I was fifteen years old and my life was being turned inside out. My name and appearance hadn’t changed, but everything else about me had. I was a completely different person than I had been a year or two before. I don’t mean like when people go to college and re-create themselves with new nicknames and personalities; I mean something significant had gone on inside of me. I had become a Christian. I felt new. I felt alive.
I felt so good that I had to announce it to anyone who would listen, especially my closest friends and family. Everyone responded differently to the change in me—some with joy, others with resistance—but one conversation has always stood out to me.
I was talking with an older man whom I greatly respected, thrilled to explain my game plan for honoring God with my lifestyle, specifically my sexual purity. I tried to be calm about it, but it was always hard to hold my excitement in. As the words leapt from my tongue at an unnatural pace, I got the sense that he wasn’t as excited as I was. He was trying to listen quietly, but his facial expression responded before his mouth had a chance. He seemed halfway amused and halfway concerned.
He gave me a confused look and calmly asked, “Why are you taking life so seriously, young man? Why are you trying so hard to do everything right? Youth is the time when you mess up a lot, and that’s okay. Just enjoy yourself, learn from those mistakes, and get serious when you get older.”
I was stunned. Some might have taken that advice as liberating and honest, but that’s not how it felt to me. It felt constraining and misleading. I knew what he said was wrong, but I was a new Christian and I couldn’t quite put it into words.
I reflected on that experience for a long time, but instead of dampening my fire, I think it turned up the heat. I didn’t know much at the time, but I knew I couldn’t just sit around and wait. I had to get up and live.
OUR FAULTY LOGIC
Waking up is my least favorite part of every day. It’s not that I don’t appreciate a new day with new opportunities, but getting out of bed just never seems appealing. Ever. When it’s eleven at night, getting in bed is just an ordinary part of my day. But when it’s seven in the morning, staying in bed is like winning the lottery.
If you look at my iPhone, you’ll see that, 可悲, I have about sixteen alarms set in fifteen-minute increments starting just before 7:00 上午. 點解? Because there’s pretty much no chance I’ll get up after the thirteenth alarm. Those next three—numbers fourteen, fifteen, and sixteen—are my only chance to actually have a day.
Sometimes I think I could convince myself of anything in those first drowsy minutes of each morning. This was at its worst during my college years, when climbing out of bed in the morning felt like climbing Mount Everest without any legs. I could tell myself all kinds of lies, like, “Yeah, you should go to class, but will it really matter?” or “I know you’ve been late every day for the last three weeks, but what’s another day?” or “Maybe my friend will take the test for me. It’s worth the risk.” Sad, I know. That’s what I call 7:00 上午. 邏輯.
The lie I told myself was that staying in bed would be good for me. Somehow an extra five minutes or an extra hour would improve my life. When I’m wide awake it seems foolish, but in those first moments of each day it seems perfectly logical.
Can you imagine what the world would be like if nobody got up until they felt like it? Businesses would fold, schools would suffer, the government would be even more chaotic than it already is. Nobody would have enough time to do his job well; by the time everyone woke up, half the day would be gone. The truth is, no matter what time you decide to rise from your slumber, you only have twenty-four hours to work with. Hitting the snooze button doesn’t actually buy you any extra time. Your work just won’t get done.
Unfortunately, many of us have adopted 7:00 上午. logic as a way of life. We sometimes call it procrastination. We don’t feel like doing something in the moment, so we decide to put it off until later. Sometimes we do it with small things, like taking out the trash, studying for a test, answering work e-mails, or returning Mom’s phone call.
But procrastination doesn’t actually solve anything, so it’s a bad idea to delay daily tasks until the last minute. It’s an even worse idea to delay life itself.
WHAT DO YOU EXPECT?
Let’s be honest. Our culture doesn’t usually expect much from people until they’re old. (I’ll avoid offending anybody and let you define old.) According to many, youth isn’t the time for great responsibility or expectation. They say, “You’ll bear the burdens of responsibility for the rest of your life, so enjoy your youth while you can!” People seem to expect us to take all of life lightly until we reach that magical, arbitrary age of responsibility. Is it eighteen? Is it twenty-one? Is it thirty? Your guess is as good as mine.
I had a conversation with a waiter in Phoenix one night not too long ago. He wasn’t much younger than me, probably in his early twenties. He was really friendly from the moment I sat down, and we ended up having a good conversation. I asked him all the usual small-talk questions: Where are you from? How long have you worked here? Will you spit in my food?
As he responded to my questions, it was clear that he’d bought into the 7:00 上午. 邏輯. He told me that he had only lived in Phoenix for a few months. Before that he was in Nevada, before that California, and before that he lived on the East Coast. At this point I began asking myself how I’d describe him to a police sketch artist, just in case he was a fugitive of some sort.
But when I asked him why he moved around so much, here’s what he told me: “Just because. I don’t want to stay in one place and take on a bunch of responsibility. I’m young, man. It’s my time to just explore, not be bogged down with a bunch of commitments. Who knows, maybe I’ll find myself.”
I was sad but not surprised by his response. Of course there’s nothing wrong with moving a lot or self-discovery, but is there a season in our early twenties—or even our teens—when life doesn’t really matter? Should we hold off on all convictions, commitments, and seriousness until later?
CAN YOU TRUST IT?
I heard a song the other day that captured this perspective perfectly. The lyric went, “We’re happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time.”
I know taking on Taylor Swift hasn’t gone well for people in the past (do I need to remind you about Kanye?). But I’m willing to take the risk and examine what she says in her song “22.” I know it’s just a fun song, so I don’t want to overanalyze it. I think she has successfully captured the feelings of her listeners and the spirit of the age. But the perspective is all wrong.
What does it mean, as she says in the song, to “feel twenty-two”? The song celebrates the kind of carefree, light, and easy young adulthood that many of us dreamed about. Unfortunately, it suggests that this happiness and freedom is found in confused, sometimes miserable wanderings. There’s no direction, no responsibility—just chaotic fun. It’s that 7:00 上午. logic again. Who has time for life when you feel twenty-two? Swift didn’t make this perspective up; we’ve been sold this logic over and over again. But can it be trusted?
Whether or not this 7:00 上午. logic is trustworthy depends on who you are and what you were created for. If you were only created for self-satisfaction and enjoyment, then putting off real life until later may be the best choice. If you’re nothing more than another person looking out for yourself, then that young waiter’s logic may seem pretty sound. You can wait until later to wake up if you want to. But what if you were created for something more?
*This is an excerpt from the first chapter of Trip’s new book, 上升. 唔好唔記得, 当你預訂時上升 一月 26, 你將免費獲得一堆禮物, 包括一首冇出現喺專輯中嘅獎曲目. 以下係兌換禮物嘅所有詳細信息: http://risebook.tv/preorder
woow thanks alot Mr Trip Lee for this… I made this resolution for 2015 that every night I will wake up at 3 and true I always wake up but am not sure I pray I usually comfort myself by saying the year is still young I mean people are still sending the happy new year greetings then I think am just 20 let me wait when am 30 and have a family, kids, a job and a husband then I will have alot to pray for… but thanks for this piece how I wish I can get the whole book too sounds very informative. .. anyway God bless you !! :-)
This is absolutely who I am RIGHT NOW! 可悲嘅係, but no need to hide. I am a single mom, full time student, own a small business, currently a staff leader for a church we planted in September 2014 (staff unpaid), and work part time at a safe home for teenage girls who are victims of sex trafficking and yes even after reading what I do I am sure you’re already exhausted! I dare myself every night before bed to wake up at least by 5:00 上午. and set all my alarms..(yes ALL I mean the five on my phone and then the one that has a connection)always to 5:45, 6:00, 6:15, 6:30, 和 6:45…what time do you think I woke up today?!? 7:00!!! 係., I know I am so lazy… But really I am tired…maybe too much on my plate, so I am going to cut some things down currently, but ultimately your post is so true. I would be way more productive in everything I’m involved in, most importantly I could give more time to God. How silly really it is to waste such precious time. 作为一个 25 year old( I am 25) or even as a 30 or 40 year old we should be living everyday with a purpose because we have one, to live every day not wasted and to share His word and embrace every moment possible to grow in Him through our every day life. Thanks for sharing and looking forward to your concert in Orlando!!!
This post came at a perfect time, as my new year’s resolution was to be more disciplined, more specifically to wake up early and be in the Word every day so that my life is continually transformed by it. Thank you for the encouragement!
God is good. In the past weeks before school started back for my 5 year old son and he returned home from being with his mom for the holidays (even summer) every morning its ‘I’ll wake up in 20 mins,’ or whatever the excuse may be and hit the snooze button. Man before I got up for work I had already planned my entire day out and convinced myself as to why this extra sleep would help but every single time it would hurt me to stay in bed rather than help. A lot has happened in 2014 and I hit rock bottom bad! I’m just thankful God has shown me his mercy and grace to rebuild my life and start over and find the purpose he has for me on this earth because I don’t deserve it. Being more and more consistent in reading the word and understanding the our Lord and Savior Jesus is the living word it tells us that laziness, sleep, 等. will all lead to poverty, misfortune, and even death. A lot of sin has plagued my life and being lazy, getting that little extra sleep has held me back from the life God has for me. Nowadays I wake up 20 or 30 mins before my alarm and hear that voice telling me ‘get up start early’, or even at work ‘don’t put this off do it now, put more effort into what your doing you can do better.’ I have fought the Lord for too long and I see doing things my way is going to put me in an early grave. I’m still not where I wanna be but have learned to give in to the spirit and just listen no matter what I am being steered to do but I’m human and I have the urge to go back to my ways. I’m afraid of letting God down, I don’t think I can fulfill his purpose for my creation, yea I’m doing better today or right now, but can I be consistent everyday all day God-willing and do my part as a Christian. Its exciting to read and learn but for me it has been scary to think I can do what God wants consistently and I go back to I’ll get with ya God tomorrow because I messed up today. Man my friend pushed me a long time ago to change what I listen to and I promise I just started listening to you Trip for a week now and you have already been an influence on my life man. I appreciate it and apologize for the long post just gotta tell ya thank you for your music and the excerpt above it’s all adding to my testimony that God is real and even though I feel lonely being a single father here in this big state of Georgia with so many people, God will work through others whether they’re arms reach or you never meet em to steer me in the right direction.
Your a talented artist my brother I look up to you I’m25 going to be 26 this May so I hope GOD uses me in a mighty way for his GLORY and riches plus i would like to do what you and other artist do preach the GOSPEL in a way that it doesn’t sound so religious and folks turn around and walk away but can be renewed and transformed and changed for the better because that inner voice that speaks within us telling those out there, there are those like us seeking of our purpose on what GOD wants and needs from us. Thanks for making this book can’t wait to get it I’m starting to like it already!
“If you look at my iPhone, you’ll see that, 可悲, I have about sixteen alarms set in fifteen-minute increments starting just before 7:00 上午. 點解? Because there’s pretty much no chance I’ll get up after the thirteenth alarm. Those next three—numbers fourteen, fifteen, and sixteen—are my only chance to actually have a day.”
Haha. So true. I have the same problem. Good stuff. I’m looking forward to the reading the book!
Encouraged. I hit the snooze button may too many times. I want to live a life that points to a good God. I need to pray and get a plan soon. 多謝., TL.
棒。! listening & agreeing & laughing. 多謝.!
I want this book. It’s for me 18 years old christian rapper from Macedonia.
this is so true and profound. Have been struggling with the 7:00 a.m logic especially since starting university where it has become even more difficult to wake up in time.
your testimony kind of reminds me of myself when I was young! Really enjoyed your perspective about LIFE!!!
im not joking, I needed to read this so badly right now. I’m getting ready to go to a different country for a year to do missions and tell people about JESUS, but the days leading up my leaving (which are now only 9,) have been full of me in the 7:00am logic. The thing is, 雖然, that every morning when I don’t wake up and I end up sleeping entirely too late, I am so upset at myself! I know I have this 7:00am logic, but I’m not okay with it. I just don’t know what to do to change it. It seems like even when I truly do try, I still fail. Thanks for writing this, 旅行. I am challenged.
哇, i love this soo much. Wish i could get the book.
讚美上帝! Can’t wait to read your new book… I recently had a heart transplant on 9/29/14, and I thanked God everyday for His blessing, my point, like your last book the “Good Life” we tend to put or faith and trust in the wrong things.. 上帝保佑。! #Unashamed #116 #DontQuit #CantwaittoreadRise
Thank you for allowing me to dive into this excerpt from your new book. I do believe this will enlighten our culture and even start a conversation. I know some younger christians that will definitely appreciate this honest perspective as well. God bless and pray nothing, but blessings in this endeavor.
Hmmm, 7:00 am logic… I cannot say I’m NOT like this! Reading this made me think back to all the times that I wake up, look at the time, and say, “6:00? I think my first decision of the day will be… to go back to sleep.” I love my sleep! Not addicted, but don’t disturb me. I should instead say, “6:00? I think my first decision of the day will be to read God’s Word and pray.” Thank you Trip for sharing this. So excited for your book, I’ve already pre-ordered it!
Powerful stuff Trip. Thanks for sharing what the Lord has put on your heart in this regard. Your ministry is a blessing to many, Lord bless.
Such a lovely post. I am such a big fan of your music. It inspired me soo much. Finding out that you are both a blogger and writer was mind-blowing, since I’m both and have been looking for someone to look up to. I really wish I could get a copy of your book.
哇! My friend listens to your music and she told me I’d like it. For sure my mind is blown. You’re real, honest and there’s absolutely no beating about the bush with you. You’ve inspired me so so much and although I’m 18 and feel like I’m going nowhere, there’s so much truth – raw honesty – and looking into God’s word from you that I’m so inspired and motivated to quit a bunch of bad habits. Imma cling onto that hope that there’s something good coming and especially not believing the 7:00 上午. logic cuz I can totally relate and it’s something I’m working on. 多謝!!
P.S. Looking forward to more awesome music! :)
Good day Trip.