This creates something of a problem for me because I am usually much more productive and creative later in the day. Efficiency and productivity experts tell us that we should do the tasks that require the most focus and creativity early in the day when we are our most productive and alert. Unfortunately for me that just doesn’t work. I am not my most productive early in the day. I often find that I have a burst of creativity that comes quite late in the day. In those first hours of the day I typically have great difficulty gaining traction and creating any forward momentum at all. Unfortunately in our culture if you are not up at the crack of dawn and hitting it hard early you can be perceived as somewhat lazy.
Unfortunately I am afraid that the “morning mafia” are too deeply entrenched and that they are going to continue ruling our world and setting the schedule. To this day, even understanding my own natural rhythms and the science that affirms them, I still find myself feeling a little bit sheepish, maybe even a little ashamed about the fact that I am not an early riser and early starter. Somewhere inside I think I would be perceived as much more of an eager beaver and hard worker if I were an early starter.
My interest in discussing this issue really isn’t my schedule, it is seeing how I am affected by how I think that others in the world might perceive me. Just the fact that I think some other people might perceive me in a negative light exerts a subtle pressure on me. It creates an unspoken sense that there’s something not good about me and that I need to conform to whatever I think would create a positive impression in those nameless people’s minds. In Romans 12:2 Paul commanded us to not conform to the pattern of this world. Followers of Jesus are described as foreigners and exiles in this world in 1 Peter 2:11. We don’t belong here and as result we will be at best a curiosity to people of this world. If we don’t conform to the pattern of this world we are going to be perceived as different, and not a good way. In our society today Christians are bound to be perceived as being on the wrong side of history, as being unintelligent, backward, narrow-minded, repressed, judgmental, even bigoted, among other less than favorable evaluations. Those perceptions will exert pressure on us. Even when we are quite certain of our beliefs and convictions we can still feel that subtle pressure. That can impact how we see ourselves and even slowly influence us to compromise what we know to be true.
In 1 Corinthians 15:9 Paul said that he didn’t even deserve to be called an apostle because of his past. He knew how some people perceived him even still. He was ashamed of what he had done in his past. But in verse 10 he said, “but by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect.” He was secure in who he was by God’s grace, so what other people thought changed nothing. We will only be able to resist the pressure of this world to the degree that we are secure in God’s grace in our lives. That security and God’s grace is what will enable us to stand firm in who we are regardless of how we think others might perceive us. Even if we are the farthest thing from morning people.