Seeking God before seeking the snooze button

May 21, 2007 | 9 comments

I promise that I will eventually return to writing my own content instead of just linking to Mothers of Many Saints all the time. But Hope has a new post up that I thought was such a good point and just what I needed to hear today that I had to pass it on. She bases her post on this thought from St. Escriva:

Conquer yourself each day from the very first moment, getting up on the dot, at a set time, without granting a single minute to laziness. If with the help of God, you conquer yourself in the moment, you have accomplished a great deal for the rest of the day. It’s so discouraging to find yourself beaten in the first skirmish.

Another quote that I need to tattoo on my forehead. Anyway, Hope candidly goes on to write that she was not able to step up to her “heroic moment” this morning, and thus missed that first opportunity we all have to joyfully offer our day to God.

Even though I’ve technically been trying to live each moment of my days prayerfully in tune with God, it actually hadn’t occurred to me to start doing so first thing in the morning. To say that I’m not a morning person is the understatement of the year, and I always sort of think of it like the seeking of God’s will starts around 8:30, after I’ve been up a while and have had some sort of caffeinated beverage.

It makes so much sense, then, that I often have trouble feeling in tune with God for the rest of the day. When my first moments upon waking involve giving in to sloth and indulging in thoughts of self-pity, it can’t help but have an influence on the tone of the rest of the day.

So this gives me a lot to think about. Immediately, joyfully turning our thoughts to God…FIRST thing? Like right when the alarm goes off? Even if we feel as energetic and mentally alert as a wet sponge? I’m going to try it tomorrow. I am going to attempt to win that first skirmish, as St. Escriva describes it, and seek God even before I seek the snooze button. We’ll see how it goes. I’ll report back tomorrow.

=== UPDATE: Sloth 1, Me 0 ===

We had this really crazy night last night involving fire alarms randomly going off, scorpions, and my toddler waking up crying in the middle of the night to ask me who that man was who was looking in his window (just a bad dream, but creepy nonetheless).

When I first awoke, I actually did turn my thoughts to God. I thought, “Thank you God for this day. I’m going to get up in a sec, I’m just going to roll over and put this pillow here over my head for a minute while I pray…” and went back to sleep for 45 minutes. Niiiiice.

This is going to be a lot harder than I thought.


  1. melanieb

    This is one I find especially hard. I know it, have known it for a while; but I just can’t live it no matter how hard I try. I am so not a morning person.

    And it probably doesn’t help that the alarm clock is the baby. But if I were setting a clock, it would be about half an hour later than when she starts wailing.

    That said, this is one I’ve been trying to work on this week as well.

    Trying at least to not bite my husband’s head off, I think is a good start. Praying first thing… I’m working on it.

  2. beez

    In 2001, I found myself in a position where I had a 20 mile drive to work. If I went at 7:00, I would get to work at 8:00. If I left at 5:30, went to the gym and worked out for an hour, then went to work, I would arrive at 7:00. I saved a half an hour in the morning.

    Also, because I was getting to work at 7:00, I was able to leave at 4:00. I got home in half the time as well.

    I wasn’t a morning person at the time, but I decided to give it a try… I made a few changes in my routine to accomodate it.

    First, I moved my alarm clock out of arm’s reach. It sounds silly, but if you have to get up to hit the snooze, it loses it’s effectiveness.

    Second, I stopped closing the blinds/curtains in my room. (It helped that I made this change in the late summer/early fall when the sun rose at 6:00. Things were getting light at 5:30.)

    Third, I just said that I was “going to do it.” I had no real good excuse not to. (With DVR, I could even adjust my TV viewing to fit my new schedule and go to bed at 9:30).

    Today, six years later, I still rise at 5:15. The only difference is that I get to work at 6:00 – 6:15 and leave between 3:00 – 3:30. I watch less TV (I have very few free nights every week), but I can stay up until 10:00 and not feel remotely sleepy in the morning. (This, combined with exercise, has relieved my insomnia for the most part too!)

    So, this is a lengthy way of saying that a “night person” can become a “mornig person” with a little concerted effort. My younger brother still doesn’t think he could do it, but I just think he doesn’t want to.

  3. Catholic Mom

    Your post inspired my own here. Both St. Josemaria Escriva’s Opus Dei and St. Therese of Lisieux’s “little way” focus on making every aspect of our everyday lives an offering to God. It begins with how we get out of bed in the morning and continues from there. Thanks for the reminder.

  4. Peter

    You quoted “Conquer yourself each day from the very first moment” … and although it was implicit in the qote, I would add that victory must be maintained to the last moment of each day.

    Conquering myself is more than a skirmish, it is the entire battle. If I force myself to submit totally to God, as St Paul teaches, then what else in the day can defeat God?

    Jesus says, if you win everything, but lose that battle for your soul, you lose it all. But if you win that one, and it stays won, the battle is won. A soul submitted totally to God cannot lose. No matter what lesser skirmish seems lost during the day.

    Sorry to sound all military, I’ve just finished reading a ‘stand up and fight for what’s right’ kind of book. 😉

  5. Amber

    Ah, I’ve been struggling with this one! I was doing so well during Lent, but then I got sick right towards the end and just never got back on track. I’ve been trying the last week and I had mixed success last week, but I’m doing a little better this week. It is amazing how challenging it is to conquer that first moment, isn’t it!

  6. Theocoid

    I’ve found that I can do a very brief offering in the morning with a spiritual communion. Lectio requires me to be a bit more awake if it’s going to be at all productive.

  7. Jennifer F.

    Thank you all for your comments!

    Peter – what was the book you just read?

  8. SteveG

    Comment on Update:
    That is so par for the course. I have found that in the spiritual life, whenever I make some resolution to get into a good habit, unfailingly the moment the first opportunity arises, almost every obstacle imaginable is thrown in my path. Why is that? I have no idea, but I like to think that it’s God’s way of asking me if I am serious about my resolution or not. 😉

    With regards to morning victory, you probably know this already, but just in case you don’t. I have found that the easiest way to win this is to memorize one of the common traditional morning offering prayers, then resolve at the beginning to do no more than recite this (verbally or mentally) upon waking.

    At the beginning, this is much harder than one might think since at least in my case, my memory is not all that sharp upon waking. In any event, once you really get in the grove of doing this after a few weeks, it really gets easier and that first prayer (which is by then all memory) begins to serve as the match that can light the fire for the day. Not always of course, but it’s a start.

    My favorite is

    O Jesus,
    through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
    I offer You my prayers, works,
    joys and sufferings
    of this day for all the intentions
    of Your Sacred Heart,
    in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
    throughout the world,
    in reparation for my sins,
    for the intentions of all my relatives and friends,
    and in particular
    for the intentions of the Holy Father.

  9. Sarah

    OK, now I’m convicted! Great post! I love the way you reveal so much truth with such good humor. You’re a joy to read.

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