The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned. (Isaiah 50:4)
I've gone through phases of how and why I wake up early. In my present phase, it is frequently the case that I get up because the Lord teaches me things through the night in my sleep, and I have somehow come to the point that when he teaches me something I recognize as particularly valuable, I force myself out of sleep with the message still on my mind. This morning, I woke up at 2am because he was using the analogy of an ambassador to a country to teach me about how information flows through his kingdom. It is very difficult to preserve these messages in useful form, because they are given in a form very different than what our bodies use, and they evaporate quickly. Typically, I will get one golden sentence per morning of sleep lost. And to me, that is more than worth it.
Once I am up, I am up, because I know something of the value of the next few hours I will spend. The sleep is worthless in comparison, even if it is extremely important and valuable to what happens after 9am.
I can only call the early morning time "getting lost in the glory of God."
When you mitigate the radiation of the world as much as you can in life through waking up early, being alone, and being completely undistracted by lesser things, the only influence that remains is you and God. To the extent you live you life so that your character does not impede him, you can easily and fully bask in his glory to the extend you have come to know him. The depth and intensity of the feelings you experience and the thoughts that enter into your mind exceed the limitations of human words in content, volume, and depth.
When in this state, you long to be with him even more than you are. Your greatest desire is for the present moment not to end. But it must end, and you know that. Your ability to do what needs doing during this time will depend in large part on how well you can ignore that fact, even though it is the most unpleasant thought you've ever experienced.
Even when you succeed in clearing that hurdle, the more difficult one is to stand with one foot on the land, on the solid ground of order provided by the limitations in the human words you conceptualize and write, and one foot in the sea, immersed in the unbounded chaos where your spirit operates free from the confinement of these limitations. Your soul is the bridge, and the flow back and forth as you refuse the extreme urge to let go of one or the other is the most intense thing a person can experience in this life. The only thing I can compare it to is running as fast as you can--so fast you cannot breathe fast enough to replenish your oxygen. This doesn't compare, but it is as close as I can describe. And you do this not just for seconds, or minutes, but for hours. Day, after day, after day.
The light that flows through you changes you. It grows you into more than you were. It chisels away parts of what was there before. It has to. That's what light does; it cannot flow without changing what it flows through and shines on.
To me, the experience each morning with the Lord is much like the Lord taking Peter, James, and John to the mount with him. It's a place I can't imagine anyone understanding who doesn't go there, and the Lord has taught me on several occasions how careful I need to be in bringing others with me. He told me he would have to bring down that experience to the readiness of anyone I brought, so I try really hard not to do that.
I try really hard not to publish anything I write in the early mornings without reviewing it over time. I try to reread it in the evenings, when I am so tired that I have eyes that are more able to see how others will see and hear things (or rather not see and not hear things). Sometimes, the content that the world is not ready for is rewritten to be more processable to current capabilities. Often, it is punted to a book for later publication (and more refinement). Sometimes, I just save it and forget about it until a much later time, when the situation has changed or my perspective has changed. I created a 2+ hour presentation yesterday that falls into this category. Sometimes, I just delete it. I recently deleted a 2+ hour presentation I produced earlier this month.
But sometimes I do publish things in the mornings. And I'm going to do so right now, as it has everything to do with the topic at hand--getting lost in the glory of God.
Moving towards God is the greatest of contradictions. Not in the sense of being logically impossible, but in terms of the greatest stretching between opposing experiences. Every step you take towards God requires at least one step away from all that is here, and then somehow does not necessarily make you feel like you are one step closer to God, as every step towards him results in learning more about him and yourself (and the world, too). You end up less like the world, but also realize you are less like God than you thought. And this seems to go on forever, even though it doesn't.
One unavoidable effect of all of this is that you go from disappointment to disappointment, as the value of what you thought was valuable turns to ashes in your mouth, and though the value of what you seek increases, so does the apparent distance between you and it.
Another related unavoidable effect is that as this happens, you approach the point where nothing in your life is good enough, and yet you know that anything else would be far worse. I have never heard anyone describe progress toward God this way, but I can't think of anything more accurate that could be said.
I could provide endless specific examples, but I need to get back to the reasons I woke up. Suffice it to say that in every facet of my experience, no matter how broad or narrow, this pattern has manifested itself.