I have grown up waking up early. An early bird, my family would call me. I woke up before the sun rose most days. I woke up to pitch darkness, quietness, and stillness. No one else was awake at that time; I was the only moving object.
I started the day with God before practising the piano and then going to school. Reading the Bible and praying has become my habit and discipline for many years. Beginning the day with God has brought peace, stillness, and naively a sense of accomplishment.
However, this habit dissipated over the last few years as I started doing shift work. In addition to doing numerous night shifts, I was also studying towards a postgraduate diploma part-time. I was forced to leave home early or get home late for workand stay up late to finish assignments.
I constantly experienced tiredness and prioritised sleep over spending time with God in the early hours of the morning. I snoozed the alarm until the time that if I didn't get up, I would be late for the day.
Everything became rushed. The peace and stillness were gone.
And anxiety loomed.
The rush hour
It is easy to associate the brightness of day as work, and the early morning darkness as rest and stillness. After dawn, people are awake around me, whether at the workplace or on the bus to university. There was no solitude, no alone time with myself and God I so desperately needed.
The brightness of the day brings a sense of hurry and a“work but do not rest” mindset. Everyone is leaving their house at the same time bringing the motorway to a standstill. The rush hour has arrived.
We watch the streetlights turn off as the sun lights up the road. The trees wave and the clouds pass by at the very same graceful pace. We sit impatiently in the car waiting to move another inch forward. But suddenly another car cuts into our lane, and another car comes behind where we are.
How ironic that our hearts and minds are rushing while the cars areat a standstill.
The adrenaline is rushing as we peer for a gap in the lane adjacent to us. We successfully cut into the next lane. Accelerate, zoom into the gap, brake. The cycle repeats itself.
Our hearts are beating, and our minds are constantly searching for the next space.
Will I be late for work? Will I be able to find parking? Will my boss yell at me today? Will I leave work on time today? Will I have a full lunch break today?
All these questions we ask ourselves along the way.
We call it the rush hour, but this is our lives 24/7.
We are so busy rushing from our homes to our workplace. Then rushing from the office to meet the client while sneaking a lunch break in. We meet the motorwayat a standstill once again on our way to meet a friend for dinner, before finally getting home more exhausted than the day before.
The crashing waves
“Peace, be still!” (Mark chapter 4, verse 29)
Jesus said these exact words to the waves as the terrified discipleswatched yet another wave crashing over. The boat is filled with more and more water. It's evening and it's dark.
“Are we going to drown?” the disciples wonder.
The rushing hours of our lives are like this storm the disciples are facing.Furious waves of uncertainty, waves of self-doubt, and waves of immense pressure from others. These never-ending waves crash over us throughout the day, from morning till evening.
We cannot breathe, we cannot rest, and our hearts and minds are not still.
But Jesus speaks the same words to the waves around us.
“Peace, be still!”
God tells us through Psalm chapter 46, verse 10 to “cease striving and know that I am God”. This God is our refuge, our strength, our help, and our fortress. Not only is he all these things, but this God is with us and by our side all the time.
Like my time with God “before dawn”, seeking to know God brings that peace and stillness for our lives. We know the rush hour is coming, and we know our hearts and minds will be racing. So, we need to diligently begin the day with God, no matter if that is before or after dawn.
Knowing God is our priority.
Even during the rush hour, we need to know God. Knowing God relaxes our hearts and our minds as we realise who he truly is. The resulting peace and stillness give us a breath to praise him.
As we continue to know God in the rushing hours of the remaining day, we find apeace that comes undeniably from him.We will discover a stillness that removes every singlerushing hour from our hearts and minds as we watch our sovereign God calm the waves in us and around us.
Stephanie enjoys simple living, admiring nature’s beauty and intricacy, and playing the piano. She is particularly passionate about empowering the vulnerable. Writing is her way of processing thoughts and feelings to understand herself, God and the world in a deeper and more meaningful way.