Saturday, September 9, 2017

Wake Up!

by Candace Cortez

It amazes me how God has made so many people unique and different and the same all at the same time. I am also surprised that for many people, He has given them the gift of morning love. I do not have this gift. I loathe all mornings. I am productive in the morning because I have to be. I am awake in the morning literally only because I have children and a job. If I had total freedom to choose, my day would start at 10am (which is like the cool uncle version of mornings). For me, waking up is daily battle number one.

As I was struggling to claim my joy and my victory over this morning, I remembered Ephesians 5:14 which reads “Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you."

There are many verses of scripture that liken being asleep to being dead. This is not a physical situation, it’s definitely a spiritual situation.

Pop culture has gotten hold of this concept and there is a word buzzing around which is used to identify someone who is socially aware and sensitive to what’s going on in the community. This word is “woke.” Like, “that person is woke, they volunteer in the neighborhood every week.” (Consider this the first edition of your friendly youth pastor slang training!)

Although it is not a word I use personally, I do believe some of us struggle to wake up more than others. Here are a few of the struggles. And they are real.

Waking up is hard because we are comfy where we are sleeping. Sometimes the idea of getting out of our cozy blankets and stepping into the cold seems so uninviting. The same can be said spiritually and socially. We are comfy where we are. We are not being challenged and we like that. Yes, we know there is more out there, but we don’t really care, because here right in front of us is so good. Do not let complacency be the death of you!

Waking up is hard because once I wake up, I have to do so much! Staying in my bed means I don’t have to worry about making lunches, going to work, or even picking out the outfit of the day! For some of us, we have this glimpse of what’s going on in the world: racism, poverty, corruption, injustice, natural disasters, and we think to ourselves, that’s just too much to try to figure out. There is too much to do. This is actually true. There is too much to do for one person. Luckily, you are not alone. We all need to wake up and work together to help each other get to a better place socially. And spiritually, sometimes we lose the joy of spiritual disciplines. Sometimes we are not carrying the natural desire to pray, and study, and share our faith, because the work is never done. But God is calling us to not put our faith to sleep! Be active in growing and sharing. The fruit of being alive in Christ is SO WORTH IT!

Waking up is hard because I didn’t set my alarm. Sometimes I am blessed with a morning to not need to set my alarm. I still wake up earlier than I would like, but I very rarely wake up as early as I would if I were to set my alarm. We need social and spiritual alarms in place in our life to wake us up when we fall asleep. I find the best alarms in honest friendships. People in my life who can let me know when I have grown too comfortable or too afraid to progress. We can also find alarms in exposure to new experiences. If we push ourselves out of our routines to see the world and to see God from a new perspective, we may have a greater chance of responding to the needs of our community and the call of God on our hearts. 

So, WAKE UP! Do not be dead to the one who made you and the planet He put you on! In the process, God will shine on you! Don’t miss out on the blessing of living your life totally awake.

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