There is a specific kind of blurry that characterizes the way you we the world, first thing, eyes opening to the beep or chime or whatever rousting noisemaker we use.
We blink. We open one eye at a time, or both to a slit in order to give our pupils a fighting chance against the freshening daylight.
This morning, I looked straight at the ceiling with both eyes wide.
In the kitchen, I had put out the necessary morning items: vitamins for Holley, the B, and myself. The blender was loaded with the dry protein powder, a banana lay close by. The small French press had a scoop and a quarter of coffee; my wife's NPR mug had a tea bag with the string-tag wrapped tightly around the handle.
I laid in bed with the full knowledge that all the preparation was done so that I could get up, change, and go to the gym.
I spent a little more time the night before - after setting up the morning assembly line - working on this week's podcast episode and so I got to bed about a half hour late. It was the difference between my alarm going off after 7 hours of sleep versus 6.5.
I gave a half-turn, located my phone, and pressed snooze.
From that point on, everything in the day fell forward. Every plan, every device, even the assembly line was helpless against the "domino" falling from that snooze button. No gym. Cobbled together some exercise time before my daughter woke up, but no focused reading and meditation. The domino fell and dispersed everything throughout my day...
What in the world am I talking about?
I often work with people who desire change. The work of spiritual formation is the work of facilitating transformation so that we grow to live well in our own skin. It always has been. Jesus taught the master class in this subject, and the rest of us are adapting that curriculum to our own lives and worlds.
However change or transformation happens not by accident or miracle, but because we have given our time to the small insurgencies against the old us whom we'd like to leave behind. We are pushing dominos towards life and health.
This is how humans change. It's how we learn a language or an instrument. It's how we improve our physical and mental health.
Spiritual transformation most commonly works via small moves, not overnight metamorphosis.
For many of us, the will and desire to change is strong and we have gathered the resources we need to make that change along with the blessing of the Spirit of God.
What we haven't paid attention to, however, is the domino. There is always a key move in our day where, if we make it then we proceed in a healthy direction but if we miss it then everything else is thrown forward or worse, crushed.
We long to spend time in quiet, but we take on a task that moves us out of the only protected silence of our day.
We want to focus on reading something that nourishes and inspires our minds, we sit down in the most comfortable chair that just so happens to be a) in front of an interesting Netflix series and b) at the furthest point in our home from the reading material.
I can speak to this because I have done that very thing twice in the past week. And the domino fell...
We know we are weary and so having the grace and patience for others is difficult. However, instead of moving things around to catch up on sleep we decide to fill our time with something that keeps us up. And the domino falls...
If we are going to create space for grace, transformation, and becoming that true self which God crafted in the hollow of our innards, it will only come when we learn the impact of the domino falling.
We are not talking about sin here, please understand. We're talking about flourishing instead of just surviving.
Where are you finding yourself falling to "the domino" these days?
What obstacle, habit, or preoccupation is keeping you from the life of flourishing God has in mind?
What influence do you have over where and when the domino falls, if at all?
May you come to know that taking one small step towards spiritual health is a step deeper into the eternal reality of the Kingdom of God and the wisdom of the Spirit of Jesus. There is nothing greater.
Not even sleep.