Generally, I enter the day like I entered this world – kicking and screaming. To say I am not a morning person is an understatement of epic proportions. Some people wake up and say “Good morning, Lord”; I, on the other hand mumble “Good Lord, it’s morning” as I sloooooowly drag myself out of bed and stumble to the kitchen.
Those who know me best have realized that it is futile to try to engage me in full conversation before I have had time to wake up and have coffee – usually the coffee comes first. I own a mug that gives “safety” clues to others. As the level of coffee goes down, the line comment changes from “don’t even talk” to “talk slowly,” and finally, “conversation now possible” near the bottom of the cup.
I prefer sunsets over sunrises and find my most creative time to be late, late evening. In seminary, most of my papers were crafted between the hours of 9 pm and 3 am. During the day, I had time to think and reflect before putting my thoughts on paper…and then my fingers flew across the keys.
As an introvert, I am energized by time alone to read, journal, reflect, and write. God blessed me with a husband who realizes how much I need this time away from my “normal” life to reconnect with God and His purposes for my life.
In April of this year, I took a new job as a clinical supervisor at the hospital. The hours are longer and my writing was placed on hold as I became immersed in the transition from occasional employee to new responsibilities and long hours combined with leadership training.
After six months, I desperately needed time alone to pray, meditate, journal, think, write….and take a nap.
The beauty of calm water, fall colors, and a painted sky brought a calmness and peace to the start of my day that I don’t appreciate often enough. On my “solitude” retreat, I had the whole of the day ahead of me to just “be” instead of “do.” Times like this are essential to my spiritual and emotional well-being. I return rested and refreshed, as well as more equipped to deal with the chaos that is my everyday life. This will last but a short time and I will begin planning my next retreat a few months to a year later.
Jesus understood and modeled the importance of getting away to be alone with the Father. Why do we so often think we can neglect these moments and rush headlong into our schedule? Jesus met with God early in the morning…before sunrise (Mark 1:35) and after the busyness of the day (Matthew 14:23). The psalmist understood the value of both:
It is good to give thanks to the LORD,
to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
to declare your steadfast love in the morning,
and your faithfulness by night, (Ps 92:1–2. ESV)
As I return to my normal schedule, I will miss these uninterrupted mornings with God when I had time to wake up slowly and meditate on Scripture. But I want to keep the peaceful start to the day even when I don’t have a couple of hours to do so.
Like many, I have snippets of time throughout the day that need to become more intentionally used to connect with God. My plan is to try the plan outlined in Ps 92:2.
In the morning, I will focus on God’s steadfast love. When I deal with situations that cause to doubt my abilities – I can rest assured that I am loved for who I am, not what I do.
In the evening, I can recall and be grateful for God’s faithfulness as He guided, protected, and equipped me to represent Christ in my secular job.
I dwell in a culture of clocks and schedules, deadlines and continuing change. Most of the time Jesus took to meet with His Father was intentional AND brief – often interrupted by the needs of people around him. Prolonged time away is a blessing, not the norm. Five minutes, five hours, or five days CAN end with the same result – a life reconnected to God and yielded to His purposes.