Reversing the wrong side of the bed.
There's something to this wrong side of the bed thing. Even hopeful, optimistic, positive, morning people---what my grandmother used to call bright-eyed and bush tailed people---can wake up in a bad mood. This is especially true in our stressed to the max culture of anonymity, mobility, and velocity. Of our many emotional triggers lack of sleep afflicts somewhere in the neighborhood of 30% of our adult population. Let's round that off to approximately 42.5 million of us. Waking up on the wrong side of the bed may be the catalytic converter of relational dysfunction in our culture. Just as surely, it many be one of the factors in the low opinion polls of Christians and church life in the USA right now. Christians wake up on the wrong side of the bed too.
Interlude: A few weeks ago I stopped at Starbucks for a cup of Komodo Dragon
after teaching two classes at Charleston Southern University. I was wearing my
CSU Faculty/Staff ID. It is usually removed so I don't bring a bad name on the university
when I'm cussing and partying. Just kidding. Anyway, the place was packed. After
wandering around and looking old and pitiful, a young man motioned for me to join him.
He was thirty-ish plus, dressed in shirt and tie, and enjoying something more elegant
than my plain Komodo Dragon in a here cup. We talked. He saw my CSU ID and asked
what i did at the school. When i told him he was pretty nonchalant. After some small
talk he told me about his wife and child and then said that they had attended a couple
of churches. Then he asked, "are all Christians so negative?" He then said that he was a
marketing officer for a local company and worked with a mostly Christian, church going
employee cohort. He added that Monday morning was the worst day of his work week
because evidently all Christians wake on the wrong side of the bed on Mondays. It was a
revealing conversation. I'm glad I wasn't barking that morning.
Honestly, the direction of this conversation carried my mind to Scripture and reminded me of our Lord's early morning devotions. Yes, i know Jesus didn't metaphorically wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Still, in forty-four years of marriage and thirty-five years of pastoral leadership I can affirm the shift in directions that an early morning look up can bring to us humans affected by waking on the wrong side. Mark and Luke both mentioned his disciplined prayer and devotion time---
And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a
desolate place, and there he prayed.
Mark 1:35, ESV
But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray. Luke 5:16, ESV
Under some kind of compulsion I did a word search and discovered that many great people in the Bible did many great Kingdom things early in the morning. Perhaps the early morning hours are times to let God refresh us after a hard night, right us when we wake on the wrong side, and prepare us for what is ahead in the new day. There's plenty of biblical encouragement to BRIGHTEN UP a day after waking on the wrong side by looking up in those early hours, even for a moment.
Thirty-five years ago a dear older saint in our first church gave me a verse. It was framed on the wall facing my desk in every church office I was privileged to occupy. It's so old hat some people may just let it pass. But, it still communicates something truthful and real about this hard life---
We mutter and stutter
We fume and we spurt.
We mumble and grumble
Our feelings get hurt.
We can't understand things
Our vision grows dim,
When all that we need
Is a moment with Him.
Reversing the wrong side of the bed is just having a moment with Him. Early in the morning has always worked best for me. It's what makes everything right when it starts wrong----even on the wrong side of the bed.
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