"Awake my soul!"
Sleep is a natural, needed activity. In fact, it is also quite pleasureable. When we sleep, we are fully relaxed. Physiologically, balance is restored. Mentally, we dream and rest from the stress of reality. Studies have shown that the human mind needs a significant amount of "dream sleep" in order to have normal functioning while awake. Its as if sleep is God's way of preparing for the day or repairing us from the previous day.
Yet, as pleasant as sleep is, it is a tool to equip us to experience the reality of life. It is a means towards living fully and expectantly in the moment. When we are fully rested, we are able to be fully present to the people and the tasks that are ahead of us. Interestingly, we need times of being completely oblivious to those around us, so that we have enough energy to be fully present to them. Warren Wiersbe states "If you do not come apart for yourself, you will simply come apart".
Sleep is often used to describe the state of our souls when they are inattentive to the realities around us. In this state, our souls are alive, but not living. The Psalmist cries out to God to "Awake my soul" as he realizes that we have a tendency for soul sleep. Here are a couple signs of soul sleep:
1. You are not connecting with anyone. We were designed by God for connection. Pastor Randy Frazee used the words "Crowded Loneliness" to describe the feeling of being with people, but not connecting with anyone. Sleeping souls go through life being with people, but never connecting with anyone in a meaningful, lasting manner.
2. You dream but never act. Sleeping is characterized by dreaming with inactivity (except for the occasional sleep walker). Souls that are asleep dream of excitement, achievement, and connection but never act upon it. They are lives of unfulfilled expectation. Proverbs 13:12 says "Hope Deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is the tree of life". Lives in continuous soul sleep are often in despair.
3. You are not aware of what others, including God are doing. During sleep, our minds and bodies are focusing on self. When our souls are asleep, we can not understand what others are going through or what God is trying to do. We live lives in a vaccum. Jesus asked his disciples to stay alert during his last few hours. They needed to be attentive to what God was doing and the risks around them, but they preferred sleep.
So, how do you arouse from soul sleep? It is the discipline of learning to be completely present to others. It is the refusal to chose fantasy over reality. It is learning to experience the best of God, and others by being fully present to them. Luke 9:32 states that only when the disciples of Jesus were fully awake, could they comprehend the "Glory" of God. Its is only when we are fully awakened that we can choose to live in the moment and in the presence of God that we are truly awake. This comes when we humbly ask God to open our eyes to see.
Sometimes, we sleep walk. We go through the motions of living, but we are not responsive to the people or God of life. That is movement, but not living.
Make a point today of joining the psalmist in asking God to awaken your soul to see His Glory, and to be fully present with in life and love today.
I pray that your eyes will be opened to see the profound love that God has for you and the deepest sense of connection with others that God has placed in your journey.
May God bless you,
Pastor M Traylor