Are you a morning person? I mean one of those people who can’t wait to get out of bed to start singing or whistling? If the answer is yes, let me give you a heads up on something—you drive those of us who are not morning people crazy! While I am not necessarily grouchy in the morning, I am a woman of few words and would prefer those around me to follow suit. When I first awake, all I want is a cup of coffee and solitude. I don’t need to know what has happened in the world or what the weather will be like.
Unfortunately, I am married to a morning person who can’t wait to get his day started. But, desiring to be the total woman, I had tried not to make this a point of contention—that is until I noticed that as our girls got older they shared the same opinion of morning people that I had.
It all came to light after Waylon decided to take a sabbatical from his teaching position at the seminary and stay home to write a Hebrew grammar textbook. One morning shortly after his time off began, the girls and I were in the kitchen trying to eat our cereal in peace when Mr. Sunshine waltzed into the room. He was whistling and had turned on every TV he passed.
I looked at one of the girls—someone to commiserate with who like me longed for the good old days when dad used to leave for work in the morning as we were getting up. Commiserate she did, not with words but with a look. Without making a sound, she communicated, “Tell him!” I then turned to her sister and she concurred, “Yes, by all means, tell him!”
Knowing I had allies, I said, “So Waylon, you are going to be home on your sabbatical.”
“Yep, a whole year!” he said with glee.
“Oh dear,” I thought, “how will we ever survive this intrusion into our peaceful morning paradise?” Determined not to let the opportunity to deal with this issue slip away, I continued, “Well, if you are going to be home this YEAR, that means you are going to be on our turf, and the number one rule is you don’t get up getting happy all over everyone. We have five acres here, and you have a study. You have a choice. You can go outside with all God’s creatures and whistle and sing with them, or you can go into your study and be as happy as you want to be.”
I was on a roll, but before I finished expressing all my pent up emotions, Waylon interrupted and said, “Martha, you’re serious, aren’t you?”
“As a heart attack!” I replied without blinking an eye while glancing at the girls to make sure my support had not defected. “You are driving the girls and me crazy with all this morning chitchat!”
Even though it was obvious Waylon couldn’t completely understand our grievance, he was a repentant Tigger temporarily. Unfortunately it wasn’t long before he reverted to his usual Tigger personality—bouncing all over the place. Since it was apparent we weren’t going to change him, we decided to love him anyway—at least after nine a.m.!
In Philippians 4 when the apostle Paul said, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Paul was not saying we all should be Suzie Sunshine from the moment we wake. Rejoicing has nothing to do with whether you are a morning person or not. Let’s face it; some days just stink from the getgo. From the moment we wake it seems the day is already going downhill.
Do you know Paul’s circumstances when he penned those famous words? He was under house arrest in Rome knowing full well he was suffering unjustly for a crime he did not commit. Although he lived in hopes of being acquitted, he knew there was a great possibility he would spend the rest of his life incarcerated in a Roman prison.
So, what did Paul mean when he commanded his beloved friends at Philippi to rejoice? I think we find the answer in the next verse when he said, “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” You see, Paul knew that while he was a prisoner whose destiny was seemingly in the hands of a pagan government, his ultimate destiny was in the hands of a sovereign God. Not only that—his God was near.
When he awoke every morning Paul had the consolation of knowing the Lord was with him, and He wouldn’t ever have to face anything alone. He, just like Jeremiah who lived hundreds of years before, knew that, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your [His] faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3: 22-23)
So whether you’re a morning person and have gotten off to a bouncy start like Tigger or a slow starter like me I hope your day is a “10.” But even if it isn’t, I pray you’ll take heart in knowing the Lord is near. There is nothing you will face today you and the Lord can’t make it through together.
Dear Heavenly Father, we know You gave each one of us a unique personality. Some of us are naturally bubbly while others of us are not. We’re so thankful all of us can rejoice not because of who we are but because of who You are—Emmanuel—God With Us. Thank You for being our faithful God. We can always count on You to be near. “This is the day the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24 NKJV). In the Loving Name of Jesus, Amen.
From It Hurts but I’m Okay by Martha Bailey (Insight Press, 2012)
Scripture Reading: Philippians 4:4-9