“Grrr. This morning routine takes forever!”
I’m settling back into a new term, trying once more to find a rhythm that lets me prioritize the things to which I’m called. And I’m coming face to face again with just how long it takes me to get from waking to working. There’s the lying in bed with my Bible waiting for medication to kick in before setting feet on the floor. Then the salt drink to fill up my blood vessels and keep my blood pressure up. The trip to the gym or the run on the seawall—skip this and the light-headedness quickly puts me back in bed. Stretching, and, lately, doing the exercises for a shoulder that’s not behaving. Shower. Breakfast. Drying my hair. And finally, three hours later, I’m settling at my desk with my blue pottery mug of lemon-ginger tea and my laptop.
Often I enjoy the routine—the stretching of stiff muscles, the morning fog lifting from the water, the moments for my heart to rest while my body awakens—but that morning I was frustrated. I’d risen early, eager to make some progress on my book, and still it seemed that the morning was half-gone before I was getting down to it.
And then I remembered. The question. The one I’ve been asked so many times. “I wonder what Jesus might think about this?” I pray again the prayer that my spiritual director prayed the last time we met: “Jesus, help us to see what you see.”
I feel like I’ve been floundering around in the fog and fuzz, unable to find my glasses, and someone has just handed them to me.
I see that my morning routine has a lot to do with faithfulness—that word that I’m borrowing from Holley Gerth as my focus word for this year. I love the way she describes faithfulness: “Doing what is needed to take good care of what is entrusted to you.” My body, my soul, my ministry—that morning routine is foundational to all of these, a way to bring my whole self before God and pray with body and soul.
A memory pushes its way to the surface, a conversation I had with God four or five years ago as I was dragging myself the few blocks to the gym on a windy winter morning, wondering if it was worth the effort. If I was worth the effort. I sensed God say, “If you can’t do it out of love for yourself, will you do it out of love for me?” I can race (or drag) through the morning routine, resenting it, or I can offer each moment as a love-gift to the One who cares about this body, this self, that He has entrusted to me.
And then the surprise: “Oh! This morning routine is a gift from You to me too!” For so many years I’ve wrestled to receive His love, to believe it. I’ve lived as though my work for God mattered more to Him than I did. And now He has stitched into the workings of my body a sort of love-tattoo, an every-morning reminder I can’t ignore: “You are far more important to me than the work you do for me.”
Somehow it seems Jesus isn’t in the same hurry I am to race through the routine. It’s another place for Him to love me. And for me to love Him back.