Updated: May 27, 2020
I've used the term snooze-fest to describe movies, books and events that bore me to exhaustion. As I pressed snooze on my iPhone for the umpteenth time yesterday, I pondered my recent sleep habits and the resulting relative sluggishness of my normally uber-productive morning.
I've been doing a lot of sleeping in during the quarantine, pressing snooze 16 times and lying around, half asleep. Try as I may to go with the flow, I had a persistent sense something was up and thus, finally willing myself awake, I asked God about it. Like I said last blog, "pray and pay attention." The still small voice answered. I realized my snooze abuse was really unconscious procrastination.
Don't ask if you don't want to know.
Quarantine fatigue is real, people.
Mind you, lots and lots of people are experiencing Quarantine Fatigue, exhaustion, oversleeping, insomnia, or any other assorted sleep disruptions associated with pandemic stress and its impact on daily life. Others experience it as deeper relaxation with reduced workloads and activity. A recent Washington Post article does a fine job of explaining the syndrome. I'm not immune, but having been self-employed for many years and mostly accustomed to having my kids around a whole bunch, the change in routine hasn't been altogether wierd.
Sleeplessness as gift.
Moreover, for a long time now, I've routinely awoken at 4:30 or 5:00 am. Years ago, I suddenly started waking up at 3:30 am for no apparent reason. I wasn't anxious or stressed, but I was wide awake. After a few nights of this, I did start to wonder about how this might impact my day so I prayed about it. I got a clear impression from God that this time was a gift. A special time for me and for us. I started getting up, reading, meditating, writing, and working out, all before the house woke up. I cherish my early mornings and have enjoyed them mostly uninterrupted for years. I talked about "seizing sleeplessness" as a gift in a short message for Guideposts readers.
Yet in this paradoxically amped-up season of slowing down and tuning in, I had a deep sense that my sleeping-in-snooze-fest wasn't about either quarantine fatigue or chillaxing, but about procrastinating. In the midst of the pandemic, I'm also in the midst of a radical system reset--divorce, reimagining some dreams, possibly rebooting my business, restoring my heart, and reclaiming parts of myself I'd buried deep, deep, deep for a long, long, long time.
Fuzzy fear that slows us down.
There is immense joy, freedom, promise and hope in the midst of it. Yet there is also fuzzy fear. The vestiges of fear God and I wrestled over for years, until I finally let it go. Mostly. The fuzziness is what's revealed after dusting, what shows up once bright light hits the surface just so. More is continuously being revealed, yet believing God's purpose is always love, I know he wants me to see, in order to set me free.
The adorable slug as teacher.
God being God, and using all things for the good, my sluggishness is purposeful, too. Did you know that slugs move slowly because they're exerting themselves producing a slimy substance to lubricate the path they travel, a water- and energy-intensive task. And yet it's the very thing that enables them to inch forward. My sleepy progress is not only the remedy to my usual rush of activity, it's actually smoothing the way (Isaiah 40:4). I love the imagery!
Progress, not perfection.
So, pressing snooze a cagillion times buys me time. Just like pointless chores, excessive binge watching mindless whatever, perfectionism or some other diversion. While moving forward on any front doesn't rely exclusively on me, I do have steps to take, however small. However slow. However intentional. The steps are tiny acts of faith without promise of an outcome, but trusting a process. Progress, not perfection.
My hand in God's.
Today, I pressed snooze only twice, then rolled out of bed onto my knees. I will put my little hand in God's big hand and trust I'll see his hand at work.
One step at a time. One day at a time.
Hugs in a hazmat.