“I’ve got it! Maybe God wants me to sacrifice sleep in order to spend more time with Him in the mornings!”
I woke up that day with this sudden realization that there was something MORE I could do for the Lord. And man, was I excited to put it into practice! I was going to bed earlier, setting a few more alarms than usual and drinking warm milk before bed to prepare myself for my daily devotions. It worked! For a grand five days, I was bolting awake each morning around 5:30 a.m. with a smile on my face, ready to spend some quality time with Jesus.
… And then on the 6th morning, I realized I didn’t go bed early enough the night before and had trouble staying awake through my prayer. On the 7th morning, I slept through all of my alarms and woke up in a grumpy mood. On the 8th day, I just SLEPT the entire morning through. And on the 9th day, I’d forgotten about my attempt to spend mornings with Jesus completely.
Sacrificing sleep was tough!
Now, I’m not at all saying that it’s impossible to wake up every morning and spend quality time with the Lord! There are plenty of people who do just that, and I respect them greatly for it since it’s an area of struggle for myself. However, due to differing schedules, night shifts, study groups that go late into the evening, projects, kids, sickness, and various other factors, it doesn’t work out the same way for all of us. In fact, I don’t know how many of you will identify with me, but I’ve found that when I set unrealistic expectations for myself and can’t carry them out, I tend to get frustrated and give up trying because I feel like I’ve let God down.
Max Lucado apparently went through a similar struggle:
“About four days a week, I do pretty good at having a morning prayer time. But even at that, it’s a rambling sort of thing. What I have learned to do better is to try to keep my mind turned toward God and ear inclined toward God throughout the day, and I think I’m doing better at that, but I’ve got a long way to go.” | Max Lucado
I love his suggestion here. Instead of putting ourselves on a tight, strict schedule with spending time with the Lord, our devotion to Him should be something that carries out throughout the day! Yes, setting an “appointment” with God is a good thing, but in addition to that, we can talk to Him about the events of our day AS THEY HAPPEN. There’s no one else who spends every waking minute with you. There also isn’t anyone who could possibly understand your circumstances better – God sees and notices every detail of your life. Additionally, you couldn’t possibly have a better Friend to give you timely and wise advice.
As you grow in the Lord, you will also grow in your devotion to Him every day. I’ve found that over time and growth in my relationship with the Lord, even though waking up early is still a struggle, it has definitely gotten easier. And I do believe the same can happen in your life as well. But let’s also talk to Him throughout the day: involving Him in decisions, thanking Him when your dish comes out of the oven perfectly, asking Him for advice when your friends ask YOU for advice, etc.! He loves you, and He loves that He gets to spend every minute with you. Make sure you show that appreciation to Him as well!
“The Lord your God is with you; the mighty One will save you. He will rejoice over you. You will rest in his love; he will sing and be joyful about you.” | Zephaniah 3:17