You’ve already done something this morning that you share in common with every other person you’ll meet today. Virtually everybody performs this action every single day. Young and old people do it. Women, men, kids, even babies… Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians; introverts and extroverts… We all have a universal behavior that we in common: We wake up after a night’s sleep.
The manner in which we wake up is all over the map. Some of us sleep poorly and wake up slowly. Sometimes we dream darkly and wake up grumpily. Some of us naturally open our eyes and smile as we are filled with a rush of positive energy (I’m slightly jealous of these people.) Some of us are chronic pushers of the snooze button.
There might be as many ways to do it as there are types of people, but the simple act of waking up is one of the basic experiences we all share on a daily basis.
I’m not quite as good at waking up as I used to be. Now that I’m middle-aged, my brain takes a little longer to start firing at full speed and my body takes a little longer to feel limber and free. There is a technique that I use almost every day that helps me wake up: the gift of music. Music helps my body and spirit greet the day with some joy. It’s hard not to be happy when I get up with a song in my heart.
While some musicians regularly hear new songs as they emerge from sleep (Paul McCartney woke up with the melodies of “Yesterday” and “Let it Be” after dreaming), most of us can learn a go-to song or two to jump start the day.
God has given me two old songs that regularly do this for me. They are both classic hymns, “God Moves in a Mysterious Way” and “O God, Our Help in Ages Past. Here are the lyrics:
God moves in a mysterious way Our God, our help in ages past
His wonders to perform Our hope for years to come,
He plants His footsteps in the sea Our shelter from the stormy blast
And rides upon the storm And our eternal home
On a really good day, my mind wakes up already singing these tunes and taking comfort in the character of God’s strength and mysterious presence. But it took a lot of practice to get there!
On difficult days, I may have to repeat these songs five or more times or more before I start feeling that they are true. When in dire straights, I resort to singing them out loud.
Is there a song or two that God has used in your life that might be able to encourage you on a morning-by-morning basis?
It struck me that when we go to Sunday morning worship to meet with God, we are “waking up” to the week and “waking up” to our own lives in a big picture sense. God definitely uses music on these occasions to open our eyes and make us feel more alive!
This coming Wednesday in the church coffee shop, I’ll be leading a hour-long session (6:30-7:30 p.m.) on how to “wake up” to God’s word. The spiritual practice we’ll experience is called Lectio Divina and is not too different from the wake up routine that I described above. God provides a few words or a phrase from Scripture, we allow them to be repeated in our hearts, and as a result we wake up and become more alive to God’s voice, presence, and power in our lives.
That’s the best kind of waking up I know.
Grace and Peace,