How to Start Your Day by Going to Sleep

This morning I woke up and realised some thing was different.

While I was sleeping somebody came in and cleaned the house, sorted the washing, and even … took out the rubbish.

Well, it felt like that.

Nobody did that, but I am open to volunteers.

What would it be like if that happened to you. Ok you might be a little freaked out but if it was all done with your best intentions in mind wouldn’t it be incredible?

Yet this morning I did wake and wonder what God had got up to, on my behalf, while I slept. I woke with a sense of excitement and the invitation to the adventure of the new day.

‘I wonder what those three – Spirit, Jesus and Father have prepared for me this day, what ‘cunning plan ma lord’ have they cooked up’

You see my day started when I put my head on the chest hair of Christ and went off to sleep listening to the rhythm of his heart of love for me.

My day started in a place of stillness, surrender, and absolute rest in knowing that I am cared for.

Now I don’t know if Jesus had chest hair, but I do know that my earthly father did. I have wonderful peaceful memories of sitting on his lap as a young boy and snuggling into the flannelette shirts he wore.

I would climb up on his lap and sit there knowing everything was going to be ok. After a while I would put my head on his chest and drift gently off to sleep listening to the deep rhythm of the heart.

Favourite bible story and character for me has to be John, known as the one who laid his head on the chest of Christ.

I wonder if the other disciples were jealous of this, but such was the secure relationship John had with Jesus he was able to ‘boldly go where no one had gone before’.

Your day ends with summary and thankfulness, then begins again with rest and presence.

This rhythm of night and day began its pattern when God created all things.

1-2 First this: God created the Heavens and Earth—all you see, all you don’t see. Earth was a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness. God’s Spirit brooded like a bird above the watery abyss.

3-5 God spoke: “Light!”
And light appeared.
God saw that light was good
and separated light from dark.
God named the light Day,
he named the dark Night.
It was evening, it was morning—
Day One. Genesis 1:1-5

That little phrase ‘It was evening, it was morning’ is repeated in every verse that tells the story of creative brilliance.

Eugene Peterson writes this

The Hebrew evening/morning sequence conditions us to the rhythms of grace. We go to sleep, and God begins his work. As we sleep he develops his covenant. We wake and are called out to participate in God’s creative action. We respond in faith, in work. But always grace is previous and primary. We wake into a world we didn’t make, into a salvation we didn’t earn.

Evening: God begins, without our help, his creative day. Morning: God calls us to enjoy and share and develop the work he initiated. Eugene Peterson 

Sleep and rest can be seen as an invitation for us to get out-of-the-way.

God is perhaps able to be more fully active and present in orchestrating various elements of the universe, for our good, when we are not so in control of all the chess pieces.

Here is what I invite you to do.

1. Even things out.
In the evening, ponder over the day and consider those things that have both filled your emotional cup and drained it. Write them out in a journal if you like. Just take a gentle pause and reflect.

2. Give thanks for them.
Express gratefulness for what has occurred and that God was ‘with you’ in all things. They may not have been what God has desired for you in this day, but God was with you. Their presence surrounded you and you were never alone.

3. Identify the stressors.
If there are any stresses, worries, fears, places of tightness in your soul acknowledge them. Don’t avoid them and try and bury them, just acknowledge their presence.

4. Commit all these stressors into the hands of Christ.
An old wise married couple gave me some wise advice on how to live light and free. Lay your burdens at the foot of the cross. You may also like to place them in nail scared hands of love. You may like to pray in this way. ‘Jesus, I need to rest and I can’t while I am holding on to .. so tightly. Can you take them for a while? Can I place them in your hands for the next little while?’

5. Visualise yourself giving those burdens to Jesus.
Sometimes I see myself laying these backpacks of worry down at the foot of the cross. Other times its more carrying that heavy brick of burden and dumping it into his hands.

6. Be bold and ask.
Come to Christ like John in need of a chest to lie on. Ask if it would be ok to lay on his chest then listen for the warm ‘Yes, I would like this too’

7. See yourself quietly lying on his chest
Imagine yourself as being held, loved, kissed on the head as you burrow yourself into his warmth. You are enveloped in a warm cocoon of presence.

8. Drift off.
See yourself carried into the new day with the presence of God gently enfolding your soul.

That is now I want to start my day, week, month and year.

Quotes to consider

  • Poets do not go mad; but chess-players do. Mathematicians go mad, and cashiers; but creative artists very seldom. I am not, as will be seen, in any sense attacking logic: I only say that this danger does lie in logic, not in imagination. G.K. Chesterton
  • Sleep is God’s contrivance for giving us the help he cannot get into us when we are awake. George MacDonald
  • May today there be peace within.
    May you trust God that you are exactly
    where you are meant to be.
    May you not forget the infinite possibilities
    that are born of faith.
    May you use those gifts that you have received,
    and pass on the love that has been given to you.
    May you be content knowing that you are a child of God.
    Let this presence settle into our bones,
    and allow your soul the freedom to sing,
    dance, praise and love.
    It is there for each and everyone of you.
    Teresa of Ávila

Barry Pearman

Photo Credit: diastème (Sarah Giboni) via Compfight cc

2 Replies to “How to Start Your Day by Going to Sleep”

  1. Loved this post, Barry. Similar childhood memories of lying on my father’s chest as he sang me to sleep many nights. Hadn’t connected it to the imagery of John and Jesus before. The hardest thing to grasp in transformation is that bit about becoming still in surrender to God’s invitation to “the unforced rhythms of grace” of which you write. Thank you for this primer on a real time way to enter that rest. I resonate deeply with both the spirit and the content of your writing. Thank you. Gwen in WA, USA.

    1. Thank you Gwen for these lovely comments. Yes, there is an invitation to ‘the unforced rhythms’ and I want to discover and share how to live fully in that rhythm, hence the series on rhythm. Thanks once again

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