Wednesday, December 21, 2011

You Shall Have No Other Gods Before Me

I had no idea sleep could be a god.

There's nothing like losing a thing to make you realize how much importance you had placed on it. *side note - I threw away my scale yesterday. Already I feel the loss. I think another post about my misuse of that tool will be coming soon* But back to sleep. Or rather, a lack there of.  I have a new baby. He eats frequently. Since I am breastfeeding him I chose to wake up every time he eats.

Wow, just writing this post is revealing that my view of sleep is not yet fully refined. I started typing, "I have to wake up every time he eats." But I realized I don't HAVE to do anything. I really am choosing to wake up every two to three hours. I could switch him to formula.  But I don't want to. What I really want is to be able to breastfeed my son but still get 8-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.

Not happening.

The first couple of weeks of frequent waking left me tired. The subsequent ones left me cranky, impatient, selfish, joyless and ungrateful. Not pretty.

God used a woman I've never met to show me the filth in my heart. Early on in this sleep-deprived season she mentioned that Jesus is the One Who interrupts her plans for rest.  If God is sovereign (which He is) then He is the one that coordinates it so that my three year old wakes up five minutes after my two month old falls asleep. God is allowing my sleepless state.

A little over a year ago I formed a definition of idolatry that I saw working out in some one's life: An idol is anything you use as an excuse to disobey God.

It wasn't until I read Lindsay's testimony that mentioned sleep being an idol that the dots connected for me.

I'm tired, it takes me a little while.

Using Lindsay's springboard of possibility and my definition, I decided to test myself. Is sleep an idol in my life? Remember the state of my heart: cranky, impatient, selfish, joyless and ungrateful. I forgot to mention anger and self-pity. Those were pretty prevalent, also. Here's how my heart fared compared to Scripture -

Cranky: Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)

Impatient: Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Colossians 3:12)

Selfish: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves (Philippians 2:3)

Joyless: Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.(Romans 12:12)

Ungrateful: give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Anger: Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. (Ephesians 4:31)

Self-pity: For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. (Romans 12:3)

Hmmm. . . Not doing so well at following those commands. And they are commands. At least in English. I haven't taken the time to research the Greek to see if each verb is in the imperative form. (I've got kids.)

And none of those commands list exceptions. They don't say obey God unless you're tired. Neither do they say obey God unless someone has been mean to you. Or if you're stressed, or you were victimized, or anything else. God's expectations for His children are for each season of life and each interaction. There aren't ever times given when it is okay to have an icky heart.

I know this post is getting really long, but I do want to add the warning that I had in my own heart about not wanting to abuse my body.
Very true.
Very biblical.
Very much not the extreme I am in danger of swinging toward.

I have long recognized the importance of sleep toward maintaining my health. All aspects of my person hood - mind, body & spirit - are impacted by receiving adequate slumber. This is by no means a recommendation to mistreat yourself. Rest is important. It's just not more important than God. And not getting enough during a (truly short) season of my life is not a valid reason to disobey.

I shall have no other gods before Him.

copyright (c) Elizabeth, Bug's Beef. All rights reserved.

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