The view from the lanai on our honeymoon. I have such wonderful memories of sitting there in the mornings with a cup of locally-grown Hawaiian coffee and spending time with the Lord.
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) Oh God, You are my God; early I will seek you. (Psalm 63:1)
I’ve never been a morning person. Even though students begin entering my classroom at 7:45 (ugh), I don’t get into my groove until around 9. I’ve accepted that about myself:* I’m a night person, and that’s all there is to it.
For that reason, I never took a literal interpretation to the scriptures above: surely I don’t have to read the Bible in the MORNING. I could read at night! Theoretically, at least…since shutting off the TV and laptop is much harder than turning it on. But I could just pray in the morning! And I watch Joyce Meyer every day while I get dressed, isn’t that the same thing as being alone with God?
Apparently, it isn’t. Not for me, anyway.
A few months ago, I started reading the Bible while I drinking my coffee as soon as I woke up on the weekends.** I realized that routine made a huge difference in the amount of peace and joy I had as I went through my daily tasks. So during the last week of school in June, I decided to get up twenty minutes earlier and continue my weekend routine. I told my co-worker about the change in routines and she said, “I knew SOMETHING was different! I can really tell! You should definitely do that every day.”***
I always made the excuse that I wouldn’t be alert enough to read the Word at 6:30 a.m., but there’s a difference between doing a Bible STUDY and MEDITATING on the Word. Some days, I might just read a few lines in Psalms, and then selah (think about it, repeat it over and over like a mantra). If my mind wanders to the things on my to-do list, I go with that. It’s okay, because my mind isn’t racing wildly: the whole experience of prepping for the day is now occurring within the framework of God’s goodness and purpose for my life.
Sometimes I re-read the same underlined portion of a chapter three days in a row, and then on a morning when I have a little more time (and alertness), I’ll forge ahead into more chapters and a deeper study. I don’t condemn myself for missing a day.**** That’s alright—I miss my quiet time with God, and I know I’ll return to it soon.
The devil makes a bid for our minds early in the morning. It’s amazing how many anxious thoughts he can inspire just within the first 5 minutes I’m awake. As usual, obedience toward the command to seek the Lord early isn’t for God’s benefit, it’s for my own. I’m not doing Him a favor by making time for Him first: I’m setting myself up for spiritual success, I’m putting on the armor I’ll need in the day’s battle.
"The men who have done the most for God in this world have been early on their knees. If God is not first in our thoughts and efforts in the morning, He will be in the last place the remainder of the day." ---E.M. Bounds
* It doesn't take too long for the kids to accept that about me, either, though I pity the slow learners in this scenario.
** Wow, how telling was THAT sentence: the Bible but my coffee!? Ouch.
*** Hint, hint: you’re a grouch in the morning! We all REALLY need you to spend time with God first thing!
**** Ironically, as I write this, I haven’t read the Bible for the last two mornings.
The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23)