“Why did you get out of bed this morning?”
I love that question. I love to ask that question to children. We had dinner with some friends a few years ago. One of their daughters was seated to my right. I started right in.
Now, most of you don’t really know me. You have never met me. Allow me to describe myself in two words.
Oh! the stupid things I say to people. Why can’t I just shut up?
So I asked this child, “Why did you get out of bed today?”
“Um…because…my…parents…told me to?”
“Ooh! That’s the wrong answer. Try again.”
(several lame attempts later…)
“Well, Mr. Jordan…what is it you want me to say?”
I’m glad you asked.
Julie and I went through a rough spot (understatement) 9 years ago. Obviously we worked it out but along the way we saw a marriage counselor. She complained to the nice man one session, “It’s like there’s a spring in my husband that winds up while he sleeps. When the alarm clock goes off in the morning it’s like ‘BOING’ and he pops out of bed at a run. That’s not normal!”
Oh, yes it is. I only sleep because I have to. Sleep is necessary but interrupts me from fulfilling my purpose. And I know what my purpose is…and I’m excited about it. This morning I built a fire in the wood stove, put away laundry, walked to the cows in the dark (1/4 mile across the pasture), built fence, carried and fed hay, walked home, split and loaded wood to take to a friend, got dressed, packed up today’s deliveries and was out the door by 6:45. No dishes to wash this morning!
Then when I got home I raced to the cows again to fill water, open new pasture and prepare fencing for tomorrow. Home again, home again I fed the pigs. I scramble to fit the farm into my day because I see the farm as a part of our future….a part that increases as the future arrives. In order to prepare for the future’s arrival I have to work now. So most mornings (not every morning) I jump up and get started.
I know what I need to do. I’m happy to do it.
How did I find my purpose? There was a lot of wasted time but it helped when I started paying attention in church.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
That’s not the only reference but it is the one I carry with me. I was made by God. I was made by God to do something. I have something to do that is worth doing…so much so that God made me so it would get done. And He’s going to help me get it done. There’s no way I can stay in bed in the morning!
Maybe some people are born knowing their purpose. I wasn’t. There were some years attempting to find and discover my purpose. Time spent reading broadly, thinking, talking with Julie. Initially racing from one subject to the next finding things that stuck. Slowly discovering things I could do and could do well. Things that just felt natural…felt right. Look, I know emotions are poor counselors but work with me here. Julie and I looked at and pursued a whole lot of different things. A whole lot. Investing, remodeling houses, opening a Crossfit gym, woodworking, auto mechanics, learning ancient Greek, cooking…but somehow, everything we did came back to the land. We discovered our purpose right in our own back yard.
And don’t misunderstand me. I am still being made. My purpose does not come naturally to me. It is not easy. I spend the majority of my otherwise free time reading, thinking and studying how to do it better…and have for more than 10 years now. Huge amounts of time are wasted wondering if I screwed something up…if my cows are skinny, if my chickens are healthy. I found my purpose…but the making of me will continue for another 60 years or so.
And as the making continues, the purpose may change.
Once we found our purpose we could work to bring the future into focus. Once we could see it, we could start heading that direction. Now, Columbus didn’t get where he wanted to go on the first trip. We may not either. But most of his trip was just the getting there, not the arrival.
I jump out of bed in the morning because I know where I am going and I know what needs to be done to get there. Will I ever “arrive”?
Do you know where you are going? Do you know what it will take to get there?
Why did you get out of bed this morning?
If you are happy with that answer you will still feel warm when you are out building fence on a cold, windy night. And there are a lot of cold, windy nights in farming.
There is plenty of time to sleep when you’re dead. Julie and Rena would get along fine. And we would drive them nuts together…HAHAHA!!! Another great post.
I have to pick my conversation with friends carefully as annoyance tends to be multiplicative. My friend Jeff and I have to be careful not to talk tech when our wives are nearby as we are both very loud. Our wives just roll their eyes and wait for us to notice their silence.
Wow, what a great challenge! Needed that this morning… Whatever you do, do it heartily as unto the Lord.
Right on. And sometimes you don’t feel like it. David cried out…talking to himself in Psalm 103. “Bless the Lord, O my soul!” Like he was making himself do it.
Sometimes you just have to make yourself do it.
Great post that corroborates the conversation I had last night with friends about changing directions in life. Nothing wrong with dirt under your nails, and probably plenty of good.
Plenty of good. Noah got off the boat and planted a vineyard. But then I guess after being the crazy guy with the boat and all the smelly animals a man would need a drink.
Awesome post. Yup, I have no problem getting out of bed in the morning (you didn’t say it had to be as early as you, right?). I often joke to people that I will never be bored. My list of things to do is long enough to see me through my lifetime. Also, simple, daily things make me absurdly happy. My purpose? That’s a tougher one. I’m not sure if this thing that I’m doing is it or not. It makes me happy. I mostly find the inner strength to get back on after a fall, so I usually take that to mean that I’m on the right horse. I dunno though. I keep thinking of Abram, told by God that he’d be the father of a nation (all those stars in the sky), and how he and Sarai tried so many different and misguided ways to fulfill that, when God had a plan for them all along. I feel confident that I’m here on the farm for a reason. The steps that brought us back here were so not our own that I’m sure this part is right. What we’re doing now we’re here? This might be where we’re Abram and Sarai messing with the plan. I take comfort from the fact that God kept putting them back in the right place on the path till his plan worked out. I can only trust he’ll do that with us too.
I used to wake up before everyone else in the family. My parents got a TV before most people because they needed something for me to do until they were ready to get up. I was only 4 and have no idea how early it was, but I have always been an early riser. I remember getting up and watching TV all by myself when I was very little. I watched the test pattern until programing started. LOL
cool post. enjoyable read. your personality does shine through (I think) even when you’re not writing about it explicitly. I wouldn’t have chosen those words but loud and obnoxious can sometimes be endearing. More important is that you’re doing good things for good reasons, and whether you do them loudly or obnoxiously, silently or in secret, good things and good reasons make the difference.
may good things and good reasons spread out over the world…like incense or the smell of flowers