Highlands Blog: How Getting up at 5:00 AM Changed My Life
by Mr. Jim Good
Highlands Athletic Director
I have never been a “morning person”—honestly, quite the opposite. My lifelong habit was to set the alarm for the latest possible minute, hit snooze a few times, and then rush around like a mad man getting ready for school or work.
That all changed last February after we lost the District semifinal, literally at the buzzer. We had taken the lead by one, with four seconds to go. After the timeout, the opposing point guard drove the length of the court to make the layup. The ball went off the backboard, hit the side of the rim, bounced off the other side, and then hung on the front of the rim before finally dropping through. I can still see that shot today; it seemed like the ball took an eternity to figure out what it wanted to do.
Who knew that loss would begin my journey of discovering my “why” again. As Jon Gordon reminds us: “We don’t get burned out because of what we do, rather because we forget why we’re doing it.”
A few weeks later, my family and I spent a weekend in Orlando, and we decided to get the family meal pass for a day at Disney. Looking back, it was a good financial deal for a family of six, but I was literally eating snacks and meals nonstop. When we returned home, I decided to weigh myself, and I found a disturbing number staring back at me. I decided right then to research and implement some sort of diet. This was all new to me as I had never been concerned about what or when I ate.
I mean, I was a PE teacher, basketball coach, and athletic director. I was in shape, right? Well at the age of 43, I discovered I could not eat what I ate at 23 and look the same. The weight had been slowly creeping up, as well as the stress from being a husband, dad, coach, and employee. During the two weeks of my crash diet, I lost a few pounds, and it felt great! I then decided to begin setting my alarm for 5:00 AM to run three miles before work. I thought it would be difficult, but I was on a mission to get into the best shape of my life.
During those first few weeks of waking up at 5:00 and working on the self-discipline of exercising and changing eating habits, God was getting my attention. I heard Him asking, “What about your spiritual fitness?” He kept impressing upon me the words of 1 Timothy 4:8: “Physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things.”
I was changing on the outside, but I also wanted God to change me on the inside.
In late August I walked down the aisle in church on a Sunday morning. I poured out my heart to God. I told Him how sorry I was for the times I had “faked” the Christian life. I asked Him to forgive me of the bitterness, anger, and depression that was starting to creep into my heart. I wanted to be a true Christ-follower, a disciple, someone who is all in and sold out for Christ. I thanked Him for starting to change me physically and asked Him to change me spiritually.
I am so glad He did. It has been almost a year, and I am still waking up at 5:00 AM. I don’t need to set the alarm anymore, as my body is naturally waking up. I head out the door for my three miles with Christian music playing in my earbuds. I use this time to pray and ask God to fill up my cup, bless me, enlarge my territory, and protect me. I thank Him for my salvation and the relationship I have with a Heavenly Father who loves me beyond what we could ever compare in earthly love.
My prayers for my wife, kids, family, church, school, and my basketball team have become deeper and more intimate. I find myself wanting to read the Bible more. I want to learn more about God and His plan for my life as He opens new doors of influence to share about Him.
I’m grateful God has allowed me to be a part of Highlands and Grace these past 22 years. I wish I would have started waking up at 5:00 AM back then.
Coach Jim Good and his wife Eve (Highlands music teacher) have impacted hundreds of students for Christ over their years here on our campus. They have four children of their own who attend Highlands as well! If you’d like to hear more of Jim’s story, check it out HERE and HERE, or feel free to contact him personally at [email protected].