For a couple of weeks my alarm has been going off at 5:00 am every day. I’ve been waking up in the early morning hours so that I get some writing done before my home gets busy.
I have never been a morning person, but getting out of bed while the sky is still dark and the house is chilly isn’t the hardest part of adjusting to my new routine. I enjoy writing, and I cherish sipping my first cup of coffee in a calm house. So while I will never be someone who bounds out of bed, eager to start my day, and ready for conversation – I do find genuine satisfaction in engaging in quiet activities that nourish my soul while my home is peaceful.
However, even though I am truly enjoying the early morning stillness, I’m tired. And I’m cranky. And I feel a little “off” throughout the day- easily prone to frustration and discouragement. Very much like a toddler in need of a good nap.
I’m realizing that the reason I’m struggling to be a productive, pleasant, joy-filled person throughout the day – similar to my rested self that I fondly remember – is because so far I’ve only committed to getting up early.
My struggle is not in the doing, it’s in the preparing.
I am a night-person who needs to prepare for getting up early by going to bed earlier as well. Sounds simple, right?
But how often do we jump into new habits and new rhythms without being committed to the preparation required to accomplish our tasks well?
For me the answer is most definitely – often.
Unfortunately there is a steep learning curve with the “dive in head first” method, and I suspect a high failure rate.
The same is true when we set out to nourish community around our table.
I often write about just opening our front door wide and inviting others in to gather around our table to be nourished by good food and good conversation. Nourishing community is – and it isn’t – that simple.
So what is the necessary preparation work that enables me to nourish community well?
Being intentional to be filled up by my faith before I pour out into others.
I will eventually drain everyone who comes into my home, as well as my own soul, if I need my community’s friendship and appreciation to feel whole or full.
My heart holds an over-flowing cup of gladness because of the out-pouring of love, friendship, and appreciation that is poured back into me and my home through our community dinners. But the people who gather around my table are not the source of my strength or desire or equipping for nourishing community.
The never-ending well that continually fills me is God. I spend time with Him daily – seeking His love, grace, and strength to pour into me so that I pour out into others.
My work of nourishing community originates with my relationship with Christ. A relationship that guides and equips my work, so that my outflow of love and service will hopefully produce the blessing of community and friendship around my table.
It never happens well the other way around.
My weekly work of hosting community dinners is just not sustainable over months and years apart from the daily preparation work of spending time in personal prayer, worship, or scripture reading with my God.
It’s the preparation necessary for the work of nourishing not just bodies with food around my table, but souls as well.
What are you doing to prepare for the work you have been called to do?