I need the early morning. It would survive without me, but if I don’t wake to it, I breathe shallow breaths instead of deep, rejuvenating inhales.
This morning I opened my eyes to my alarm, and I laid there.
“Get up. Get up. Get up. You have to get up.” I say it in my mind until I’m awake enough to really hear it. My husband hates that I love to hit the snooze button. I’ll press it until 8 AM without question or thought. So I pester myself, pep-talk my way into wakefulness. I would rather close my eyes and go back to sleep. But what’s waiting for me is just as essential to my health as the sleep I crave.
I need the early morning, before my kids wake up, before I put clean dishes away, and before I do anything else. Just 15 minutes alone, time to pray, time to think, and time to read is all it takes for me to feel more like myself than if I choose to sleep in a little bit longer.
Get up. Get up.
The morning will move on with or without me. It will be there each day, waiting for me to fill its presence on my couch in the living room. It doesn’t need me for it to exist, it doesn’t need me for the promise of tomorrow. It is sure as the sun, sure as the moon, sure as the time that passes day by day. It welcomes me in whatever state I am in, which is so often disheveled and tired, unkempt, and messy. The morning sees the most vulnerable and unprotected version of me, the one that rolls out of bed with the hope that the morning will give me a little more of the peace that I so desperately need.
It’s hard to escape God when we live in a world like this one. People are unreliable in every way, even though they are made in the image of God. People let me down all the time. So unreliable. So unlikeable at times. Yet in the morning, when the sun rises and shines through my back door, snaking through the trees, I remember God better than before. The sunlight is like Him in so many ways: fierce and warm, reliable, and safe. The morning light is just as reliable. I can count on it to come through every day. Even if the sun is covered by clouds, still the sun rises. Even if the day is bleak, the morning still comes. Even if my bed would seem to be the safest place to hide from the world, still the morning finds me.
That’s the beauty of God. I wish that truth would permeate us like the warmth of sunlight. The truth is, it is not that God has to travel to come to us. He is as reliable as the morning: always there, ready, anticipating our welcome. We have to move toward Him. What’s more, even I don’t wake every day wanting to move toward that early morning light. Sometimes it’s just dark. Sometimes I am so tired, longing for the warmth of sleep, desperate for an escape from whatever the day holds. There are days when moving towards God feels just as painful as walking on the sun itself, feet burning, tears stinging in the heat. But the reward is always worth it: the moment I find myself in the reliable morning hours, I find Him right next to me. I look terrible. I look tired. I feel sluggish and unprepared for time with a God who loves me more than any sun in the sky. Yet He is always ready for me, always reliably present when I’m ready to be with Him, consistent as the sun.
What a relief it is that the rising of the sun doesn’t depend on me. What a relief that the presence of God is not dependent on my heart and soul. Both are near, regardless of me. Nothing we can do pushes Him away. Nothing we can do can stop the sun from rising and setting day in and day out. The least we can do is get up, make our way toward the couch where we’ll find Him waiting. Reliable as the sun. Reliable as the morning. He will meet us there.