James 4:2 (New International Version)
2You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God.
I realized today I have run myself ragged. I have driven myself to distraction. In my anger and frustration toward God, I have avoided quietness and peace — the things that bring perspective to life. This passage talks about being frenzied with greed and need and looking in all the wrong places. I have been frenzied with frustration and anger, and have looked for relief in all the wrong places. I kind of knew I was doing it, but I didn’t care.
Deciding to try running toward God instead of away from him, I finally sat down to pray and read the Bible for a while this afternoon. But I dozed off after just a few verses. I kept waking up and trying to read or pray, but could get nowhere because sleep kept barging in. And I was reminded that being well-rested is a spiritual discipline. We cannot function effectively if we are drained. The holiest, most spiritual thing I could do right now is take a nap.
My soul is a mess. It has been starved. Starved of prayer. Of quietness. Of focus and reading and rest. Of coffee and other little things in life that bring me joy. No wonder God commanded his people in the Old Testament both to fast and feast. There are proper rhythms for things, and they are given to us — “wired in,” so to speak. We cannot create our rhythms, we can only choose whether to play by them.
So I will return to more frequent prayer. But first I will sleep. And play with my children. And enjoy a rich cup of coffee. If all of life is prayer (which I believe), I have been lousy at praying in more ways than one lately.