The first step toward honesty is to pay attention. In the words of this text, the choices we face are either to sleep or to be alert and self-controlled.
There are days when we would rather 'sleep'. There are days when the emotional numbness of denial seems less painful then the alertness required by recovery. Couldn't we just 'let it ride' for a day? Couldn't we just 'sleep' for a while?
Sometimes people encourage us to 'sleep'. "Why are you still paying attention to that? It was a long time ago!" Or "Why are you still 'holding on' to that? Just forgive and get it behind you." Wouldn't it be great to get this over with quickly and not have to pay attention to it anymore?
There is a rest, a serenity, that comes from God. But it comes from 'alertness' not from 'sleep'. God's peace is not like the 'sleep' in this text. This sleep is denial, it is avoidance, it is distraction, it is pretending, it is death. Being alert means that we allow ourselves to see and hear, to use our senses and mind and heart. It means that we pay attention to what is happening inside of us and around us. The text urges us to be alert, to pay attention. Pay attention, it urges, even if life is painful, even if it is not what we want it to be.
Lord, help me to pay attention today!
Help me not to put my feelings to sleep.
I want to be aware of my thoughts and feelings, Lord.
I want to be able to experience both the pain and joy of life today.
Help me to pay attention.
Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan
National Association for Christian Recovery