I’m not sure when it began, but somewhere along the journey, I fell deep asleep. Truly, not in every area of life–for I am sure there were times when I was effective and useful in God’s kingdom. But even with the best of intentions, I know now that I was sleeping.
Really, who can tell when they are asleep? I have had a few times when I have dreamt and knew I was sleeping. But that is such a rarity. It’s almost like the poppy field in The Wizard of Oz. One day I was living wide awake and the next I was sleeping.
Then in a half-dazed state, I began to wake up. And I needed to wake up! For my family? They need me. God has set appointments for me each day–will I see them and show up? I must. As a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, I know that He has a purpose for me–and it’s not to plod along or spin my wheels or drift in neutral, it is to live my life for Him wide awake!
But my light had dimmed…through many circumstances, which were painful and hard. Truly I wish there had been something to take to numb the pain. But I couldn’t numb it. Sometimes, I think taking the next step was all I could do. In the process of slogging through the mud of life, I believe that there were areas in my life that were fast asleep.
My devotion to God had waned–yet, my discipline in the Word continued. Physically, I was not thinking about the effects on my body that came from my own sleep-walking state. Emotionally, I was holding fast to ought to’s and should’s and stuck in an impossible situation–so I was guilt-ridden. Mentally, I could barely do the next thing, so all the other things and lists and to-do’s just had no room to be completed. Reactively, I lived–in a walking state of dozing. I had become Rip Van Winkle. Then one day, I felt the Lord prompt my heart towards something new.
“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19
A way? Oh yes, He did! He began to teach me. Seeing as I needed to be awakened from my coma-like state, He gently began to counsel me and show me the state of my very own union. Wonderful Counselor, indeed He is! He also began to show me the lies I held fast to…
“He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, ‘Is there not a lie in my right hand?’
Remember these things, O Jacob, and Israel, for you are my servant; I formed you; you are my servant; O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me.” Isaiah 44:19-21
I was holding many lies in my right hand. And the lies were holding my hands bound in chains. You may wonder what those lies were and I will share a few.
One lie I held to was a commitment to holding relationships together that I could not in my own strength, ability, will or power hold together. It consumed my mind. How? How and what? But the problem with this lie was that it is also a cultural norm. How could I not have this in a good place? Everyone else does and should and ought to. The second I released this lie–nearly two years ago–I began to wake up. Hold loosely to the things of this world. Like grass and flowers, they all fade. Only One stands forever. And He is the faithful One, and I know holds my heart for this great loss.
Another lie I held to is one I believe many in our country struggle with…if I choose to consume this particular food, there is a cost. Like our own financial journey of bankruptcy, we have learned that if we want something, we must earn it and then spend for it. Not the other way around–cart before the horse spending! A better way is to earn it, then decide if the thing we are consuming is really worth the work of it. For about 8 months now, I have been leading with exercise and eating right, then every once in awhile, I may have that wonderful and rich serving (not two or ten!) of scalloped potatoes. I am finding freedom in health!
A final lie I will share is this, the way others perceive me is like a crank on my life. I want them to like me. I want them to see me. I want for them to edify me. Like a marionette puppet, I performed for the applause. And it was empty. Again, the cart before the horse. Let me tell you, I have found that in our consumer society, we have lost our individual giftings and purposed outpourings in the name of acceptance and affirmation.
Come to the place where you can truly say, “Yes, I am weird. Yes, I am different. Yes, sometimes I am too much and not enough. But I am who God made me to be…and He is still making me. He thinks I am beautiful and wonderful and delightful. And so, I am.” Walk in Whose you are and in who God created you to be. Stop looking at things that say the world is affirming you and turn your eyes upon Jesus.
‘Cause you know? He thinks you are worth His very life. You are. He does. Now wake up and walk!
“for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, ‘Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’ ” Ephesians 5:14