On Eating and Sleeping

I read a blog post recently that said the worst opening sentence in a blog post was "Sorry I haven't posted for a while." If only you include it in a sentence, does it still count as the worst opening sentence?

Except I'm not sorry I haven't posted here for quite some time, because:
  • I've been posting here, and 
  • I've been thinking. 
I've been doing other things too, but thinking, and specifically thinking about what I do has been a big part of the last few months.

Around the end of every year, I take some time to look back and ask God to give me a report card. As a kid I liked report cards, even though there were usually a couple subjects that looked like the grades belonged on someone else's card and a snarky comment from a teacher (doesn't work up to potential). Yo, math teacher, I spent my whole adult working career doing math, take that. God doesn't make snarky comments when He gives you a report card, so I'm pretty specific in asking about all areas, even the hard ones.

Unlike the report card in your hand that gives you immediate answers to your status, God's report card takes a bit of time, at least for me. I have to sit around and wait, letting the Spirit bring to my remembrance the good, the bad and the ugly. Then I have to sit around and think about what I remember, pray about it, think about it some more, pray about it some more and eventually, agree with God about it all.

My God report cards are a lot like the ones we got in school, with an action plan at the bottom. This is the critical moment where my response dictates my future grade before I even begin.

                                                           Theological Disclaimer

I am well aware that the Bible does not teach that we earn brownie points by good works, good behavior or good report cards. Read on.

I want to know the ways I've been obedient, the ways I've quenched the Spirit, the ways I've represented Him well and the ways I've made Him wish I didn't have that big Jesus sticker on the back of my truck. I want to see the things that ensnared me, the things that moved me forward, the weights that slowed me and the unlocked doors I walked through. I want to see where His grace was sufficient and where I, having done all, stood. And, I want to know how to walk NOW. Here's what God says:

     Walk in the newness of life (Romans 6:4)
          Walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16)
               Walk worthy of the calling ( Ephesians 4:1)
                    Walk in love (Ephesians 5:2)
                         Walk as children of the light (Ephesians 5:8)
                              Walk in wisdom (Colossians 4:5) 
                                    Walk in truth (3 John 3) 
What does that look like in your life? 

When you take time to ask how you've been walking, and think about how God calls you to walk, you get a pretty good idea of your grade. A good grade causes me to respond in thanks, in humility knowing apart from Him, I can't get it right. A not so good grade shows me where to pay more attention, where I need focus, growth and again, humility. 

Last years report card showed some progress in an area I struggle in frequently, and that's in letting God be God. Sometimes I like His advice but I like my method more. But it also showed that there is still work to do, so in December He impressed this word into the soft soil of my heart: 

Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord  watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
 It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.
Psalm 127:1 &2 ESV

Have you been eating the bread of anxious toil? Have you been longing for sleep to come? 
No matter what you do, has it all felt, well, vain? 

What I plan, how I build, what I guard and watch, how long I work-unless the Lord is present in it, the planner of it, the power for it, it's all just

 Vain (def) having no real value: idle, worthless
Marked by futility or ineffectiveness

And we all have time and energy for that, right? Yeah, I think not. 

So this year, while I've been largely silent here, I've been thinking and building differently. Asking myself who is building has become a regular part of my prayers
and pondering, of my planning and pursuing and, I'm sleeping better for it. 

It's almost summer, a new season, and a good time to ask yourself about your diet and your sleep. Are you caught up in anxious toil, laying awake hungry for satisfaction and rest? Maybe it's time to fire yourself from the job of foreman, and let the Master take the lead. Because at the end of long, good day of work- 

 God gives rest to his loved ones.


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