Monday, June 12, 2017

Unrecognized Gift

So, about a week ago, I shared what God had been pressing on my heart about rest and sleep. I had finally reached a point (thanks to some very direct words by Rebekah Lyons) where I could no longer deny that I did not trust God with my time. I figured I had to be up early to get everything done and the demands of my body could be ignored. Clearly I know that logic is completely incorrect, but I'm stubborn and I was refusing to listen/obey.

So, I started on a journey at that time where I was setting my alarm for 1 hour and 20 minutes past the time I would normally get up. Yes, that still meant the alarm was going to go off at 4:00 AM, but I am pretty sure that slow changes work better, or at least that has been my experience so far in other areas. In choosing grace over perfection in this matter, if I woke up earlier than the alarm, I was just going to get up. Why? Because laying there trying to force sleep never works out well for me. If I'm up, I'm up, that's all there is to it.

Each day I made it a little farther than the night before. Still not quite the 4:00 AM mark, but I knew I was getting more sleep thanks to my fitbit tracker and so I considered that a sign of improvement. And when you factor in that I felt less stressed because I wasn't waking up to an annoying buzzer, that just seemed like the ultimate win, win. Plus I was still going to bed at roughly the same time, so I knew I was truly making some serious strides because I wasn't staying up late either to get more done.

Then this happened.

Last night we spent time with new friends at a birthday party for a friend of our son. We had an incredible evening of fellowship, laughter, talking, and getting to know some really lovely new people. While the night was supposed to wind up at 8:00, we were there just a tiny bit later, which got us home past my current bedtime. No big deal. But we had also been at the pool earlier and everyone needed to shower. That got me in bed, WAY past bedtime. It was tempting to set an alarm but I knew, that when my body had enough rest, I would wake up. And I did. And it was light outside. And I went into complete and utter panic mode. It was 5:20 AM

I would like to tell you that I calmed down quickly and accepted this gift of sleep from God as an enormous blessing. (It was afterall almost seven straight hours of sleep.) Sadly, that would be a complete lie. Instead it went more like this:

Quickly find note to know if husband needed up already or what time he wanted up. (I've been everyone's alarm clock for years so.....)
Grab clothes to get outside for walk before the sun is out and ablaze. (I am NOT walking at a time I would have to put on sunblock.)
Walk and then get back in to do regular workout.
Eat breakfast.
Start laundry.
Take very quick shower.
Get FIRST cup of coffee AFTER 9:00 AM
Straighten up.
Pray with husband and kids before husband leaves for work. (espeically that I would not remain edgy and out of sorts from my very abnormal start to the day)
Handle two phone calls.
FINALLY organize quiet time things at 11:00 AM 
Run quick errands before done with quiet time, come back to finish
Do not go to the pool.

I apologized to my husband while he was still home for being so grumpy. This is such a new thing for me and I knew it was going to be hard to adjust. But what upsets me the most is that God gave me this gift of sleep, and rather than thanking Him for it immediately, I was angry that I had been given it and accepted it, even if unconsciously.

Now, have I managed to get all the things done today that I wanted to do? No. Are some done much later than I thought they would be? Most definitely. Did I die? Obviously not. Am I okay with the rearrangement of my schedule and what He took off of my agenda? Absolutely.

It seems so unfair that I've been reading One Thousand Gifts, and for all the things I've learned in that book, this very practical application of giving thanks in what for me was a hard eucharisteo, I failed. Miserably. 

Sometimes obedience is hard. Not because we can't do the thing we've been asked to do, or because we don't want to, but because the results of doing it are so contrary to what we are used to getting. I am used to getting things done by a certain time. I am not used to feeling rested enough to still get them done and not be falling asleep while doing them. And while the latter should feel better, the first is my comfort zone. But a very wise mentor has taught me that growth doesn't happen in the comfort zone. Ever.

And so now I can give thanks to God for being merciful enough to begin teaching me these lessons during summer when I really don't need an alarm. And I can lift my hands to Him in praise for the sleep He gave to me, the one He loves. And I can learn to trust Him with His plans for my day, not just the agenda I had prepared. And maybe, just maybe, by the time summer winds down, I will be able to echo the sentiment of Elisabeth Elliot and say, I trust Him and will obey Him gladly. 

Father, You knew I needed sleep more than I needed to get up. And you know the reasons why you removed some of the things from my agenda for the day. And sometimes I need to remind myself just a little more frequently that Your ways and thoughts are way higher than mine. Lord, for so many of us it's a struggle to follow the way You lead, not so much where. Open the eyes of our heart to see where we need to yield more to Your direction and then help us to submit to Your plans. We want to do things Your way because we know it's best to live within the borders. We love You and praise You for Your great love. Amen.

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