Wake Up Call, part 1

I’m awake and up before The Cowboy has gone to bed. It’s 1:21 a.m. and too darn early. I went to bed at 10, but I’m wide awake now. I’m afraid I’m getting weird. Unbalanced.

And while I really love getting a jump on my day, I’m also afraid I’m getting pulled out of sync with the rest of the world, who’s mostly awake when the sun’s up, not the moon.  It sounds silly to write that, considering that I’m checking in with you, the one who put the sun and moon in place and never sleeps.

But really?

Up until now, my early rising has felt like you were waking me up to hang out. Now it’s beginning to feel like I have a sleep problem, and that I’m only imagining you’re waking me up. And I wonder, have I also invented all these words from you that I’ve been writing down and all of mine back to you?

I love to sleep. I’ve been a sleep monger all my life.  But losing sleep tonight isn’t what’s bothering me. 

What’s bothering me is that I’m afraid I’ve made it up that you’re waking me up. And I’m afraid I’m only imagining that my time in the morning with my Bible and this journal is actually time spent with you.  I’m afraid that I’ve really just got a sleep disorder, not a special connection with the God-of-the-Universe.

But these conversations that I write down–or maybe they’re more like a one-sided dialogue–I’m not sure what to call what goes on when I read my Bible and write down what comes to mind.  But whatever it is, there’s all this joy that comes flooding in with the words.  And there’s instruction that I don’t already know. And the seeing. I’m seeing stuff, God. And there’s confessing.

Am I inventing all that?

It’s raining outside. You know how I love the rain, especially when it’s dark. Did you get me up to hear it? I’ve got coffee now and time. And I’m wide awake. Here’s my Bible and pen. Whether or not you’re calling me awake, or I’m just experiencing interrupted sleep, well, if I’m deluded, it’s a happy delusion. This is the most fun I know how to have.

Thank you for being here with me now, even if the reason I’m up has more to do with hormones than your wake up call. Take my eyes off the clock and off of me and put them onto you. Open your words to me, no matter what time it is.

I open my One Year Bible, and Hebrews 11:6 jumps right off the page:

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

Maybe it shouldn’t surprise me, but it does. On the morning I’m most struggling with fear of being weird–today of all days–I’m given this chapter to read in Hebrews where I find words about what faith is, about it being required for seeking you, and about how I must also believe that you reward me for doing it.

Coincidence?

I mean, I believe you exist. I look at birth, at life, at the creation. No question. And I believe you reward me for seeking you–for reading your words and talking to you. I think I’m already experiencing some rewards. Over and over, I’m given exactly the words I need for a particular day and often, on what feels to me like a crisis day–a day of Especially Heightened Need.

Can it be just coincidence that I’m up super early this morning, that the dogs-of-doubt are snarling, and these words about faith and seeking you just happen to come along, about how faith is at the core of seeking you?

This feels like a benevolent set up.

I’ve been afraid for a little while now that my seeking you was becoming a problem, that I was secretly proud and was depending on my seeking as the thing that connects me to you.

But the first ten chapters of Hebrews that I’ve just slogged through have been about how it’s Jesus’ work, not mine, that makes it possible for me, an ordinary grandmother-without-a-paying-job, to come to you, the God-of-the-Angel-Armies, first thing in the morning.

Just that alone is so wonderful, it strains my ability to believe. But since you say it, I do. At least, I want to believe it.

I guess I’m afraid I’m getting out of bed and getting coffee and feeling pumped to be with you, but that really, you’re not here. I’m afraid that I need to believe you’re here to survive my less-than-picture-perfect life, and so maybe I’ve invented the idea of your waking me up to hang out.

But I couldn’t have dreamed you up. You’re so much bigger and better than any God I could imagine. Besides, I’m just reading your words to know you better, aren’t I? I’m not making those up.

It really threw me how early it was this morning.  Like, have I gone off the sleep-deep end? Surely you’re not calling me to miss most of a night’s sleep?

And I wondered if I was seeing behind the Wizard of Oz’s curtain. Was I the one pushing buttons and pulling levers the way he did? Was there really no Wizard who woos me awake?

My take away today from Hebrews is how important my faith is in seeking you: I can’t come to you without it, which I guess makes sense when I think about it. I can’t seek someone I don’t believe exists. And I have to believe that you reward me for doing it, that you pour out the good stuff. You know better than I do what that is.

But I’m feeling a little crisis today, discovering how weak my faith is, how it’s been rocked simply by an early wake up call. Maybe that should have built my faith in you. But it didn’t. 

Even now, when I peek into the Holy Place in my mind’s eye, I’m seeing an empty room. Or maybe it’s just that I’m afraid there’s an empty room. But my theology tells me you haven’t left me. Give me eyes to see you there. Forgive my doubt.

I don’t have to be afraid of life without you because your word promises me that I am always with you, no matter where I go, Ps 139. Restoring relationship with you is what Jesus’ life and death and resurrection were all about. He said he would be with me “until the end of the age,” Mt 28:20. I want to believe him.

But I’m still wonky, and I don’t feel right. Maybe I’m depending too much on how I’m feeling and not enough on what I know.

Pour out your Spirit, Abba; fill me up. I’m unable to grab hold of you today–or any day on my own, come to think of it.

Help me to believe that you’re holding onto me, even when I can’t hold back.

“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you,” Psalm 9:10-11.

Formerly posted as “The Room,” February, 2020.

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