Mornings and I used to be old friends. I wake before the light with no alarm. I would look at my children asleep in their beds, do morning devotions, read emails, and then go back to sleep. I enjoyed this time before the sun was up. And now I just can't seem to do it.
It's that moment just after waking that tries me.
I mean to begin each day by turning my thoughts God-ward. By breathing thanks for another morning as soon as I know it has come. By taking a few deep breaths measured by short prayers: "Author of everthing (in), enfold me in Your love (out)." Or, "Remember Your mercies, Lord (in). In Your love, remember me (out)."
Some mornings I do just that, and I manage to make a pretty good beginning.
Other mornings my thoughts are all over the place. They skitter frantic and undirected like squirrels on a lawn, twitchy with anxiety. Do you ever feel that way?
I often think of a coming deadline or a paper I am writing or a worrisome conflict.
I imagine possible disasters spun from nothing or of danger to those I love. My heart begins to race before I've done a thing, and I feel helpless to restore its pre-waking, metronome rhythm.
I know how quickly things can go wrong, and I feel more defenseless before the battle happens than when it actually comes.
The morning skirmish is one of imagined scenarios. Imagination is a powerful thing.
C. S. Lewis writes in Mere Christianity, "...the real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it. It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings, coming in out of the wind."
Yes to the larger, stronger, quieter life that flows from Christ Jesus my Lord. Yes to coming in out of the wind. Yes for today, for this morning's skirmish. Yes.
But I will sing of your strength;
I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning.
For you have been to me a fortress
and a refuge in the day of my distress.
O my Strength, I will sing praises to you,
for you, O God, are my fortress,
the God who shows me steadfast love.
(Psalm 59: 16-17)