I’m up early this morning. Extra early. The kind of early that hurts.
My eyes are full of sandpaper, but my mind is running all-out sprints, like it’s on an episode of Supermarket Sweep and trying to get to the diapers and “grind your own coffee” aisle faster than anyone else.
It’s like those moments in college when you wake up and on the way to the bathroom bump into a friend who never went to bed the night before. It feels like my mind’s been up drinking Mountain Dew and eating Whatchamacallits and writing Analysis of Lit papers all night, just waiting for morning to crack open the sky so the rest of the world would wake up and join it.
But it can’t be reasoned with. So I go ahead, get on up and make a cup of tea.
When I’m not exhausted, I love the early hours. Jesus is there. His Word is loud in the mornings when the house is quiet and my soul is quiet.
But it’s still hard to hear if my brain is causing a ruckus all its own.
I switch on the lamp and sink into the chair. I need this. I do every day, but especially today. I’m in a season of crazy. Work’s been so busy this month that carving out time to sit with Jesus has taken incredible effort and discipline. Some days, even with effort, it doesn’t happen. Some days it costs sleep when sleep is small and precious. Some weeks it means I’m sleeping next to an unfolded pile of clean laundry for nights on end.
But that laundry not getting folded doesn’t cause my soul to fray at the edges.
Not getting enough Jesus does.
So in that regard, I’m grateful I’m up early.
But even wide awake in the 4 a.m. silence, getting my soul to quiet down today is like wrestling a toddler to sit still in church. It doesn’t need to be running up and down the pews, drawing on things, making noise. It doesn’t need to be running over grocery lists and scheduled meetings and stories that need writing and espresso beverages that need making in the next 18 hours.
What it needs is to be still.
But in that moment, it won’t listen when I tell it that that’s for later — right now it’s time to be quiet. Because you won’t make it through the day without it.
I rub my gritty eyes and sit in the silence, staring at the words I want to soak past the cloud of thoughts and into my heart. I read the words of 1 Peter aloud, over and over to my wildly running mind.
“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
Action is definitely a concept my brain gets. It’s had its running shoes on all night. All month. Like a boss, if it can say so. Commute to work, commute to second job, buy groceries, get gas, make lunch, lay out clothes, pack bags, sleep, repeat insanity.
But I’m not sure that’s what Peter’s talking about. The Word is loud on that point.
Prepared for action. Sober-minded, not just cranking out thoughts. My mind is to be disciplined just like my schedule — a weapon locked and loaded to make every moment count, but not running wildly in the moments where preparation is more important than action.
Like I make my schedule sit still, I have to make my mind sit still, too.
I have to trade the chaos of a toddler for the discipline of a soldier, a mind hopped up on Mountain Dew for a mind locked on the hope of Christ.
That’s not easy.
But Jesus never said it would be easy.
He just told us He would give us all of Himself if we give Him all of ourselves — our mind, our soul, our strength.
So practically that means I have to call upon His strength to sit my heart still. I have to do what it takes to settle my spirit on God. I read verses over and over aloud, soaking them in, emphasizing their words to my heart. I journal out what those words are asking me to do when I get up in a few minutes, put on my shoes and let my mind start running.
And as I sit in the car in the parking lot of my job preparing myself for the next thing, I pray for God to instill those words in my heart, in my day. That, as Peter said, I would honor others more than myself. That I would show love to everyone. That I would be prepared to give an answer for the hope that I have. That with my conduct, I could win those I live among even without a word.
And that more than anything, I would live with a mind set on the One who gave everything so that I could live as those who are free.
I think sometimes we have a tendency to live like having a mind set on God makes everything weighty and serious. And in a way, that’s true. It’s eternal hope we’re dealing with.
But in reality, fixing our minds soberly on God in every detail of our day releases our anxieties into His hands and gives us freedom.
Freedom from being ruled by the tasks of the day.
Freedom from living like I’m in survival mode.
Freedom from the world.
Freedom, because what can man do to me when I have everything in God?
So this morning, I breathe.
Be sober, Grace.
Know where your hope is fully found.
Think like it. Live like it.
And carry that still certainty in your heart all day long.
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