What I Can Learn At 3:17 am

I have written about that frustrating experience of staring at the bedside clock at 3:17 am while your mind races in all sorts of random directions and you just cannot shut it down.

I’ve had some nights like that lately, and I think God’s shown me something. Personally, I’d rather learn my lessons at a more decent time of day, maybe 9:17 am with a cup of coffee.

But I think this lesson might be about trust and letting go of my need to maintain the illusion of control. As my friend Dick Foth says, “Trust happens in darkness.” There are many kinds of darkness, but perhaps this is a lesson best learned at 3:17 am since that’s when the questions arise and I’m most aware of the need.

It seems that most of my clock-staring thoughts fit into these buckets.

Most are simply Wasted Worry.

More than 90% of worry concerns events that won’t ever happen, already happened, or don’t matter. Less than 10% involves genuine concerns on which we might actually have some impact.

Many involve obsessing about issues I’ve already addressed.

I’ve prepared well, but God’s invited me on an adventure rather than a pre-scripted tour. Unexpected stuff will happen. There’ll be unanticipated blessings and challenges. It’s time to move forward and deal with what happens.

They’re nearly all self-centered.

As difficult as it is to accept, I’m not the center of the universe. In nearly every circumstance, it’s not about me!

ALL OF THEM remind me of my need to stay connected to God.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

I don’t talk and listen to God enough, especially in the darkness. I’m often too busy stumbling around trying to find my own exit strategy, and I forget to stop and lean on God.

I certainly don’t view prayer as the magic bullet that instantly fixes everything, but I believe C.S. Lewis was right: Prayer doesn’t change God, it changes me. And in the darkness at 3:17 am, I don’t need magic answers. I need peace and rest.

At 3:17 am, I need to be changed.

Do your own 3:17 am thoughts fall into these buckets? Are there others? Does talking to God really help? How?

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Copyright 2008-2012 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

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