The Colossal Battle Within, and Why I Refuse to Surrender

Hitting snooze on the alarm

The Colossal Battle Within, and Why I Refuse to Surrender


Every morning I face an intense battle, and I never know for sure who will come out on top.

The battle is an inner battle. It is a fight between the me that wants to get up an hour before my family and pray, and the me who has 800 reasons why this is a terrible idea and you should be reasonable and just go back to bed for crying out loud.

Getting up at the alarm was probably my biggest New Year’s resolution. I have come to believe that it is a must for my spiritual life, as the day just gets too busy to guarantee this dedicated time later. I need to talk and listen to God in the morning silence. I need to read from the Gospels and pray for the tasks of the upcoming day. I need to pray for my loved ones, and for the needs of the Church and the world.

I need to have this done and be awake and be relatively relaxed when it’s time to get the kids up, change the butts, feed the tummies and get things moving.

If I don’t do this, I know I will feel like I’m playing catch up for most of the rest of the day. I will feel like I’m flying solo, even though I will know in my mind that God is with me constantly offering grace for the duties of the day. I will feel like I’m grinding it out on my own, even though it is and is meant to be a team sport.

If I don’t do this, I know that I will be cheating God the opportunity to draw me deeper into love with him. I will be cheating him the time he requires to make me the saint he has made me to be (which is cheating myself, ultimately).

Knowing all this, why do I even hesitate to get up at the alarm?

I’m reading a novel right now by Graham Greene called The Man Within. Its protagonist, Francis Andrews, is an English liquor smuggler who turns on his shipmates, tipping off the authorities to a run they are making and himself fleeing as they are arrested. His reasons for doing so are that he feels that they don’t respect him. He is self-admittedly a coward, weak and incapable of heroism. Interiorly he battles constantly. His sees the person he wants to be, a man of valour and moral strength, but he faces internal accusation which tells him he will always be less. And so, he often succumbs to the things he hates, later accusing himself all the more.

“It is as though,” Andrews said slowly, "there were about six different people inside me. They all urge different things. I don’t know which is myself.”      

While not dealing with equivalent extremes to what Andrews endures, I can relate to this sentiment, this internal chaos at 6am. When I set the alarm I have clarity. When the alarm goes off, chaos. It is as though there are 6 different voices, 5 of them arguing for my staying in bed.

“Who else is up at this hour?”

“You’ll be in a better, more alert state to pray later.”

“You’re so groggy! The day will go better with some more rest."

“Maybe you’ll wake someone else up. Inconsiderate! Go back to bed."

“You’re still getting over a cold. Take it easy!”

“… but I asked God to help me rise and meet him in the morning…”

In the book, Andrews’ question is answered by the woman he falls in love with. Which man is himself?

"The one who left the knife and the one who stays here now.” (That is, the one who put himself at risk for her.)

The hero.

“But then, what of the others?”

“The devil,” she answered.

I pray for the grace to say yes to the alarm. It may seem like a very small thing, but the fact is, if we don’t give God the time to work on us, those other voices win. And they are never satisfied in winning only one battle…

What is your battle within right now? Please say a prayer that I will find strength each morning to win mine, and I will pray the same for yours.   

If I don’t do this, I know that I will be cheating God the opportunity to draw me deeper into love with him. — Josh Canning

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