when you don’t want to get out of bed in the morning

I do not know if waking up and feeling absolutely no desire to get out of bed and begin the day is a universal experience. I do know that it is a common one. If it is a feeling you are familiar with, here are some things you can do:

Receive grace. I hesitate to call this something you “do.” Receiving is inherently passive; but there is a sense in which the gift must be recognized and remembered by the receiver. Similarly, “free grace” or “the gift of grace” are redundant expressions. Grace is, by definition, free. By definition, it’s a gift. It is never something other than something you receive.

Sometimes this is what “receiving grace” looks like for me:

“Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”

Jesus | My Lord and my God. My King and Master. My Shepherd, who laid down his life for the sheep and calls me by name. The One by whom and for whom all things were created. The One not ashamed to be called my brother.  The One to whom I am united in spirit. My Husband. My Friend.

loves | Is committed to. Is patient with. Desires the ultimate good of. Feels compassion for. Gives strength to. Withholds nothing good from. Sacrificed for (once for all).

me, | A complete screw-up whose greatest spiritual strength is begging for mercy.

this I know, | This I believe. This I have experienced. This reality I cling to, sometimes barely, but always somehow, by faith.

for the Bible tells me so. | The Bible, the majestic and sufficient Word of God, tells me of this Jesus, and of this love, from start to finish.

[Jesus said:] As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. John 15:9

Pray. There are a few components of prayer which I see present in nearly all biblical prayers.

One, which is perhaps the most fundamental and essential of all, is addressing God personally. Sometimes it looks like “God of heaven, maker of all that is”; sometimes “God of Jacob, our Redeemer”; sometimes just “Father.” Honestly, at times this is as far as I can get in prayer; but then, sometimes it is all I need to say.

Another is giving thanks. Like never before, lately, I am utterly convinced of the power and importance of intentional thanksgiving. If I express only one thought to God today, if I do only one pure thing in twenty-four hours – let it be that I give thanks.

Another is confessing sin and asking for forgiveness. If thanksgiving is hard to do on feeling-less mornings, this is harder; but if there are any two things a Christian must be convinced of, it is their sin, and God’s forgiveness. To return to confession and forgiveness-claiming, over and over, is not like a dog returning to its vomit, but like a child returning to its father. Over and over.

Finally, prayer includes asking for help. Prayer comes, at the elemental level, from the profound, yet plainly demonstrable idea that we need God. Asking for help recognizes that fact in the simplest way possible. “God, help me”; “Lord, she needs you, they need you, help them”; “Father, help us.” It is childlike, and therefore sweetly appropriate.

Feed his sheep. John 21, the last chapter of John’s Gospel, is, to me, one of the most poetic and tender chapters in the New Testament. Three times, on Galilee’s beach, Jesus asks Peter, that remarkably devoted and remarkably flawed disciple of his, “Simon, do you love me?” Simon was his old name.

“Do you love me?” Jesus knows what Peter will say. He asks him the question three times, echoing Peter’s three denials of knowing Jesus just a few chapters earlier. The repetition grieves Peter, but it is not a guilt trip. It is a truly extraordinary display of forgiveness, a forgiveness so comprehensive that Jesus applies it specifically to each of Peter’s denials.

Jesus’ replies to Peter each time Peter affirms his love – “feed my lambs; tend my sheep; feed my sheep” – speak of something greater than merely “apology accepted.” Jesus’ message is: “I am not only pardoning you, but I am giving you a mission. Here you are, fishing again, going back to your old life, your old name, your old self as if you are not good enough for what I have called you to. But I am not done with you yet, Peter. I promised to turn you from a fisherman to a fisher of men and I will do it, even now, just you wait. Go. Feed my sheep.”

That is how total Jesus’ forgiveness is. It gives us a purpose. A reason to get out of bed in the morning. Help his people. Feed his lambs. Tend his sheep.

Now, Christianity is not the same as cognitive therapy: change how you think in order to change how you feel/behave. That is part of it. More than that, though, Christianity is an objective statement of reality – a hope. A status – child of God in Christ. These realities have many biblical labels, but intrinsic to their definitions is that they do not change, even when we do not feel we can get out of bed in the morning. They are stable, which is another way of saying God is stable.

For that, let us praise him.

The saying is trustworthy, for:

If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful—

for he cannot deny himself.

Remind them of these things… 2 Timothy 2:11-14

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