5am Instincts







Not my favorite things. However, in the attempt to regain some strength and health after our bit of a scare after Maddie’s birth, I was at the gym at 5. I was on the treadmill and watching the dozen or so people in this venture with me. There were a few women my age, all on treadmills or ellipticals, a few college age boys working out with the weights.


And one older, white-haired man. He had that kind of glare when he looked at you…the kind where you are not sure he is actually glaring at you or just staring through you and thinking about something else. I kept glancing at him and at first was a little annoyed by his glare.


That was my 5am instinctual response. Annoyance.


Then I looked over and noticed that he had stopped working the machine he was on. He was just sitting there with his hands folded in front of him. He didn’t look to be in distress, but he was obviously lost in thought. I watched him as I walked and noticed that he sat likes this for one minute…another minute…another.


Then he wiped away a tear.


Then he shifted himself and began to work the machine again. And to glare.  Or maybe just stare through everyone.


I said a prayer for him as I walked. I wanted to walk by and place my hand on his shoulder, but I was afraid I would embarrass him or overstep the acceptable boundaries for the gym at 5am.


When I left I was bothered by my instinctual response of annoyance.


I have claimed to follow Christ for 20 years now. I was deeply sad that my instinctual response hadn’t changed all that much.


I left with a prayer for him, and a prayer for myself that I would be more motivated by the Spirit…more quick to think with compassion than annoyance. More quick to pray and to desire to help than to brush off.


Praying that my instinct would be over-ridden…..changed….transformed….to be like Christ.


10 thoughts on “5am Instincts

  1. Jenn says:

    My first reaction is selfishness. I have been struggling with this in my marriage. Robert can see it so clearly, I can’t hide it from him. It makes him question what I say and do. . .Does she really mean this? or is there a selfish motive hidden in there. I gave him a card the other day, apologizing for my selfishness and asking him to forgive me and after I wrote it I called and asked him to make me lunch. I am seriously selfish. Jesus has His work cut out for Him. I need a huge makeover in my heart


  2. sarahkwolfe says:

    Hey my friend.

    It sucks, doesn’t it. I know that the only way for change to occur is for me to spend serious time in the presence of God.

    We sang the following song at church on Sunday, and I wish I had a recording of that…however, you get the idea from the one I’m posting. The fact that if we are in the presence of the Holy God we are changed.


  3. Nova Kristin says:

    I can’t say that my response would have been any better at that hour of the morning.
    Thanks for being open and honest about it because now you have me thinking. Although being open and honest myself I very seriously doubt I will ever be anywhere beyond my bed at that hour 😉


  4. sarahkwolfe says:

    Kristin…I have to admit I didn’t make it this morning. If I can actually get into that routine it will be a miracle! I need it though…


  5. janysmurphy says:

    Hi this is Rob Murphy’s wife, Janys.
    I love reading your stuff. You are such a great writer with a sweet way with words that really touches my heart. Thank you!


  6. sarahkwolfe says:

    Hey Janys!! Thanks for your kind words!


  7. Reuben says:

    I spent about a year and a half working in an assisted living home. I remember like it was minutes ago when I had an experience like this while cleaning carpet. I spent over an hour talking with a very broken lady. It changed me.

    Glad your blogging!


  8. sarahkwolfe says:

    Hey Reuben…thanks for coming by! I can only imagine how tough it would be working in an assisted care home. There is so much loneliness..glad that that women was able to encounter you there!


  9. fme says:

    Great post, Sarah… now that I’m working full time, I am often shocked at my instinctual responses in the world and saddened that with only 4 hours of awake free time, most of it spent getting ready for work, going to work, coming home from work, cooking and cleaning up, that I don’t invest in time with the Lord. Ughhh…Lord, help me to be conformed to you.


    • sarahkwolfe says:

      Wow! I can imagine how frustrating it would be to have so little time….I sometimes have the opposite problem. I have so much “free” time that sometimes I get lazy or complacent with the time. I’ll look up and realize that the whole day has been spent on the computer (doing not-much) and it is time to pick the boys up from school. Then I get depressed and frustrated and irritable.

      I’ve always been a procrastinator and done better under pressure. I’m learning to have more discipline.

      Still…there is nothing like spending some time in the Word in the beginning of the day, and time listening and in quiet. I need to be more disciplined in that. I actually am hoping the 5 am workout will help…get me up and awake!

      Thanks for coming by!!!


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