Dozing in the Son

I think it was Richard Foster who said that sometimes, the most spiritual thing we can do is sleep. My husband used to look at the sleep-deprived shadows under my eyes, at the weariness pulling The writing of real-life people challenge my soul, make me question my assumptions and call me higher in all my relationships.

Down my face, and say, “Janey, sleep is spiritual.” Perpetual exhaustion seems to indicate poor theology in my life, for the Lord “grants sleep to those he loves”
(Psalm 127:2).

Finally, I’m beginning to believe that sleep is a spiritual act. A nap is a favorite part of my personal getaway. After filling the nooks and crannies of my soul with Scripture, I slip off to a spare bed or sofa. The extravagance of resting without an alarm always makes me thankful, and I fall asleep with a smile on my face and Scripture in my soul.

“I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8).

Singing in the Son
Sometimes it’s only the light shifting in the sky that awakens me, but often I come back to consciousness with a song in my heart. As a poster in a choir room proclaims, “He who sings, prays twice.” At each retreat, I bring a hymnal and take time to sing and worship through favorite hymns. Some I have written on three-by-five-inch cards, and I carry these with me during a walk outside. Other hymns I’ve committed to memory.

Praise music or recorded hymns are also good ways to start the heart singing, and instrumentals are especially good background for times of meditation.

Reflected Light
On sunny evenings I walk into our east-facing living room and blink. A brilliant beam of sunlight streams through our leaded glass, painting prisms on the far wall. But, the sun is on the west side now, I think. And then I remember. My neighbor Helen’s window catche, the last of the sunlight and bounces it into my front room. I benefit from her reflected light.

When on a personal retreat, I also utilize reflected light that I gain from others. On my desk at home are Anne Morrow Lingbergh’s Gift from the Sea, Annie Dillards’ Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Henri Nouwen’s Cry of the Heart, and George MacDonald’s Selections From His Greatest Works, to name only a few. If I can’t sit at their feet literally and absorb the light they share, then they can reflect the light of Christ to me through the printed page.

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Here I find my mentors, people who have pressed forward into the Light of Jesus.

These real-life people challenge my soul, make me question my assumptions, and call me higher in all my relationships. These friends are beacons in my storm-tossed nights, illumining the rocks and ledges for me.

Stretching for the Light
Last year, I bought a bonus sack of lily bulbs. Seeing no instructions regarding “full sun”, “half sun”, or “dense shade.” I planted them along the north side of our courtyard, where they are continually in the shadows, then I charted their progress sporadically. One day, I found the scrawny, leafy stems prostrate on the sidewalk, trying to grow in the direction of the light. They never became the tall, fragrant plants promised on the package, because they spent their lives in the dark.

Tracking my mental health this week, I wonder if there’s a correlation between lack of sunshine outside and depression inside. A glance at my calendar reminds me, and I pick up the phone to confirm the upcoming retreat day.

One thing is certain: the correlation between time in the Light and the lightness in my soul is not imagined. Like a lily stretching for the sun, I yearn for concentrated time with the Son. And when I get that Son-time, I flourish.


Copyright © 2003 Jane Rubietta. Used with permission.

Jane is an award winning author and speaker. Her latest book is Grace Points: Growth and Guidance in Times of Change. She and her husband Rich operate the not-for-profit, Abounding Ministries, which helps people experience the life-changing love of God in Christ through writing, speaking, music and retreats.