Wait, What time is it?
One morning, upon waking up, I was bleary-eyed. (Because I suffer with ‘dry eyes’, I put eye ointment into both eyes before sleep that leads to a significant blurry condition in the morning.) I washed and dressed and went to eat breakfast and make my lunch and finally, wide awake, that’s when I saw the stove clock. It said, 4:44! In the words of Charlie Brown, ‘AAUGH!!! What? “I’m exhausted!” That’s funny, I wasn’t exhausted ten minutes ago when I thought it was 5:30 AM? Our minds play such funny tricks on us!
Why is it so scary to wake up really early and then fret that we won’t live through the day because of anticipated exhaustion?! Yes, fret over what will happen if I don’t get more sleep. Well, I was happy to be up and have time to prepare my meals; my breakfast and lunch, my back pack and have time in God’s word and more – all in the course of a morning. I was tired long around 3pm and after finishing a full day of work, went home, crawled into bed and had a lovely nap! And it was all worth it!
As I’m reading in Exodus right now, I noticed that over and over, Moses is told to “Rise early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh, and say to him, Thus says the Lord God of the Hebrews: “Let my people go, that they may serve me.”” (Ex. 8: 20, 9:13). In fact, the words, “Rise Early” is a common start to instructions presented by God.
Many of the early patriarchs and Prophets set an example to us:
1. Abraham Gen. 19:27, 21:14, 22:3 (Each of these texts begins, ” And Abraham rose early in the morning…”)
2. Jacob Gen.28:18
3. Moses “Cut two tablets of stone like the first. And he rose early in the morning and went up on Mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him and took in his hand, two tablets of stone. (Exodus 34:4 and 8:20,9:13, 24:4)
4. Joshua Josh. 3:1, 6:12, 7:16; 8:10
5. Gideon-Judg. 6:38
6. Hannah 1 Sam. 1:19
7. Samuel-1 Sam. 15:12
8. David-1 Sam, 17:20
9. Job 1:5
10. Mary-Luke 24:22; Mark 16:9; John 20:1
11. The apostles-Acts 5:21
God is the creator and inventor of the first alarm clock! “Back before alarm clocks jolted us awake to greet the morning with bleary-eyed confusion, roosters performed that daily duty. Now, a new study shows that roosters don’t need the light of a new day to know when it’s dawn—rather, their internal clocks alert them to the time. (Lee, Jane J.; National Geographic News, March 18, 2013) Takashi Yoshimura, who specializes in biological clocks at Nagoya University, reports that it is the internal biological clock of a rooster that sets it off to begin to vocalize! How interesting is that? Kristen Novara, a hormone specialist in poultry at the University of Georgia in Athens, said she isn’t sure why no one has taken a closer look at this phenomenon before.
Like her, I owned chickens and roosters years ago and noticed that the roosters would begin to crow long before dawn. I often wondered why that was; whether it was a circadian rhythm driven by an internal clock or an external cue- the sun coming up? It’s amazing that this study was not performed until 2013! All these years and no scientific study to determine: is it the light of dawn or is it something else that causes the rooster to crow? Well, now we know! Roosters have a biological clock, a circadian rhythm! It drives them to vocalize! Here are a bunch of different breeds of roosters doing their job and doing it well!
Throughout the ages, wise and learned people have said this about rising early:
“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” – Benjamin Franklin
“The sun has not caught me in bed in fifty years.” – Thomas Jefferson
“I never knew a man come to greatness or eminence who lay abed late in the morning.” – Johnathan Swift
“It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom.” – Aristotle
“And in the morning, a great while before day, He rose up and went out, and departed into a desert place, and there prayed.” (Mark 1:35) For me, I love the early morning hours. The air is fresh and clean and the world is quiet and it’s easier to think. I have always coveted the early hours of my day and have been reluctant to work any job that required me to give ‘them’ the best hours of my day, the early hours. I learned early as a nurse that I will not work the 7am shift. Those are the premium hours of the day and I’m just not willing to give those hours to anyone.
The Proverbs woman (Proverbs 31), “rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.” Proverbs 25:28 speaks to discipline and tells us, “a man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” It takes discipline and setting boundaries to rise early. I’ve had people ask me, how can I rise earlier? Of course, not everyone has a rooster in their back yard. I don’t have an alarm clock either! I use my phone clock and put the phone on airplane mode at night so that I shut down all incoming texts, emails and calls. Rising early begins by going to bed early and this is where the discipline comes in. Turn off the t.v., turn off the lights, turn off the phone.
Sleep hygiene is a subject all its own. The place where you sleep should be free of stress so work related materials should not enter the bedroom (a home office or anywhere else but not your bedroom). This is why there is no television in my bedroom. I still struggle not to use my iPad or computer to access YouTube in my bedroom. Here again, discipline is important and to a certain extent, obedience as it appears to me, time with God is an essential; more important than brushing my teeth! Rising early begins with early to bed/sleep.
“O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsts for thee, my flesh longs for thee in a dry and thirsty land. . .” Psalm 63:1 Father, thank you for the changes in me, for transforming me and redeeming me, as You alone can! Daily, I am growing closer to you and you cause me to obey Your leading and follow your ways.