No More Sleepwalking Through Life

May 22, 2015 | 13 comments

The other day, I wrote something on my Facebook page that made a woman cry. A simple truth struck a tender place in her heart. This is what I wrote:

“You are a person.”

I know. Simple. Nothing earth-shattering. Except that it is. It is earth-shattering. 

I wrote some others things, but those are the four words that mattered most to her — and to me.

Like me, the woman had forgotten elemental truths about herself — she had flesh and bone, not gears and pulleys. She had been living like a machine, not a person.

To me, living like a machine is frighteningly tempting. I was telling a friend the other day how I could easily become a workaholic. Productivity invigorates me. Work makes me heart beat fast, the way you might feel on a rollercoaster, both hands in the air. I love operating on all cylinders.

There are seasons when that’s entirely appropriate. We’ve all got important work to do, and what a gift when we actually enjoy it, right?

But sometimes, I look back on my days, and I’m appalled. Sure, I’ve crossed a lot of boxes off of my lists, but there is carnage. There were missed opportunities with friends on the phone, unplayed games with the girls, cranky words “shushed” to my family. (“Can’t you see I’m trying to work here?”) Jesus offers an easy yoke, but I often choose the hard one. On purpose.

I forget to show up for the rest of my life. Some days, I’m missing it, and I’m missing God. 

I know that this is a byproduct of my old, hard-to-break habits: seeking status and significance outside of Christ. Even as a follower, that wrong thinking hangs on like a parasite. I’m not proud to admit it. This is, of course, a case of mistaken identity. I don’t mean to be this way, but I confess that I sometimes forget where my truest identity lies. I somehow convince myself that my worth lies in efficiency and competency.

It’s crazy, how a person can have checked all the boxes and have climbed a hundred ladders, and at the end of the day, feel like she was sleepwalking through her own life.

But I am a person. And you?

You are a person, too.

You are not a machine, or a spreadsheet, or an agenda, or a resume.

You are a person.

You have a heartbeat, skin, scars, and soul.

You are a person.

Your worth isn’t calculated in efficiencies, results, boxes checked, or ladders climbed. You aren’t the sum of your accomplishments — or the sum of your mistakes. You aren’t your ambition, your energy level, your approval rating, or your mass appeal. You aren’t a stage or a platform or a gold star. You are not an A+, a C-, or an F. You are not a mess or a miscalculation.

You are not a mistake. You are a miracle. Because you are a person.

Be a person today. Be all you. Resist the urge to believe that you’ve got to fight for your piece; God says there’s more than enough to go around.

Take a leap into the pool of His grace; it’s bottomless.

Consider saying “no” to the big invitation. Dare to “miss out,” and find out what you *really* would have missed, had you said “yes.”

Don’t pull God into your agenda. Follow Him into His.

Live free. Love well. Stand tall on the inside, even if you’re feeling weak on the outside.

You are a person, a citizen of the Kingdom of God. Live there, Kingdom Child — live where there is always enough, where there is abundant love, where there is unending grace for you.

Let’s each be a person today.

No more sleepwalking through life.


by | May 22, 2015 | 13 comments


  1. Jennifer Frisbie

    I really needed to hear this today. And your writing style…something was different. Good different. Me likes! 😉

    • dukeslee

      Thank you, Jennifer. That’s good to hear. And I’m so curious about your statement about the writing style. Tell me more. I’m now analyzing my work for clues. 😉

      • Jennifer Frisbie

        When I read it, I almost picture you reclining into the cushions of the couch. There seems to be more of an assurance and confidence in what you’re saying. Not that it wasn’t there before – but I feel as though this space you’ve carved out on the Interwebs is suddenly more comfortable to you. It’s home. I really like that.

        • dukeslee

          We need to chat. FB-ing you!

  2. Nancy Ruegg

    SO many pithy, quotable statements in this post, Jennifer, like: “You are not a mistake. You are a miracle.” and “Take a leap into the pool of His grace; it’s bottomless.” and “Don’t pull God into your agenda. Follow Him into His.” I was ready to stand up and cheer by the time I finished reading! Thank you for helping us stand tall in our God-beathed personhood.

  3. Veronica

    Oh Jennifer, you had me at “You are a person” and the more I read, the more excited I became. “Live there, Kingdom Child — live where there is always enough, where there is abundant love, where there is unending grace for you.” Sending this to my Loves and sincerely, I wish every human being could read this and believe they are indeed, a precious person.

  4. Martha Orlando

    “Don’t pull God into your agenda. Follow Him into His.”
    I am a person, one created by a loving, forgiving God. That’s who I am, and no agenda can describe or define me. Thank you for this most inspirational post, Jennifer! Blessings!

  5. Kelly Hausknecht Chripczuk

    Thankyou for this, Jennifer. I needed it today.

  6. Leah Adams

    So simple, yet so profound. This especially: “Don’t pull God into your agenda. Follow Him into His.” I’m finding that His agenda for me in this season is very different than anything I had hoped for or dreamed, yet it is good. As I bend my knee to it, I find peace and joy and blessing. Lovely post, Jennifer.

  7. Michele Morin

    I hear you. I get confused, though, thinking of myself as a rung on the generational ladder, or a sandwich-maker who can function heroically without sleep. Every once in a while we need to hear the truth, don’t we.

  8. Tara Ulrich

    Oh Jennifer yes, let’s not sleepwalk through life. It is so easy for us to do that. But you are right. We are all persons….not machines, agendas, etc. This is one of my fave pieces of yours.

  9. Jennifer Dougan

    Hi Jennifer,

    I followed Alecia Simersky over to you. Nice to meet you. 🙂

    Your lines here are what most convicted me tonight: “…but there is carnage. There were missed opportunities with friends on
    the phone, unplayed games with the girls, cranky words “shushed” to my
    family.” The hurt reality of that sometimes in my life too is always a powerful motivator to me to stop and spend time with my family, foregoing or delaying the To Do lists. It’s hard for me to do some days.

    Have a nice night,
    Jennifer Dougan



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