I also want this to be a discussion. Let's talk about what you agree with, what you disagree with, and what hits just a little too close to home. And let's not just talk about it, let's put some action into the areas we are convicted of and do something.
I'll put Baxter's words first, then my translation below. Then let's walk through them together.
Baxter's Introduction: It somewhat tends to make a holy life more easy to us, when we know the ordinary course and method of our duties, and everything falls into its proper place; as it helps the farmer or tradesman to know the ordinary course of his work, that he need not go out of it, unless in extraordinary cases. Therefore I shall here give you some brief directions for the holy spending of every day.
Baxter: Direction 1. Proportion the time of your sleep aright, (if it be in your power,) that you waste not your precious morning hours sluggishly in your bed. Let the time of your sleep be rationally fitted to your health and labor, and not sensually to your slothful pleasure. The morning hours are the most precious of all the day, for all our duties; especially those who are scanted of time, must take it then for prayer, if possible, lest they have none at all.
Direction 1: Be intentional with your sleep. Don't waste your very few morning hours in bed any more than you need to (NEED, not want). Figure out how much sleep your body needs to function well and stick with that routinely. Don't lay in bed in the morning because it feels good, these few quiet minutes are the only few you'll have when someone doesn't need you. If you are especially harried in the mornings and don't have time to pray, its hiding right here... after the alarm, before the snooze.
What I liked:
I really appreciated that Baxter doesn't lay out a specified number of hours of sleep. Our days and our bodies and our seasons of life are all different. I like that he took that into account. Not a one-size-fits-all kind of approach.
What convicted me (the "ouchie" part):
"..and not sensually to your slothful pleasure." Ouch, Richard. Ouch. Low blow. But, I do see his point. If I want to get better at this living life to the fullest thing, I've got to make the moments count, because those add up to my days. That doesn't mean I'm legalistic about my hours of waking and sleeping, but that I'm thoughtful, intentional, and purposeful. I'm starting to realize that the more I live life on default mode, the harder it is to do anything of meaning.
What do I need to do in light of this?
Well, for me, with teen boys that sleep in until noon unless they have to get up, sleeping in is a very real temptation. But, I've been waking up early for so many years that it is a habit now. So my struggle isn't so much with the getting out of bed part, but more with the prayer part he mentions at the end.
How will I do it?
I get up okay, but not until I've hit snooze too many times, so I will move my alarm clock out of arm's reach. I will put my feet on the ground and just get up the first time it rings. Because, really, that snooze is just too tempting to give in to my slothful pleasure... and really, are those 9 or 18 minutes worth it?
It is actually pretty amazing to see Baxter's wisdom from 400 years ago, turn up in a Huffington Post article.
Now it's your turn. What do you think? What did you like? What hit home? What are you going to do? I'd love to discuss with you in the comments below!