karen’s attitude adjustment, part 1,897,532

Posted: October 15, 2015 in Uncategorized

Three weeks after G and I were married, he took a really awful job.  I had expected that he might be MONTHS looking for work after moving here from Chicago and we were situated such that we could afford that time.  He had never gone so much as a day between jobs, and was over-the-top freaked out by the end of two weeks without work.  So he jumped on the opportunity to take the awful job.  Men tend to base their identity and worth on working, and that seemed to be the case for him.  (In the past, I have thought this was a BAD thing, but thinking it through further, I’d rather have a man who is this driven to work than someone who would lay out of work for months without caring or trying to remedy it, you know?)

The job started at 6 AM, except for the overtime days, in which it started at 4 AM.  There were a lot of overtime days.

I had asked God for many years to give me a man who was devoted to God, someone who prayed for real, someone who could do the difficult task of leading me in these things.  The standard of what I was asking for was so high and I have so rarely witnessed it that I felt I was really asking for something I couldn’t have.  Still, I asked.  And so He honored the request and gave me G.  The result of this was that on the 4 AM start days, in order to keep our mutual commitment to morning devotionals and prayer together, we had to wake at 2:15 AM to start our days.  This was not a “maybe or maybe not” thing for us – it was set in concrete.  We just did what was necessary (which is why when couples say how much they wish they could do devotionals and prayer together in the morning but there just isn’t time, I don’t get it.  I mean…do you want it or not?  Set the alarm earlier!)

I didn’t like waking at 2:15.  I am not a morning person.  I feel sick to my stomach when I rise at 2:15.  I would go back to bed at 4 when I returned home from driving him to work, but the schedule was hard.  That, added to the other facts that made the job a really awful one all meant I was enormously relieved when he got hired on at the same place where I work.

The new job was another weird schedule – he started at 11 AM and got done at 7:30.  I didn’t love how late he worked at night, but it was easy to be grateful for the change away from rising at 2:15 and having a perpetually exhausted, discouraged, and somewhat anxious husband.  The change meant we just had to work around MY mornings, so we got to sleep all the way in to 4:30 AM, which would still allow us prolonged cuddle/quality time together before rising, and for devotionals over breakfast and then prayer together after we were both dressed and ready for work.  So even though the evening part of the schedule made any evening social life basically impossible, our mornings were a treasure trove of marital wonder, and it all evened out enough to be quite comfortable and good.

Recently, he changed positions in-house.  First, he was starting at 9 AM.  I felt like we had finally reached the absolute ideal schedule – time for all our morning stuff and even his workout before work, but he got home only an hour after me, so evenings weren’t shot.  I just loved that schedule.  I thought it was the permanent schedule.  I was kind of blissed out about it.

But this week and next, he starts at 5 AM.  What you have to understand here is that starting at 5 AM was his desire, wish, and goal all along.  His favorite time to start work is 5 AM.  I do not understand this in the least, but it’s how he rolls.  So he’s been excited and happy about it.  We have no idea what the permanent schedule will look like – not sure if he’s being cross-trained to work on a flexible basis or what the deal is.  But he’d be very happy if it stayed on the 5 AM start.

I, on the other hand, have not been excited about the 5 AM start.  It steals our morning cuddles.  It means he has to get up at 3:15 to get ready, and I need to rise at 4 in order to catch devotionals and prayer with him before I drive him to work (we choose to share one car, so there is always that dynamic).  I haven’t wanted to be out of bed, sitting up, with lights turned on and such at 4 AM.  I’ve done it, because the commitment to nurturing our spiritual life together is solid.  But inside I have for sure been whining, wondering why we can’t just stick with the 9 AM start, even while I’ve been celebrating for him that he gets to start at 5 like he likes.

I don’t like having a bad attitude, and if anything is going to push me into the dilemma of a bad attitude that is owning me, it’s probably going to be related to my sleep schedule or my other rigid expectations about how certain things should go.  From the get-go on this 5 AM thing, I’ve been asking God to change my attitude, or at least to show me the “handle I can grab” to start moving it in a better direction.

Yesterday, He showed me that handle and it changed everything.  He’s just good like that.

Here’s the thing:  for YEARS the earliest hours of the morning were my writing time.  Like, maybe for a decade or more.  It was my habit to crawl out of bed and (in the dark and quiet) go straight to the old giant desktop computer we had at the time, and just get on and start writing.  I write best early in the morning.  The clutter of the day isn’t junking up my brain.  The lessons and gifts from yesterday are clear and present in my thoughts and I can just grab them and write as fast as I can, without stopping to struggle for words.  Later in the day my writing is a much slower and more laborious process.

Which is why, I suppose, getting married has been darn hard on my writing.  I pushed aside the writing for the higher priority (when I was on my own, the writing was A PART of my prayer and devotional time, but me sitting at a keyboard is no way to share that time with G, you know?) My writing has had to be squeezed into other parts of the day that are less conducive to easily flowing words, and often I have found myself just too tired or distracted or generally confuddled to even bother writing at all. And I’ve really, really missed writing.  I am a writer.  I NEED to write.

So yesterday, God exploded this realization into my little stubborn and resistant brain:  the 5 AM schedule means I can be writing every morning at 5 once again, as soon as I return from driving G to work, with a whole uninterrupted hour available, should I somehow need that long!

Oh.  My.  GOSH!!!

It wasn’t until that blinding revelation that I understood just how much of my 4 AM dilemma has been resistance and bad attitude.  I CAN think in the morning, if I write best then.  I just generally only want to think in a writing way, not in a sitting up and interacting way.  That was very convicting (but happily, when God convicts, He never condemns…so I felt the “ouch” of seeing my sucky attitude, but seeing it was the most freeing and healing thing possible.)

So.  I find myself in the unexpected position of hoping fervently that the 5 AM schedule for G sticks.  I am SO READY to get back to writing daily.  I’m hungry for it.  I was happy to get up at 4 today and do the thing with G, knowing gleefully that I was also going to get all that goodness AND writing time, to boot.  That’s quite a basket of goodies.  I feel like a kid at Christmas.  This is a good gift indeed.

At least for the next 10 days or so, I’ll get to jump back into it.  We’ll see what the permanent schedule does.  And whatever it is, it will be good.  It’s such a free place to live, knowing that it will be good.

Ain’t He a great attitude adjuster?!

(Aaaand I wrote this in 21 minutes…ahhhh it feels good to be back!)

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