To the Woman Falling Asleep in Church

to the woman falling asleep in church

I see you.

You drag yourself out of bed after hitting the snooze button one too many times. You get your kids up and ready. You try not to yell because it is your own fault everyone is running a little behind. Maybe you do yell. (Probably, you yell. A little.) At church, you chat with a friend, get yourself a coffee and drop your children off in the nursery — or get ready to usher them into the sanctuary for their seat next to you — or a little of both.

Then the music ends. You take your seat. You concentrate on the pastor. At first, you are listening. Then you are just starting at him. Slowly, your focus adjusts to the pew in front of you, the pastor’s voice becomes a lullaby, and you feel yourself slipping. Slipping into that comfortable place before sleep where you are still aware of everything around you, but aren’t quite connected to any of it.

Your head nods and you jerk yourself back.

And there is something I want to say to you in that awkward moment when you wonder if anyone noticed your fight against sleep. Because I do see you. I do notice.

You are in the house of God. You are in the presence of the Almighty. And in this Holy sanctuary and in this weak moment, I want you to hear the words of Jesus.


“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”


Because you are weary. You are burdened. And Christ wants to give you rest. You have spent a week putting other people’s needs before your own. You cook their meals, clean their messes, share in their struggles, take them to their activities, put them to bed. You stay up late helping them with a problem, or praying for them or worrying about them. Or maybe you stay up late reading a book or watching a movie because when else do you have a stretch of time to yourself but here in the stillness after everyone is in bed?

Now, I’m not telling you to fall asleep in church. That isn’t who you are. You want to be a model to your children. You want to hear the pastor’s words. You want to grow in knowledge and in faith.

But as you sit in this quiet place with a moment’s rest from your weekly burdens, don’t feel guilty that sleep sometimes calls more eloquently than the message.

Rest in Him.

And try to find time for a nap.

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