the day. I often would work on important projects well into the night.
However, there was a problem. Even though I had the very best of intentions, I wasn’t doing myself any favors. There was a cost. The next morning I usually found myself sleepy-headed, and struggled to get through the workday.
Currently, things are different; the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction. I am now a morning person. I had to force myself to become one. It was difficult at first.
Now, I usually get up before the sun rises. I complete a few chores, plan my day, and enjoy writing. I prefer waking up in the early morning hours. I’ve found it to be such a serene time.
I am thankful that most of my meetings at the church are earlier than later. This usually allows me to go to bed at a decent hour. I can then rise the next morning and be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
What did I learn from this? Well, the most important thing is that I need to take care of myself. When I do so, my mind is sharp and I am better equipped to take on challenges. Good sleep habits help make this happen.
My expression of my Christian faith is within the framework of a Lutheran understanding. It includes something called “the priesthood of all believers,” which is the belief that all of us have a holy calling.
What is the purpose? This is not “the heavenly evacuation plan.” It is not an other-worldly, future-oriented construct, where the goal is to survive as a Christian on this planet for the purpose of getting to one’s heavenly afterlife. It is not to escape this sin-filled, God-forsaken place, and leave others behind.
No, this is not the goal of such a priestly calling. Instead, it is saying that we have a holy, precious mission to serve each other to the best of our ability in whatever we do. It is focused upon the here and now, this time and place, and upon doing good for the other.
Every day is an opportunity to serve each other in this holy calling.
Taking care of yourself, in turn, helps you to better care for others.
Walter is pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church and has served as parish pastor for more than 25 years.