There are many things that my wife does better than me. One of them is sleep soundly. She has always been a good sleeper, and me, not so much. Thankfully though, I do manage to get enough sleep to get by. But sometimes I can spend part of my night lying in bed, my mind racing through all of the things I need to do or should have done, or just stuck on one particular thing that is bugging me. It’s certainly annoying. It got me to thinking one night about a time when I was much younger and slept more soundly; a time when I had less ‘on my mind’; a time coincidentally, when most of my needs were provided for by someone else. It then struck me that this is what it must mean when we use the term, ‘slept like a baby’. And although a lot of parents may testify to the contrary, a sleeping baby is normally quite peaceful.
Now, I have learned that over time when considering our relationship with God, to always start in the context of Parent-child. As God’s children, we were created for a much simpler existence than what most of us live today. I think of our lives in the Garden, where as trusting children we relied solely on God to lead us, nurture us, and love us. As wide-eyed babes we placed all of our faith in our Father-parent to care for us. As fallen beings though, and at about the point when a three-year old might decide to make his own peanut butter and jelly sandwich, we figured we can do it for ourselves. We can pick out our own clothes for school, or comb our own hair, or make up our own minds, and we figure we can do it for ourselves. And not only can we do it ourselves, we can do it better!
With knowledge, comes pride and then independence; the realization that I don’t need to rely on mommy or daddy for everything – and ultimately – for anything. But what we forget is that life is not so easy as our parents make it look. (Ask any 20-something starting out on their own.) Actually, it can be quite complicated – like the universe that God created. What makes us think that we can do it all on our own, that we don’t need anyone’s help? That’s pride. ‘Hey, I learned how to tie my own shoes, why wouldn’t I be able to hold down a full time job, raise my kids, support my family and live the life that society tells me I should be living??’
I guess my point is that what keeps us up at night is our own self imposed prideful independence that tells us that we are all alone in getting all of our countless ‘ducks’ of life to line up perfectly in a neat little row. As if we were the god of the little world we have created for ourselves. It’s up to us to solve all the problems, take all the risks and suffer all of the consequences – all on our own. Well the good news is: Like most things we mortals think we know, we are wrong. We were created to be that three year old child walking along with our Dad in that beautiful Garden He created just for us. (See that post about Joni Mitchell’s song, Woodstock, when she sings, ‘and we got to get ourselves back to the Garden’) It is we who have made this life a lot more complicated than it was meant to be, and it is we that can make it a lot simpler. No need to do anything dramatic right now, because that will just add to your sleepless nights. But just make this promise to yourself and God: That today is the most complicated your life is ever going to be, and each day try and do something to make it less so. Now go read, Matthew 6:24-34.