This week at our church’s “On the Move” sermon series, our pastor was reflecting on how we tend to want to be “anesthetized”…we want to sleep. There is so much in this world from which we want to escape, take a break, or avoid all together and so many ways we can seek to “sleep” through it all. It reminded me of the opening lines of one of my favorite poems:
LET us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
I know that part of the allure of my eating disorder was that I could focus on so many things: my body, the little parts here and there that I hated, the calories and fat grams, the endless counting. Although this was a frantic life for me…the constant movement of my mind and body..I was seeking sleep. I wanted to keep my mind awake to things I thought I could control so that I could sleep walk through the things I could not. The noise of my eating disorder, like a siren song, lulled all else to sleep.
But we are not called to sleep. Physical sleep, yes, we need it, but our spiritual lives should never rest. The time has come to wake up! I know, it is hard to get up when it seems so comfortable in our sleep. When sleeping… we search for the dream, but it is really a nightmare. Yet, if we wake, will it still be dark and scary?
Read those verses again. The night is nearly over. Yes, when we wake up from the sleep that our eating disorder puts us in, we may find that it is still dark, but daylight is coming! We set aside our deeds of darkness…those things we are hiding, those behaviors done in the sleep of secrecy and we put on the armor of light! When my pastor talked about this he said that it meant we would actually put on Christ. Wait…Christ?! I am to put on this coat of armor- Christ Jesus?! But will He fit? What if it is uncomfortable? What if it is too tight? At first, walking with Christ, or walking while wearing Christ, can be uncomfortable, but it still works! Even when we don’t feel like Christ “fits”, that we are unworthy of wearing Him, His grace and mercy still protects us!
We wake up in the dark, begin to take off our old habits, and put on the armor of light…even before the light comes. We begin to behave as in the daytime. I can tell you from experience that when I woke up from my slumber in my eating disorder, it was very dark. But I when I began to prepare for, to expect that light was coming?! It got so much easier…eventually. I could not begin to put on Christ until I set aside my desire to starve, restrict, etc. Once I began to move around wearing God’s armor, the grace and mercy given to me through His Son and seeking the light given to me in His Word, did I begin to settle in. I would increasingly become uncomfortable in my “old self” and crave the “new self” made of me “in Christ”. To be honest, I am not really sure how this happened. It just did….one of the mysteries of faith, that “becoming a new creation.”
I think The Message translation has a good way of putting it:
“This mystery has been kept in the dark for a long time, but now it’s out in the open. God wanted everyone…to know this rich and glorious secret inside and out, regardless of their background, regardless of their religious standing. The mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ is in you, so therefore you can look forward to sharing in God’s glory. It’s that simple…. Christ! No more, no less. That’s what I’m working so hard at day after day, year after year, doing my best with the energy God so generously gives me.”
(From Colossians 1:26-29)