The Best Part of Waking Up
March 31, 2011
Have you ever heard the traveling advice that if there is an airplane emergency, the mother needs to make sure that she puts her oxygen mask on first, or she will be of no good use for saving her children? We are constantly used to putting our children’s needs before our own, so I can see why this is a lesson that needs to be taught beforehand. Sometimes (okay, almost all the time) I secretly wish I could apply this principle to my morning cup of coffee. For some reason, no matter how early I get up, my kids can sense my presence in the kitchen. One of them (usually my son, but his sisters are glad to take his place if he cannot fulfill his duty) always manages to hobble to the bar and begin placing their breakfast orders before I can brew up my first cup of mudd. And then, the other two magically file in with their tabs as I begin juggling short orders and packing lunches. All the while, I am dreaming about my hot, steamy fuel injection that will instantly lift my mood to serve them better. How come they don’t know that mommy is nicer with coffee? What ends up happening is that I barista myself in between slapping mustard on sandwiches and cream cheese on bagels, and take my post as the traveling drinker, approving outfits, forcing showers, barking out orders. Longing for that quiet moment to enjoy my magical brew, the day just begins to happen. After what usually seems like an Olympic event to get everyone off to work and school (homework done, folders signed, nails trimmed, teeth brushed, lunches packed, arguments adjudicated…), I feel like I deserve a major award for valor in multitasking. As I was contemplating my “coffee problem” once again this morning, it occurred to me that something was even more important than starting my day with a double shot of espresso. The best part of waking up, well, is waking up! Where is my gratitude to serve before I’ve been served (or serve myself, I should say)? And can a quietly enjoyed cup of coffee really fill me with all I need to handle my responsibilities with joy? I’m sure you know where I am headed with all this. Where do I fit prayer in? And why would I just fit it in, instead of prioritize it for the beginning of my day? Well, my usual routine is to get everyone out of the house, return home, write a list of what I want to pray about, and then talk to the Lord before I continue with my day. You can see the benefit of actually having a quiet time for prayer. But sometimes the phone rings, or I get sidetracked with a task, or pop-in visitor. Just like that traveling cup of heaven, I begin short-handing prayer on the go. It might be 2 o’clock before I recognize that I’ve let my whole day just happen, all the while reacting, missing good opportunities that the Lord has provided. All this time I have mistaken my morning coffee as the oxygen mask over my morning prayer. Today I want to make the same resolution as David:
My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; In the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up. (Psalm 5:3)Charles Haddon Spurgeon enlightens us further on “directing” our prayer in Volume One of The Treasury of David:
It is the word that is used for the laying in order of the wood and the pieces of the victim upon the alter, and it is used also for the putting of the shewbread upon the table. It means just this: “I will arrange my prayer before thee;” I will lay it out upon the alter in the morning, just as the priest lays out the morning sacrifice. (p. 46)Afterwards, I will look up, expecting my God to answer my prayers. I will look for the opportunities (even making sandwiches) provided me by Him throughout my day. I will continually be reminded that I am in His presence. And when I am frustrated, I will be reassured “that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:11b). So, as the song goes, In the morning when I rise, give me Jesus!