The Trouble with Beauty Sleep

September 19, 2011 | 26 comments

Is this why it’s called beauty sleep? Because this is what I do: I sleep straight through beauty.

My Maker has gone to the effort of decorating the world outside my front door — hanging fog like ornaments, painting masterpiece skies, adorning each small leaf with morning dew.  Yet, all I see are the insides of my eyelids.

The world trumpets God’s beauty, and I am asleep.

Even when I awake, I wonder, do I really see it? Or am I seeing the world through half-closed eyes?

The other morning, before the girls woke up, I set the alarm one hour early. I wanted to see a September morning. To really see it.

I grabbed the Nikon and slipped out the door, into a world still wrapped in a duvet of darkness. I traced country roads; gravel kicking up dust and crackling underneath.

I watched the miracle: the Earth waking up, the sun pushing back the covers — a simple act done every day in the most extraordinary way.

And it is done in complete silence. This gigantic ball called Earth is hurtling through the galaxy. Spinning, spinning. Yet it makes not a sound.  

“… God’s great wheels revolve without noise or friction: all the Divine work is simply, easily, and beautifully managed.”
— Charles Spurgeon  

And when I am asleep — or not fully awake — I miss beauty, rolled out silently  in the God Gallery. Here’s what I’ve been missing:


“I always open mine (eyes) as wide as ever I can,
because I think I can see God
in all the works of his hands,
and what God has taken the trouble to make
I think I ought to take the trouble to look at.”
— Charles Spurgeon

Writing in community with Jen and Michelle today.

by | September 19, 2011 | 26 comments


  1. Patricia (Pollywog Creek)

    Beautiful! Just beautiful.

    And those Spurgeon quotes? Couldn’t be more perfect.

    I caught a burnt orange sunrise this week, too. What a mighty God we serve.

    • dukeslee

      Did you post your photo, Patricia? I’ll have to come over and see. … I was really groping and grasping for a way to capture the true beauty of a September morning in Iowa.

      I’m not skilled enough with this big camera to know what I’m doing. But to see it in real life? Could I really fully capture the beauty anyway?

  2. Megan Willome

    This is part of why I get up at 5 a.m. every morning. For a little while–like, until 7–everything is perfect.

  3. Ruthiey

    This is beautiful, Jennifer! I don’t always go outside right away but I love the quiet of the mornings. When I bike to work early, depending on the season, I catch the beginning, middle or glorious end of a sunrise. I loved your take on this – missing the beauty because of sleep. 🙂

  4. Shaunie Friday

    Something so special about those Iowa sunrises where the horizon sits low and the sky stretches wide!! Beautiful!!

  5. floyd

    Beautiful words and beautiful pictures. Thanks for the reminder to stop and smell His creation of the earth and roses.
    The universe declares His majesty…

  6. Dionna

    I have always loved farmland. Beautiful pictures.

  7. Lyla Lindquist

    That last one? Convinces me you’ve got this thing figured out — the camera and the beauty.

    I’m not persuaded you sleep through all of it.

  8. Stacy

    I loved this. A week ago my husband and I drove to our nearby mountains at 2:00 am to slip in among the elk and listen to their symphony of bugles and “love calls”. It was amazing! (I wrote about it here: ) and to think, we would have missed it all for some “beauty rest”. Honestly, I felt more rested for having taken it God’s beauty!

    Beautiful photos and I loved the verses by Spurgeon.
    Thanks for blessing my day!

  9. Eileen

    Love the Spurgeon quotes! And your pictures are stunning. I am a morning person and have always loved the peaceful beauty of morning time!

  10. Linda

    Absolutely spectacular Jennifer! It is true. There is so much that we miss if we are not intentional about really seeing.

  11. Diana Trautwein

    Such glory! I am most definitely not a morning person, but for a short stint (about 7 years) I ran a floral business out of my home and had to travel to downtown LA to visit the flower market one morning a week. And I always enjoyed the quieter roads, the rising sun, and then the hustle and bustle of the mart, where vendors never sleep. I wrote about the mornings here in Santa Barbara here: But I must be honest and say – I don’t often make it up to see these wonders. I blame it on my genes. :>)

    • Lyla Lindquist

      But Diana, doesn’t the sun come up later in California?

  12. Nancy Kourmoulis

    Ahh, seems I only chase sunsets. Perhaps I should try chasing a sunrise with eyes wide open. Your pictures are amazing.

  13. Melody

    Makes me want to rise early to capture a NC version of this beautifulness, if that’s a word. Loved this post!

  14. Stephani

    I so agree with this. It reminds me a lot of the last post I made on my blog, pictures of the sunrise included! Beautiful shots!

  15. Brandee

    You inspire, too.

    I hate mornings, but these breathtaking photos and words make me want to roll out of bed early. And seek Him.

    We will be good friends.

  16. Amy Sullivan

    And now you have me wondering about the beauty I miss when I am sleeping, Jennifer.

  17. Greg Gilbert

    Loved this article. I also love to see the world wake up. I drove into my pasture at sunrise one morning and wrote these lyrics to a song:
    God, I love what you’ve done with the place. I know you see the joy on my face. Don’t need a decorator, you are the great creator, God I love what you’ve done with the place.

    Thank you for this. We need reminders.
    Greg Gilbert

  18. Jennifer Ferguson

    This summer, desperate for quiet time, I would get up before dawn, take my tea and Bible outside, and greet the sun. A few times, I took my camera out with me and caught some beautiful rays from the sun.

    Just recently, I’ve been thinking about the abundance of today, the abundance we receive every day, but so often miss.

    So glad you linked up this week, Jennifer. You are a blessing to the SDG community.

  19. Pamela

    So talented with a camera. I think we could spend a lifetime seeing God’s beauty and not cover it all. I need to start setting my alarm an hour earlier.

  20. S. Etole

    Rejoicing that you didn’t sleep through this beauty!

  21. Mari

    Such a beautiful post. A challenge I think to myself to “really see”. Love this: “What God has taken the trouble to make I think I ought to take the trouble to look at.” =)

  22. Michelle DeRusha

    So beautiful, Jennifer. I particularly cherish this time of year, knowing frigid winter and too much time indoors is right behind.

  23. Jason Stasyszen

    This just makes me happy. I think you touch on something important. Sleep is necessary and Scripture even tells us he grants sleep to those He loves. The real danger is in not fully waking up. We’re missing some of His best work! Thanks Jennifer.

  24. Sherry

    Your pictures are very beautiful.

    The work of His hands is one of my favorite things that bring me to Him in worship. Nothing sings the creativity and beauty of God more than a sunrise or a butterfly flitting across the back yard.

    Great post! 🙂


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