My plan was to get 7 hours of sleep. Uninterrupted. Well, that's usually my plan. But I don't remember the last time I closed my eyes at night and slept until my phone alarm went off in the morning (you are thinking, "why even set an alarm?").
Typically another alarm...a sweet baby cry...breaks my REM sleep. Leaving a blurry brain, dark rings under my eyes, and the zipper stuck on my "grumpy pants" (no matter how hard I've tried to shake 'em off they won't budge).
Sleep deprivation is a form of torture in some countries. I read once that sleep is necessary to break down proteins that build up in your brain. When you don't get enough sleep those proteins interrupt the ability of your brain to function normally. For me the proteins make me grumpy. Really. really. grumpy.
On this night I stumbled out of bed once at midnight for a date with baby Knox. Then around 4 a.m. I heard Watts' cries because of a nightmare. He only needed a kiss & a pat, but those required me getting out of bed...again.
I had just pulled the cold sheets over my weary body and settled into the body-shaped indention of my sleep number bed, when my 5:30 a.m. alarm went off. How can an hour & a half seem like only a few minutes?
Multiple thoughts enter my mind in one quick second: "Do I really need to get up? Maybe I can just sleep for 15 more minutes? What good is 15 more minutes if I'm already awake? This next hour is the only time I have today without kids needing me, I don't want to waste it sleeping. If I don't spend time with God, then I'm going to be even more of a grouch."
My fingers fumbled to turn off the alarm as my legs carried me out of the bedroom and towards the stairs. Using my phone as a flashlight, I glanced down to see this on the lit screen:
I'm not even kidding.
As I walked down stairs toward the light of my office, I was looking at this picture of Jesus walking upstairs towards a light.
The two words at the bottom of the screen confirmed I made the right decision to wake up that morning: "Follow Me."
"Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me." Luke 9:23
My morning ritual varies slightly. Often I open the email on my phone and read the portion of scripture our church sends out (called "Read, Listen, Respond").
On this particular day the passage was John 21. In these verses, Jesus has resurrected. The disciples are fishing when Jesus appears to them on the shore. Near the end of the passage Jesus is having a chat with Peter. Here are His words I read on my phone that morning:
- Do you love Me?
- Feed my sheep.
- Shepherd my sheep.
- Feed my sheep (yes a second time)
THEN Jesus says, "Follow Me" (seriously).
I almost fell out of my seat. Two times that morning this same message appeared on my iPhone screen. Two words: follow & Me.
I'm also reading the "She Reads Truth" YouVersion reading plans on my phone. The Scripture for that day was Psalm 118.
"When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord;
he brought me into a spacious place.
The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?
The Lord is with me; he is my helper.
I look in triumph on my enemies.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in humans.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in princes...
I was pushed back and about to fall,
but the Lord helped me.
The Lord is my strength and my defense;
he has become my salvation...
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, his love endures forever."
The God who calls me to "follow" stays with me, by. my. side. Most human leaders don't walk by your side as you follow them.
But God is not a "normal" leader. When He asks me to follow He also gives me strength to do so. He protects me. He delivers me (out of my grumpy pants).
Thank goodness He is good & His love endures forever. No matter how long my grumpy pants stay on, His love for me never ends. He is worthy to follow because ultimately He is good.
Finally after two weeks of being "stuck" I'm squeezing out of grumpy pants and claiming:
"THIS is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice & be glad in it." Psalm 118:24
Have you ever been "stuck" in a bad mood? Then you get madder because you can't stop being in a bad mood? What have you done to break free?
linking up with Emily Freeman's Tuesdays Unwrapped