While driving on a long family roadtrip I was enjoying the desert scenery with a great music playlist and the sound of my kids snoring. It was a long, straight road with no scenery changes and at least 300 miles without a turn in sight. Before long, my mind began to wander and drift into thought. I was relaxed, content and driving on mental autopilot with the cruise control set. It suddenly occurred to me just how easy it would be to drift off into sleep without even realizing it was happening. The thought frightened me literally to a jolt as I adjusted my position and began intentionally taking notice of things on the road, singing and moving to the music. Even speaking out loud in an effort to keep my mind stimulated and alert. Horrible thoughts flooded my mind. Stories I had heard of people who had accidentally drifted off to sleep at the wheel, and in just a brief moment, tragically changed their lives and those of their loved ones forever.
As I began to talk to God about this, I started thinking about the numerous scriptures that warn us about drifting off to sleep in life. Although God created us to need sleep and rest, it is also used symbolically throughout the Bible as a description for slothfulness and death when indulged in inappropriately. Most of us think about our busy schedules and don’t relate to ourselves as being slothful or lazy, but if we think of it in terms of our spiritual walk it can be much like falling asleep while driving a vehicle going down the road at 70 mph. The speed or busyness deceives us into believing we are productive when in reality we are often operating on autopilot spiritually speaking. We work, play, run errands, volunteer and drive our lives 70+mph but we may find that we are no longer inquiring of God for our decisions on a daily basis and rarely seeking Him for direction. The road before us is familiar and unchanging so as we become comfortable in our daily routines, we may rely less on God for direction and pay less attention to watching the scenery closely, enjoying the beauty, growing or changing. We are just trying to get to our next destination, complete the next project, check off our to-do lists quickly and we are too zoned in to the monotany to realize that we are drifting off to sleep and missing what God is trying to show us and teach us on the road along the way. As much as we are tempted to pray for a straight road with no obstructions, detours twists or turns, these things are necessary because they are what keep us spiritually sharp, alert and on track. After too long in spiritual autopilot, we can drift off into complacency and become vulnerable to self destruction. Just like the drifting vehicle carrying our loved ones, the consequences that occur when we drift off to sleep spiritually also affect the people we care about the most because they are on the road with us for this journey. This was a huge wake up call to me as I began to examine my life and remind myself to focus intentially on finding God even in the familiar things. God is always showing us new things if we will intentionally take notice. I challenge you to wake up and focus in areas where you may have drifted. Begin to inquire of God in ALL of your decisions and ask him to direct your path every day. Even when the road ahead looks exactly like it did yesterday. We can enjoy the predictability of a long unchanging road while we have it, as long as we make sure we stay alert and intentional.
“Therefore He says, wake up O sleeper and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine (make day dawn) upon you and give you the light. Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people). Making the very most of the time (buying up each opportunity) for the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:14-16 (AMP)