Growing up Catholic, I formed a foolish opinion that because the Pharisees (who were Jewish) sentenced Jesus to death, the Jewish people in the Bible were the bad guys. Looking back, not only do I know this to be untrue, but I find it entirely ironic to learn just how many Catholic traditions came from Jewish ones.
I have recently found myself reading and watching things with strong Jewish influence. Anna and I are watching “The Chosen “on YouTube, a series about the relationships between Jesus and the disciples. I’ve also been reading Mysteries of the Messiah: Unveiling Divine Connections from Genesis to Today by Rabbi Jason Sobel. Both of these have left me mesmerized with how intentional God was with His people and how much Jewish traditions influence mine. However, one tradition I just read about left me both equally fascinated and convicted.
In an article on My Jewish Learning states, “Traditionally, Jews would begin each day with Modeh Ani, a short, two-line prayer which opens by referring to God as the eternal and living King. The prayer speaks of sleeping as a minor type of death in which the soul leaves the body to spend the night with God. The prayer thanks God for returning the soul to the body, enabling the individual to live another day. When waking up from sleep, before washing hands, one should say:
מוֹדֶה אֲנִי האשה אומרת: מודָה לְפָנֶיךָ מֶלֶךְ חַי וְקַיָּם שֶהֶחֱזַרְתָּ בִּי נִשְׁמָתִי בְחֶמְלָה, רַבָּה אֱמוּנָתֶךָ (which when translated means),
‘I am thankful before You, living and enduring King, for you have mercifully restored my soul within me. Great is Your faithfulness.'”
I don’t think I have ever told God that I was grateful for sleep. Ever. It seems radically counterintuitive to how I have wired myself for 40+ years. Through adolescence I had grown to believe that my value directly correlates to my production. Therefore, the less I sleep or rest, and the more I do and produce, the more I am worth to other people and God.
Do you find yourself believing that lie too?
On the surface, sleep and rest produce very little. However, science has proven that we fail without enough of either one. The importance of sleep is well documented, and it is conclusive that we need rest. We know the benefits of rest and how it affects our bodies. We even know the deep knowledge of different types of rest, but we don’t know why God’s plan is for us to spend 1/3 of our lives unconscious.
However, God’s people praise Him for rest. “I am thankful before You, living and enduring King, for you have mercifully restored my soul within me. Great is Your faithfulness.”
This has been yet another perspective shift for me on this journey. What do you think? How does rest play a role in your life? Do you wrestle with rest vs. production? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and remember to rest up.
We will get through this together!
In His service and at yours