“This is my Son, Whom I love. In Him I am well-pleased.” (God the Father)
How do you wake up each morning? Slowly, stunned and disoriented? In a panic, your heart racing? Do you set an alarm and jump out of bed or hit the snooze button over and over? Do your thoughts feel dull or does your mind immediately race to all that you have to accomplish? No matter how it happens, there seems to be a tiny window between being fully asleep and fully awake, those brief moments (or even seconds) when it’s somewhat in the middle of the two. Experts call it hypnopompia (which roughly means “to lead out of sleep”) or liminal space. It’s the precious time before you’ve accomplished anything.
To be honest, the very first thing I’ve done for a long time is reach for my phone. After all, the “EstherGizer Bunny” has much to achieve and I can check my emails, weather, social media, to-do list and FitBit sleep status right away (I actually have to sleep correctly too…what are we coming to?). I can start my day on the right foot, alert and organized. I can even check off some of those pressing tasks on my to-do list with my pillow still under my head. I have no time for this liminal space. It’s no wonder I wake up with heart racing and in a panic. Who wouldn’t?
Until about a month ago. I started to read Tish Harrison Warren’s book, Liturgy of the Ordinary. She speaks of these fleeting, fuzzy moments upon waking. “Whether we’re children or heads of state, we sit in our pajamas for a moment, yawning, with messy hair and bad breath, unproductive, groping toward the day.” We have yet to do anything. Who are we in those moments? Who am I in that space, without my never-ending to-do list and my hope to “get-‘er-done?”
Tish brings me back to the story of Jesus Himself. A gentle reminder. He lived 30 years as a regular guy in a regular town in a regular job. No one would say His life was earth-shattering. 10/11ths of His life on our spinning globe are barely recorded. Certainly not much of any import. And at the end of three decades and before his “big three years,” as He was being baptized, a simple dove flew over Him…DON’T MISS THIS…and the voice of His Father shouted words of APPROVAL over Him, “This is my Son, Whom I love. With Him, I am well-pleased.” This was all before what many would deem “world-changing.”
He was APPROVED of and loved before He ACCOMPLISHED anything.
This beautiful and hard-to-soak-in new idea is redeeming my hypnopompic time. I spoke with a friend who sets an alarm clock 20 minutes before the “real” one goes off so that she can spend that cozy, quiet space resting in the notion that she is completely loved and approved of by God before she earns anything. Amazing! It’s all the same for Jesus, my friend and FOR ME!
I am APPROVED of and loved before I ACCOMPLISH anything!
So tomorrow morning (and hopefully all the mornings after that…or at least more of them) before you get your head together, before you check your phone and respond to some urgent request, before you shower and primp, and before you head into your day’s activities where you will accomplish many things, take those fleeting, fuzzy moments (and hopefully I will too) receiving God’s unending and unchanging love and APPROVAL for you.
Soon enough, you will be about your morning. Brushing your teeth. Checking your phone. Helping loved ones out the door. Putting a load of endless laundry in. Heading off to your endeavors. Your day will be filled with all kinds of earning: your paycheck, your friends’ approval, your spot in the grocery store line, your promotion, even your own standards.
As we wake with messy hair and bad breath, let’s “lead ourselves out of sleep” with the gentle, loving approval God wants to pour over us as we start our day.
“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have placed my trust in you. Show me the way to go, for to you I entrust my life.” (Psalm 143:8)
From my heart to yours.
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