Mornings and I don't really get along.
Ask my husband and he will tell you that there have been many mornings where the only thing that could get me to emerge from my grumpy blanket cocoon was a cup of hot coffee being thrust directly into my hand. Sometimes even that didn't cut it and I would fall back asleep in defiance of the snooze function on the six alarms I usually set on my iPhone.
But....as I type this it is currently 5:52 AM. And I've been up for nearly an hour already. My first cup of coffee is sitting directly in front of me and will need a refill in just a couple of minutes. The decision to start setting my alarm for 5:05 AM was not an easy one for me and I'd be lying if I said I didn't not-so-silently curse to myself that first morning when my phone woke me up.
I just needed to find more time.
Now, I know my family and some close friends are going to read this and some will roll their eyes, others will lightly bang their fist on the table, and still others will send me a thoughtful yet concerned email about how I'm pushing too hard. And you know what? They'd be right. I'm not going to sit here and claim that getting up in the 5 o'clock hour is easy nor is it the ideal situation for me.
So why am I doing it? Why have I dragged myself out of bed with the golden dawn for five days in a row now?
Because I've been feeling suffocated. Writing is like oxygen for me and I haven't been able to find time lately to breathe. When an opportunity was presented to me to do some volunteer writing at church, I felt like a window that had previously been locked with the shades drawn had been thrown open in front of me, an invitation to take long and deep breaths. I said yes when the offer came, without any sort of consideration for how I would actually pull it off. I just wanted to breathe again.
I asked God to help me find a way to write. My prayer for some time now has been that God would place opportunities in front of me that would help me identify my gifts and figure out ways that I can use them for his kingdom. All too easily I can fall into the trap of feeling useless and get stuck asking myself, "Why would God want to use me? What do I even have to offer?"
Every. single. time. I have asked God to draw me up out of that pit of uselessness, He has delivered into my lap an opportunity to serve in a way that allows me to put his handiwork on display and celebrate some of the gifts that he knit within me in the dark and secret places.
I brew my own coffee now. Most mornings I sit in front of my computer with my Bible open and either work on a new piece for church or for something to post here. Other days I leave the computer closed and just sit on the couch with my journal and allow the Lord to just speak quietly with me. Even though it seems like my youngest son somehow caught on to my little plan and has started to wake up and fuss from his crib the second I start the coffee, God has already blessed this time I have borrowed from the wee hours.
Now. There is a problem to all of this. I work....a lot. In addition to the mornings that I spend working at Camp, I work somewhere around thirty-five hours a week during the nights and weekends waiting tables. Most nights, I don't even leave work until after 10:30 at night, sometimes even later. The math doesn't really add up to very much sleep and this is something I have been struggling with for a long time now. I'm not so naive as to think the lack of rest isn't going to affect me. In fact, I already felt the effects yesterday when I sat down with my students to talk about the raising of Lazarus only to find that I struggled to form the words and felt like Lazarus probably had more energy than me.
My prayer is that I can find balance. I need to be able to do the things that make me feel alive while still getting the sleep that actually keeps me alive and able to function. I'm working on it, I promise. In the meantime, I need to make sure to keep my coffee cupboard well-stocked.
Coming up soon - My thoughts on Psalm 127, how it's been on my heart for weeks now, and how this entire post was all wrong.
(I never said everything on my blog would make sense.)