My weekday mornings normally consist of waking up a bit when Mark gets up to shower, I usually check my alarm to see how many minutes I have left and then on cold dark mornings like today I snuggle back down into the warm and slooze (sleep-snooze) until my alarm goes off and I spring out of bed so we can pray together. I used to set the clock on my alarm 10 minutes fast so that I could have ten minutes snooze but as my alarm is now my phone I don’t do that. No, it’s not the same thing to set the alarm for ten minutes earlier, it’s really not – trust me.
So last night I woke around 3 am and took medication I have to take well before coffee touches my lips and switched off the alarm set to wake me to do that. I went back to sleep and stirred when I heard Mark get up and snuggled down ready for the alarm. I opened my eyes feeling quite happy that I must still have 5 minutes and checked the time only to be shocked to see it was 35 minutes past my alarm time. Somehow I had switched off the sound on my phone AND vibration with the press of a previously unknown switch. I jumped out of bed and as I went through normal activity feeling disgruntled I thought about missed alarms.
There are many ways I can miss an alarm. I can just choose to ignore it. Ever had a car alarm going off – initially it drives you mad but eventually you kind of stop hearing it and it’s only after silence returns, sometimes several minutes after, that you realise it has stopped. I can think of maybe a handful of occasions when I have been so deeply asleep that I have slept through the buzzing or ringing right by my ear but more often I do something about the noise.
Or, I can switch it off and forget about it. You know those times when your hand reaches out and you press or click or flick through bleary eyes and think “just 30 seconds then I’ll get up” only to open your eyes an hour later. Bless whoever invented snooze.
Or I can switch it to silent. My phone plays a tune and vibrates for my alarm and I can choose to have one or both. The tune is harder to ignore so I can switch it to vibrate and sleep right through it while it gets hot and bothered on the nightstand beside me.
The setting I discovered today was ‘do not disturb’. The alarm goes off but I hear and feel nothing.
I have a conscience God given that tells me right and wrong. It’s a bit like an alarm system and is surprisingly easy to switch off, silence or ignore. In fact like the car alarm the more I ignore it the easier it gets to do so. I hope I am well past flat-out ignoring but that’s due to the Holy Spirit who I invited to guide me. It’s hard to ignore my conscience AND a voice that is precious and living right inside me you.
Switching to silent or switching it off is not the same as ignoring. It’s that grey area where I flirt with things that I shouldn’t. The alarm is ringing but I think ‘just a couple of seconds’, I’ll just dip one toe in. Bad idea, I might just wake up an hour later neck deep in alligators. Much better to listen and look and act at once.
Do not disturb is a terrifying thought. I pray to never be in a place where I don’t hear or feel the prompting of my conscience or the Spirit. A place that Paul describes as conscience-seared.
This has been a bit rambly but the background is sometimes as important as the fore because it sets the scene.
18 Timothy, my dear child, I am placing before you a charge for the mission ahead. It is in total agreement with the prophecies once spoken over you. Here it is: with God’s message stirring and directing you, fight the good fight,19 armed with faith and a good conscience. Some have tried to silence their consciences, wrecking their lives and ruining their faiths.
A good conscience, one attuned to God’s voice, one trained in what’s right and wrong and not one that’s been silenced or dulled.