Your eyes open slowly and the room is dark. You can see the green lit numbers on your alarm clock… it’s early. Your brain tries to orient you… suddenly you are flooded with emotions as you realize where you are, what day this is, what you have to do, what you are frightened about doing, who hasn’t been too nice lately, where your long sleeved black shirt is, whether you should get up and go running or be lazy now and workout later, whether you actual will work out later knowing that your favourite show is on tonight, how a bathing suit based vacation is coming up, how if you don’t run you’ll blow up and no man will ever love you… and you’ll be forced to live a lonely life forever with cats, except that you don’t like cats but maybe you should learn, maybe cats will make you a more loving person and you’ll attract the right kind of man but then maybe you won’t and you’ll just have a lot of cats and then eventually will die alone, unless your sister has kids in which case they probably will take care of you but will they want to..? It goes on and on… growing more hysterical and making less sense…
Then you give your head a shake and swing your legs over the edge of the bed and hit the shower, flicking on the coffee pot on the way.. trying to find your way back to normal… or at least functional… or maybe that’s just me.
The point is.. I’m not generally a fear based person (I have lots of other fun issues instead) except when I first wake up. When someone asked me recently what my deepest fear was.. I replied: limb loss. As a general rule, I am not controlled or dominated by fear and can generally quite easily talk myself through scary experiences… unless it’s during the early morning hours.
When I wake up I tend to feel rather vulnerable. I don’t know if it’s because I wake up stupid-early or am generally lacking sleep but something about those early morning moments.. I am afraid. My mind starts racing with everything that worries me.. everything that concerns me.. everything that troubles me. I fret about little things and big things and it’s really rather overwhelming. I’ve been like this for a while.. I think it started right before I moved to Indonesia (over 8 years ago)… which was probably the scariest thing I’ve done.
I have learned to talk myself down, to deal with this strange early morning mania but it doesn’t always go away. When I was very obviously not living for God, those feelings were dark and scary and kind of sharp and would only dissipate by an adamant refusal to even acknowledge them. But the thing is, they didn’t go away. I pressed them down but they followed me all day.
Now.. those scary early morning thoughts still surface but I know what to do with them. I know how to recognize them for what they are. I know that I should get myself out of bed and put on my Christian music. I know that soon I will be spending time with God and can lay those fears at His feet. I believe and know that I can cast all my cares upon Him for He cares for me (1 Peter 5:7). I know that He has the plan and He can sort out all the little details. (although it may be up to me to find my black shirt).
Psalm 16 (which has some real gems and is definitely a good one to commit to memory) was part of my reading this morning and while I love how it talks about God being our portion and cup and how the lines fall for me in pleasant places.. today I was struck by vs 7 & 8.
“I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken” (ESV).
The fact that he can give us counsel, having our hearts instruct us through the night, and that because of him.. I shall not, will not be shaken speaks to me. Anxious early morning thoughts need not rattle me or upset me. Fears of limb loss or dying alone or overwhelming amounts of paperwork that I hate filling out but must, need not plague my heart. I can wake up in the morning and remember that the Lord goes before me… He gives me counsel and He holds me steady.
Tomorrow morning when I open my eyes and my brain starts flooding with the usual unsettling thoughts, I know what verse to throw at it and I know that I need not be thrown off but I can relax in the knowledge that He is with me.. at my right hand, holding me steady… even in the pre-5am hours.