Last Friday, I lay with my mouth wide while she picked at my teeth with the pointy wand of stainless. She matched my look with her own yawn. “Been doing that a lot lately,” the hygienist said.

“Me, too.”

Couldn’t tell you why exactly. I’ve fallen asleep sitting upright at least twice in the last week. Can’t remember that ever happening. Nap and Dan don’t often schmooze in the same sentence. I think my reluctance to let the Sandman dance on my widdle head has something to do with this ominous verse:

A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.
—Proverbs 6:10-11

Whoa. Harsh, context or not.

But then, I can’t help myself  on naptime of late.

I’m not the only one, I think. Seems like a lot of people have been struggling to stay awake. It’s as if a collective blanket of snooze has dropped over southern Ohio. Maybe everyone is simply bored to tears with cold, gray skies.

I think it’s something else, though. I think that the global stress of the last six months has taken root in our psyches. The anxiety of earlier days has burned through its wick and left us all spent.

As one who lived through the Carter Administration, albeit just barely, I remember a dusty word bandied about in those days: malaise.

Malaise has once again crept into the American soul and its body politic. Can you not stay awake even one hour?Malaise coupled with resignation. We sit at home helpless to make a difference in what is going on around us. We turned the country over to naïfs lacking in genuine Christian thought, so now we can sleep, oblivious, while they plunder.

What I want to know is this: We celebrated Lincoln last month, but how is it that no one today is as brave as that dead president so as to call for a national day of prayer and repentance? Isn’t that what this country truly needs?

If you want to answer that question, do so quietly. Who knows? I just might be sleeping.

18 thoughts on “Somnambula

    • That’s part of it, Travis, but I think there’s more to it. I have never been this tired in my life. I slept for about 45 minutes after lunch yesterday, and then I fell asleep reading a book at around 7:30 p.m. Anymore, if I stop moving for any length of time, I’m out. I’ve talked with many other people who seem to be suffering from the same thing. It’s just strange.

      • Two things:

        1. You’re getting older.
        2. In other countries, the midday siesta is part of the culture. I could use a nap midday, but I rarely nap.

        The phenomenon of sleeping when you stop moving is not that rare.

      • I’ve had to stop kicking myself for feel lazy when I don’t get out of bed in the morning as soon as I wake up. If I don’t have to go to work, it’s usually a mistake for me to get up as soon as I wake up. I may feel awake for an hour to three hours, but then I’ll just start moping around, doing nothing, until I give up and get back in bed for another hour or two of sleep. I’ve learned to realize when I’m fully awake and not going to go asleep again.

        Sometimes I don’t want to go to bed. Going to be is “boring.” I’d rather do something else. A lot of times, when friends call me on the phone, I’ll go lie on my bed while talking. I’ll start to yawn really bad, almost dozing off. I feel bad sometimes because it sounds like my friends are boring me when they usually aren’t.

  1. David

    “Atlas Shrugged”, by Ayn Rand, is becoming required reading for the intelligentsia of late. The Church, I think, took up Rand’s philosophy long ago. When faced with the magnitude of life, it seems that Christ’s body has merely shrugged, shaking off the responsibility of caring for this generation of unbelievers.

    It doesn’t relieve us of our responsibility, it merely places it on narrower shoulders. A man in our old church is paying the medical bills for himself, his deceased wife, and his daughter-in-law. He’s retired, and at 76 is pushing shopping carts through the neighborhood Kroger in order to make ends meet. Some of the congregation are helping him financially, but if everyone took a part, then the burden would be less on everyone.

    But it doesn’t happen that way.

    So is it any wonder that those who do care are tired?

    • David,

      I think the problem with the shrugging comes because we are attempting to be the Church within social systems that are designed to prevent the Church from operating. And I don’t mean because of persecution, as was the classical opposition, but the very systems that make modern society what it is.

      Because it’s a huge job to address the way our society operates (we Christians must either reform it or drop out of it), we elect to stay as is, since it is the least challenging option.

      The older I get, the more I see that something has got to change in the Western Church and in American society. I am still floored by the conversation last week at my church (and I go to a good church), when people talked about supporting the local Christian community with our business (even if it cost us a little more) as if it were an affront to capitalism and globalism to even suggest such an idea. I thought the response verged on the nihilistic, as if nothing could possibly be done to change the way things are. That stuns me. It really does.

  2. (Ian Paisley)
    The church of Jesus Christ is largely sleeping, like a great bedroom and you have all the Christians in bed and they’re all sleeping … and they’re saying “Please, don’t wake me up! I want to sleep on!” And of course when God starts to operate a revival people cannot sleep, you can’t sleep in church when the Spirit of God awakes the people. Look at the 1st verse of this 52nd chapter…”Awake! Awake! Put on strength! ” Wake up! You’re sleepy Christians! Awake thou that sleepeth, Arise from the dead! Christ wil l give you life!

    I quote that because I know a lot of people who are having the same issue… one friend of mine honestly had a problem staying awake anytime the anointing was around… I think God is trying to get us to spend even MORE time in His presence, for He is passing by His church right now… trying to awaken us and so many are not noticing… and the enemy is using our slumber to his benefit… We need MORE refreshing, and less busyness…

  3. I’ve a doctor who advised me to at least lay my head back for 10 minutes or so a couple of times a day. I’m sure that if I did that it would be lights out for me. I really like naps. When I know that I’ll really be on the go, it sure helps to get one.

    Ronnie’s comment quoted from Revival Hymn that is posted on Sermon Index. Ever so often I need to listen to it again. It’s revival to my soul.

    For the church in America, I believe she’s sleep walking – doing something just so things will look like they’re getting done.

  4. I have it on my ipod and watch it a few times a week. I think we need to stop trying to reinvent the wheel, stop watching TV, stop reading everyone elses ideas of what God is, and get on our faces in the carpet, and FIND OUT who He is! Intimately!

    I had a life that was nothing BUT busyness. Jerald your right! We do! I know I did! Thing is, I wasn’t getting the important things done. So what did I do? I quit my job so I could move to a smaller place (my job required me to live where I did) and pay much less in rent, although a less desirable area of town (and where God’s light needs to be shown ever so much more!), this frees me up to do more around my house so my husband doesn’t have to concern himself with so much and I can spend more time on the important things. No TV. Heck, I just got rid of 90% of my library. I need GOD. I’m tired of the rat race and the only way we can really boycott what society IS doing, is to remove ourselves from a good portion of it. I won’t let society dictate to me how to live. I will live the way I feel God desires, despite it.

    … and I always knew i liked Keith Green. 🙂

    ….if you go to you can download an mp3, a video, and get a full transcript of it btw… 🙂

    (sorry Dan I’m sure my writing is an editors nightmare with my superfluous use of ellipses…)

    • Mark

      “…stop watching TV, stop reading everyone elses ideas of what God is, and get on our faces in the carpet, and FIND OUT who He is! Intimately!”

      took the words right out of my mouth.

  5. toni

    Hi Dan,

    One of the things I like, most about, your posts is how they encourage others to relate and describe how God talks to them.

    I’m continually fascinated by how God, in His infinite wisdom, talks to each of us, as individuals.

    Is the church asleep to the current move of God? is she aware of His heartbeat during these rather tumultous times?

    personally, I’m tired; but i was born napping 🙂

    That said, it’s difficult to find an expression of God to which I can relate.

    Really, what it comes down to is this, “I WANT MORE”.
    Anything else is tiresome.

  6. Seasonal affective disorder, a middle age man becoming polyphasic, when you may have been previous monophasic, viral, depression, care giving burnout,other middle age onset medical changes, stress, and other medical combinations and causes I haven’t added.

    We are fearfully and wonderfully made, and mal-ease in one aspect of our lives can lead to dis-ease physically, psychologically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, socially…

    I can appreciate you may need to spiritualize this.

    • Bene D,

      No doubt. Even now I am trying to deal with the natural physical outcomes of prolonged mal-ease. The natural and the spiritual aren’t disconnected. As a man thinks in his heart, so he is. The battle rages; people get wounded, some seriously.

  7. Bene, I can also see your need to label SIN as a disorder.

    We’ve done it for years. Unbelief is sin.

    Depression sometimes has roots of bitterness, anxiety, and unforgiveness…. all…. SIN.

    Over psychoanalyzing our behaviors has led our society into labeling everything as a disorder when most of the time the root cause…. is SIN.

    Satan has us right where he wants us here.

    I watched person after person in recovery be tormented. They tried and struggled with everything within them to get free (or so they said). See, the systems they were placed in, gave a psychological term to their behaviors. They used “addiction” as an excuse not to exercise and believe in God’s grace. They said God was a liar, that He couldn’t set them free from addiction, and that they would have to live with this thorn in their side their entire life. In actuality, they LIKED their SIN. They didn’t want to disconnect from it! To disconnect from it would rob them of their identity, it would mean that GOD could truly SET THEM FREE! But wait, God said He could do that… but He couldn’t really… could He?

    Well I stand here today as one who WAS and IS set free. I know many others who CHOSE to believe GOD, and were set FREE.

    SIN is SIN is SIN is SIN. Call it what you want. Satan owns the fence. Get off it, and GET FREE.

    And please, do not psychoanalyze SIN. Jesus didn’t and He was God. If there was ANYTHING to psychology, God in His infinate Love would have told us. Instead He said, BELIEVE ME.

    • Ronni,

      In Bene D’s defense, life is just trying sometimes. And while those trials can be connected all the way back to the Garden, sometimes it’s not the direct result of an individual’s sin that causes hardship. Anyone who has cared for an elderly parent or a younger person disabled by an accident can tell you that.

  8. I’m not saying it isn’t Dan. I’m a cancer patient. I know tired. Thing is, there is a difference between “tired” physically where its truly your body wearing out (also an effect of sin but I’ll leave that for later…lol) and “tired” due to weariness.

    That and sin wears us down. My cancer is a byproduct of sin. Does that mean “who sinned, me or my parents?” … no. BUT… we surround ourselves with chemicals, in our foods, around our homes, we get bloated thinking we KNOW… and our bodies take the toll for it.

    Try getting a tomato at Kroger with any vitamins in it anymore… I’m sure you of all people know what I’m talking about.

    That and labeling every malaise we know with a new disorder, when it’s just SIN. Repent (truly) and let Him heal you. I’ve never NOT seen it work when someone took God truly at His word. Sometimes it took time. Others, instant. That doesn’t mean my mother (who also has cancer) is in sin because of her illness, it just means sin touched her… and here we are…

    It might not be the direct result of an individual’s sin… sometimes its societies that messes us up.

    Regardless… He IS Jehova-Rapha.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *