Awake, O Sleeper!
This awful case of poison ivy has kept me itchy and awake a lot of the night. Combine that with my husband's congested snoring and you've got an idea of how yucky I've felt mid-day when the tiredness really starts to drag. All the routine chores and concerns seem so much more burdening when I'm already low on energy, which is why this little story starts with me in bed in the middle of the afternoon! I was reading Luke and came upon the last thing you want to read when you're about to nap the next few hours away:
Watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with the cares of this life, and that day [the Lord's coming] come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have the strengh to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man. (Luke 21:34-36).
So oddly enough, as I lay there trying to fall asleep, I was thinking about what it meant to stay awake. To "stay awake at all times." I was actually thinking about just the day before, and how after sleepily zoning out to Oklahoma! and a bowl of macaroni and cheese, God had put a nagging little conviction in me that brought on a whole set of thoughts.
On a small scale, distractedly tuning out for an afternoon.... But on a larger scale, not being in tune with the life happening around me. Because as silly as it sounds, the truth is that we've been waiting for years for our "real" lives to get here... just kind of patiently enduring all the surprises and changes and moves and not really wanting to realize how much time is actually passing by while we wait for something bigger.
I was left with two lingering thoughts. 1: Our life is happening right now. And 2: Stay awake at all times...
whatever that meant.
I had a good feeling this morning when I learned that our young adult minister was going to preach at church this morning, because his perspective is always so grand and encouraging and usually right in line with confirming whats been on my heart. So, suprise! Today was about waking up.
Basically, there is such a thing as a spirit of slumber. He talked about the modern addiction to technology and how often we are zoned out, indulging ourselves in whatever will capture our affections and attention. TV, movies, facebook, internet, whatever. We're pretty wary of it all, but even for us its a constant battle. But we keep each other accountable pretty well... my husband makes fun of me if I'm on facebook too much, and I won't ever let him get a Playstation. :) (But here's a horrible confession: when we recently discovered how to angle the antenna to get a new channel, we got reception for a bunch of shows we never get to watch. I counted up later and realized we watched SIX tv shows that night. In a row. Without even realizing it!)
But the spirit of slumber has obviously been a problem since the beginning of time, so theres got to be so much more to it than just the distractions of technology. God calls to his people in Isaiah 52 to "Awake, Awake O Zion!" and David cries back "My heart is steadfast...Awake, my glory!" and the verse in Luke about being awake at all times, and in Romans: "The hour has come for you to awake from sleep... The night is gone; the day is at hand."
On a deeper level, the spirit of slumber is enslavement to whatever it is that keeps us in chains. Drowsy, unaware, inefficient, unproductive, slumbering souls that haven't awoken to the real freedom of being in Christ. For me, it was the well-intentioned patience of waiting for God to use us for bigger things that was blinding me from the reality that life is happening right now. For me, its a call to wake up in the little things (daily avoidance of silly distractions that weigh down my heart) and to wake up to what God is doing right now, right here in this city, with us.
Even if it feels small, if we're faithful with a little he will entrust us with more.
"Awake, Awake, put on your strength O Zion; Put on your beautiful garments...Shake yourself from the dust and arise... loose the bonds from your neck, O captive daughter of Zion." Isaiah 52