5.4.07 from xgcw…don't go back to sleep!

i used to always say “ignorance is bliss”…i don’t believe it’s true, but i do sometimes wish my eyes hadn’t ever opened to the truth and reality of my life and crazy patterns and true need for God. life was so much easier when i was in denial! of course it wasn’t easier…it stunk, but when i was in denial, i definitely didn’t have to feel as much pain or be as aware of my “stuff” or my desperate need for Jesus’ real help and hope in my life.
honestly i was getting by pretty good in the christian world when i was faking it best!
when i talk to happy put together christians who say all the right godly things, i sometimes am jealous—why can’t i be satisfied with surfacey anymore? the truth is that i no longer have time in my life for pretense. i don’t want to talk about color swatches or the next great sermon someone watched on tv or the newest book on what prayer i need to pray to feel better. i want to talk about my real struggle to stay awake and live my life with my eyes and heart and head wide open, fully engaged instead of being half dead doing what other people think I am supposed to do because I am a christian wife and mother. i always come back to Jesus’ words in john 10–that he came to offer me life, real life, for the short time i am here on this earth…and to live means i have to keep my eyes open and not live in a world or church-induced haze.
to live means i must be willing to look at and accept all the good, all the bad, the beautiful parts of my life and the ugly ones, and not try to fake it. just bring my real, honest, messed up-but-in-the-game person into my relationship not just with others but with God and myself, too. a friend gave me this poem by rumi. he told me he had given it to a friend who needed to begin living her life after years of being closed off, afraid, and stuck. he gave her the poem along with a bottle of no-doze.
For years copying other people, I tried to know myself
from within I couldn’t decide what to do.
Unable to see, I heard my name called
and then I walked outside
the breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you
don’t go back to sleep.
you must ask for what you really want
don’t go back to sleep.
people are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
the door is round and open.
don’t go back to sleep.
don’t go back to sleep! keep a bottle of no-doze nearby if it helps you stay in this battle to live instead of exist (i don’t recommend taking them, though, they definitely are legal speed. i remember them from college!).
for so many of us, sleep would be easier—no rocking the boat, keep everyone happy, don’t need anything, kill off desire, stop dreaming, pretend that it’s all better than it really is, work so much we don’t have to feel. sleep is familiar. but i think God is calling all of us to wake up. a passage i love in isaiah 52:1-2 is translated beautifully in the message. notice the heading, too…it says:
God Is Leading You Out of Here
Wake up, wake up! Pull on your boots, Zion!
Dress up in your Sunday best, Jerusalem, holy city!
Those who want no part of God have been culled out. They won’t be coming along.
Brush off the dust and get to your feet, captive Jerusalem!
Throw off your chains, captive daughter of Zion!
i don’t want any more years to go by where i wasted them sleeping because I was afraid—afraid of people not liking me, afraid of people leaving me, afraid of getting hurt again, afraid of people getting mad at me. i am sick of being paralyzed by fear. this past week my son jamison and i were in a serious car accident. we are okay but i am typing this with one hand because my hand is in a splint! my life did pass before my eyes and i honestly thought, “maybe this is it…i may die or at least be seriously injured.” it reminded me—i could die soon, we all could. i don’t want the thief, the destroyer Jesus also speaks of in john 10 to rob me of life now by keeping me stuck in a coma, afraid to live out of fear. life is way too short and I’m pretty darn sure Jesus made us to live it, eyes wide open.
yes, it is harder. sleep protects us from feeling pain. but it also protects us from feeling life. i was thinking today of the several times Jesus said to the disciples in the gospels, why are you asleep? are you asleep again? we’re going to have to keep reminding each other—don’t go back to sleep!
don’t go back to egypt!

Kathy Escobar

Kathy Escobar is dedicated to creating safe and brave spaces for transformation and healing in real life, online, and outside. She co-pastors at The Refuge, a hub for healing community, social action, and creative collaboration in North Denver, co-directs #communityheals, a non-profit organization dedicated to making spaces for transformation accessible for all, and is the author of Practicing: Changing Yourself to Change the World, Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart and several other books.

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