Sometimes, the first thing I do when I come downstairs in the morning is apologize for sleeping “so late.” It is after 7:00am, I suppose.
I’m a night owl by design. My body’s ideal schedule would be sleeping from 1am-10am, like a teenager on a Saturday. I come by this desire naturally; it’s literally in my bones. My mom has been retired for almost three years now, and when I’m up putzing around (or watching Netflix) at midnight I know I can text her to chat because she’ll be awake. That late-night to late-morning schedule that my body longs for? My mom has it too, and she is owning it.
When my kids get up before 7, my husband tends to be the one to get up with them. I mean, sometimes “getting up with them” equals setting out cereal for them and turning on PBS, but still. He’s awake, and I am asleep. Or dozing at its finest, I should say. I hear my kids running like elephants and asking for a banana and enjoying their early morning. I just cannot seem to make my body DO anything about it. When I finally amble downstairs, almost fully awake, I walk in with guilt and apologies, and every time I do, my husband says, “Why are you sorry? We’re all good.” It’s both the epitome of grace and the best kind of real-life love.
Yet, even with “permission,” the guilt comes. It’s totally self-inflicted, and it’s due to the picture I’ve created in my head of what a “good mom” is:
Up before the sun.
Doing devotions at the counter.
Waiting for her kids to walk in.
Coffee made. Dressed. Ready. Smiling.
These things, I am not. You know what my six-year-old told me? He told me that before I have my coffee in the morning, I’m like a Bergen. From the movie Trolls. The grey, grumpy, cranky, snaggletoothed, snarly giants. So yeah, I’m not exactly on in the mornings.
But at 10:00 pm, I am ON. I write. I clean the toilets. I bake. I watch my current favorite binge-series on Netflix. I read. Basically, 10:00 pm is when I am one of the sparkly, singing, shiny, nice Trolls (the opposite of a Bergen, thankyouverymuch.) I rock the midnight oil and really, I’m not sorry about it.
My body’s interior clock does its own thing, and I don’t think it’s because God left it to chance. I think He instilled it into me on purpose, just like my eyes are blue and I can (and love to) sing and I’m right-handed and my empathy level is off the charts. Those are God-given traits I can cultivate but not fight. And since the good Lord made us by His design, hand-picking each and every bitty detail of who we are, isn’t that how we should deal with all of ourselves?
This isn’t about nature vs. nurture. This is about shedding the guilt for that which makes us who we are because who we are is His and nothing about us surprises Him.
He is not surprised that I can’t function before 7 am. He is not surprised that I wrote most of my books with James Taylor as my soundtrack. He is not surprised that sometimes I also write while listening to terrible 90’s rap. He is not surprised by my tendency towards selfishness. He is not surprised when I procrastinate. He is not surprised when I get overwhelmed, when I cry at the drop of a hat, when I get silly with my family. He’s not surprised by anything I do, because He wired me Himself.
Does He have other feelings about my actions and personality and choices? I bet He does. But surprise? Nope. And when I confess my propensity to feel guilty, He cups my face in His hands and gently says, “Why are you sorry? They’re all good. And so are you.”
Tomorrow, when I stumble down the stairs around 7:30 to an already bustling kitchen and lean into my husbands open arms, instead of I’m sorry, I’m going to go with Thank you. I’m going to whisper thanks to the One who made me a late sleeper, too.
God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear or self-deprecation; rather, He’s instilled in each of us gratitude. Let’s practice honing our appreciation instead of our guilt, and stop apologizing for who we are. ‘Cause, gals, we’re His — internal clocks, questionable music choices, selfish ways and all — and there’s nothing to apologize for about that.