It’s no secret to basically anyone who knows me that I am not a morning person. No matter how many different schemes or habits or alarm clocks I have tried, I have never successfully established a morning routine. I am 100% a night owl — that’s when I have the most energy and when I feel the most awake and engaged.

In the research I have done about it, I have found contradictory studies about being a “morning person.” Some studies say that some of us are born as night owls; other studies say you can choose to become a morning person. Regardless, this recent article from The Atlantic, aptly titled, “The False Promise of the Morning Routine,” exposes the seculosity of our obsession with morning routines:

…something sinister seems to be going on if you feel that you have to wake up 30 minutes earlier than usual to improve your well-being, so that you can also work 60 hours a week, cook dinner, run errands, and spend time with your family. In a culture obsessed with self-optimization, “we are being sold on the need to upgrade all parts of ourselves, all at once, including parts that we did not previously know needed upgrading,” Alexandra Schwartz wrote in The New Yorker last year.

Something sinister seems to be going on, indeed! Search #morningroutine on Instagram, and a slew of images will assault you with your lack of productivity. There is always some other person doing more with their mornings than you do — someone who runs farther, reads more, meditates longer, eats healthier, snoozes less.

The article’s writer Marina Koren searches for inspiration to boost her morning routine, but, she writes, “I end up feeling terrible instead, and wondering what’s so great about the saintliness our culture seems to ascribe to early-bird achievers.”

I relate deeply to this sentiment. For a long time, I thought being a night person made me a bad Christian. All the really good Christian people I knew arose early each morning to pray and read Scripture. Whenever I tried that, I never got much farther than “Dear God, thank you for this day, and thank you for creating pillows…” before I was back under my covers again, snoozing.

It seemed like morning was the holiest time of day – I mean, Jesus was a morning person. He was always getting up before the sun to pray in a solitary place. While getting out of bed by 7am for me seems like a feat of grand proportions, by that time, the really good Christians are sipping fair-trade coffee while having their ‘quiet time,’ having already been awake for 3 hours and having already prayed for every person they know…twice. And having already run 17 miles, too, while listening to a sermon podcast.

I have always felt shame about my lack of morning energy. And it’s not just praying or doing something spiritual. It’s anything that happens before 8am. I am notoriously late for breakfast appointments. I have rarely been successful at getting up for a morning workout. If I’m lucky, I may have time to cook a real breakfast instead of a granola bar. I’ve tried putting my alarm across the room to make me get out of bed, yet I always return faithfully to my pillow after shutting off my alarm. The worst part is, I’m not a snooze-button addict — in my sleepy state, I unconsciously turn off my alarms completely, leaving me to rely fully on a divine intervention to wake me up in time for work. (Hey, maybe my morning routine is more spiritual than I thought?)

Yet there is hope beyond the alarm clock for us “morning-challenged people,” as Koren calls us. The Gospel declares that I don’t have to prove my worth or value by achieving some divine level of productivity before the sun comes up. Grace covers for my snoozing, and promises that my failure to arise early in the morning doesn’t exclude me from communing with our Creator. He made morning, and He made evening, and called them both good.