A Leaking Sleeping Pad & The Gaze of My Heart

Most mornings I awake with a song on my heart. Most often a song of worship or praise, but always a song that has the capacity to shift my perspective. Occasionally, the same song internally plays for weeks, but often it’s new, day by day.

I consider myself a morning person, and I’m typically full of energy and joy upon awakening. But on the atypical days, the Song of the Day helps brighten me.

Such was the case when I awoke on the wrong side of the bed one morning in Zambia this past December.

Correction: I awoke, in my sweat, on the “wrong side” of my refused-to-stay-inflated sleeping pad inside my surrounded-by-mosquitos tent at the filled-with-people-being-noisy-til-4am hostel where I was training the leaders of my squad. Mind you, I’d just arrived to them the evening before after a 90+ hour travel “day” which contained some unideal circumstances, one of which being my back hurting so badly that I cried silently for most of the 8 hour flight from Dubai to Johannesburg and all I wanted was a good night’s sleep to feel replenished.

I vividly remember 6 AM rolling around and deciding to not try to sleep anymore, as I had already fruitlessly blown up my sleeping pad twice, and I couldn’t get any rest or relief. Looking at the ceiling of my tent and hearing bugs buzzing at my ears, I remember thinking, “This sucks. I’m tired. So tired. And in pain. And tired. And sweaty. And mentally exhausted. And physically exhausted. And I could’ve just done some teaching over video chats but I chose to be here. And this sucks.”

And then, like clockwork, the Song of the Day came to my spirit: Blessed by Fred Hammond. Old school but so in-season for me.

“We’re blessed in the city
We’re blessed in the field
We’re blessed when we come and when we go
We cast down every stronghold
Sickness and poverty must cease
For the devil is defeated
We are blessed
“Since thou has walked uprightly
As a light in a dark land
Since thou has placed in thy heart
All the Lord’s commands
He’s set thee above nations
and cast thine enemies away
He’s standing up within thee
So let me hear you say
We know that God’s word
is clothed in truth and righteousness
“We are His children
and with our heart we do confess

“We’re blessed in the city
We’re blessed in the field
We’re blessed when we come and when we go
We cast down every stronghold
Sickness and poverty must cease
For the devil is defeated
We are blessed

“Late in the midnight hour God’s gonna turn it around
It’s gonna work in your favor, just you wait”
God is so funny, and I’m glad He didn’t commiserate with me.

My mind repeated the lyrics of the chorus until I literally laughed out loud at my circumstantially affected gratitude and my affected-by-nothing gracious God.

Then I started dancing. In my tent. Well, “dancing” is a generous term for the snapping and slight shoulder shimmy that took place, but tents aren’t that conducive to dancing which consists of more than a slight shoulder shimmy and snapping, amirite?

As the day went on, I had beautiful and organic conversations with my leaders (that just wouldn’t have happened via a scheduled video chat), the Lord healed my back, AND I got to take a super refreshing nap. Win. Win. Win.

All with the choir of people sing-shouting “we’re blessed” as the soundtrack of my mind.

This isn’t to say that there’s never an appropriate time to voice disappointment or grieve challenges, but my mindset had shifted from mourning a struggle to downright complaining and feeling entitlement.

And still, the Lord graciously used a song to shift the gaze of my heart.

 

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