Finding Peace in the Chaotic Mornings
When the alarm sounds at 5:00 a.m., I so very much want to get up.
I have vowed that today is the day I’m starting my morning quiet time.
But, my flesh gets the best of me and I roll back over, fading off into dreamland once more.
The next thing I know, my husband is gently shaking me and I have half an hour to get ready for work and get the kids ready for school. The day gets started at breakneck speed and my stress hormones are sky-high before the clock strikes eight.
I am thrust into the day before my heart feels ready. I try to salvage my good intentions with some prayer time during the morning commute. But traffic is so heavy I find myself teetering between anger and despair as I pick my way through the chaos.
Seeing the Unseen
Some mornings go better than others. This is not one of those. On days like this I am easily caught up in the busy-ness of life. If I am not deliberate about it—if I don’t start with Him—the entire day goes by with only a slight thought of God. As the sun goes down I am left holding only emptiness. I find myself longing for words, yearning for His intimate conversation.
If only I had kept my morning quiet time—perhaps then I would be able to cope better. But I didn’t. And the truth is … this happens sometimes. I try not to be legalistic and browbeat myself when it does. I know I am beloved no matter what. But I also know I am the one who is blessed when I carve out quiet time with God. When I am neglectful of that precious gift, my entire day is thrown off balance. And I have to find a way to salvage my peace.
Brother Lawrence calls it practicing the presence of God. Frank Laubach says, … I really do believe all thought can be conversations with Thee. Richard Foster speaks of the Shekinah of God—the radiance of God dwelling in the midst of his people.
I think of it as seeing the unseen; for I know He is always with me, sometimes my weak eyes just fail to see Him.
It takes vigilance to go about my day with the awareness of Jesus beside me. Seeing the unseen does not come naturally. There are many times when the noise of this world steals my attention. But along the way, I've learned some ways back. Here are some practical ideas that help me maintain a sense of peace:
- Do something. In the morning I light a candle. I carry it with me from room to room as I prepare for the day. In the middle of my hectic morning routine, all I need do is steal a glance at the candle, or smell its sweet scent, and I am reminded that I am not alone. This is something I can do if I have a little time or a lot. It takes only a small effort but the benefits are tremendous. Get creative and personal when choosing your action. Playing music, journaling, even bird watching—any number of things can symbolize readiness to receive Him for that day.
- Say something. I make a habit of acknowledging Him, verbally or mentally throughout the day. You are here with me, Lord, is all I need say. This simple recognition of his presence often leads to elaborate conversations as I go about my work. When I invite him into the details of my life, this is when he becomes my confidante and friend.
- Wear something. I carry something with me throughout the day that reminds me that He is there. One visible reminder that I use is a favorite necklace. Each time I touch my neck, or glance in the mirror, I am reminded that He walks with me. It is something seen, that directs my attention to the unseen. There are many things that can help remind us of God’s continual presence. My youngest son has a stuffed animal that he shares his prayers with. Some carry scripture cards. I have a friend who likes to carry a small stone in his pocket. He is able to reach in and rub his thumb across the stone all day long. The stone symbolizes many attributes of Jesus to him.
- Fill your space with something. I try to fill my home and my work place with reminders of Him. In my laundry room, for instance, I have painted scripture around the top border. I have a good friend who has adorned one wall of her office with a collection of beautiful crosses.
Carry Him with You
These tangible reminders are not necessary to enter into His presence. I do not need rituals or relics to make my time with God acceptable. But because of my weaknesses, these things help me to see the unseen. They simply lead me to Him.
It is good to maintain a quiet time with God. But some days it just doesn’t happen. Take Him with you into every minute of your day. Every little action you do can be a prayer if you will it so.
Carry Him with you wherever you go. Even into rush hour traffic.
Questions for personal reflection, online discussion, or small groups:
- What is one action you can do to help you find peace on chaotic mornings?
- What can you practice saying that will remind you that you are not alone in the midst of chaos?
- Think of something you can carry with you to remind you that Christ is with you. What is it?
- How can you decorate your space to remind you of God’s presence?
- For more on the topic of experiencing God, read “Working in the Image and the Presence” and “Transitioning Into a Ministry of Presence.”
Photograph: "Returns" by Kelly Langer Sauer, used with permission.