Sleepwalking

Have you ever had that experience in life when you feel you’re just going through the regular routine and not really focussed, not fully present in your own life? A bit confused maybe? A bit lost?

I don’t suffer from sleepwalking but I was interested to read that when people sleepwalk, their eyes are usually open, but they will look straight through others and not recognise them. Strangely, they can often manoeuvre quite well around familiar objects!

Sleepwalking can happen in our spiritual life too. We might find ourselves going through the motions, not really focussed, head all over the shop. It might manifest itself as a lack of motivation, or no clear idea of purpose in life, and we end up drifting through life. It’s possible to spend years like that, sub-consciously manoeuvring around responsibility or looking straight through someone, not really engaged in the conversation. Many a time I’ve found myself listening to an inspiring message, which at the time seemed to connect on some deep level with me. It felt like a significant, life changing moment. But by the next day the impact had faded and it no longer seemed that important. I didn’t run with the new line of thinking and got distracted by something else. 

Or maybe we experience moments of wonder or beauty – birdsong in a forest; the ebb and flow of waves crashing on the beach; a breathtaking view; an historic building; a wonderful piece of art; but we quickly move on. It’s as if we look straight through it and don’t recognise it for what it is. We don’t let the wonder and beauty change our hearts. We manoeuvre around it. It’s like sleepwalking.

When I was younger, certain professions were given the label ‘a calling’. It might be full time clergy, doctors, or teachers. In my mind it was as if these roles in life were of some higher purpose than others. I don’t remember the word calling being applied to creative people – artists, writers, songsmiths, musicians, dancers or actors. Creatives were lesser beings. 

It wasn’t until after his death that Leonardo da Vinci became known for more than just his painting skill, and people discovered that he was also a very prolific thinker in anatomy, astronomy, botany, cartography, paleontology, science and technology.  So how would we classify his calling?

He is famously quoted as saying, ‘There are three classes of people: Those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see. 

All the more interesting then to find these words in the letter of Paul to The early church in Ephesus:

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you.

Ephesians 1 v 18 

Who’d have thought it? Our heart has eyes enabling us to know what it is we’re called to do; who we’re called to be, where we fit in the grand scheme of things.

So maybe we should ask God today to open the eyes of our heart and see afresh ‘the glorious way of life he has for us and ‘the extravagance of his work in us’ as it says in The Message version. Let’s show up in our own life and avoid sleepwalking.