Saturday, March 14, 2009

Uh-oh. Made you yawn.

Ohhh…arrr…hoo-ahhh-mmm! That felt good. But why did this text-yawn make you yawn? You haven’t yet? You will soon.

Animals, fish, and human fetuses yawn. Some people think we yawn because we’re sleep-deprived, decompressing after stress, or stabilizing ear pressure. Others guess that yawning is actually a physiological mechanism to concentrate attention when we’re just not personally involved (bored). Some of us yawn more often on a dark and cloudy day, during soft and slow music—or in a committee meeting!

In a 2007 issue of the Journal of Evolutionary Psychology (bedtime reading?), researcher Andrew C. Gallup unequivocally states that yawning is contagious, and postulates that yawning cools the brain so it can operate more efficiently. (Since heat is an energy transfer, maybe our brains are smokin’ hot from processing the journal article.)

Remember the illustration of the pig and the chicken at breakfast time. The chicken is involved in contributing the egg to the menu, but the pig is truly committed to providing the bacon. (Some doctors say that humans should be wholly committed to fruits and grains in the morning.)

We don’t often yawn when we’re physically, intellectually, or emotionally engaged—truly committed. When we’re telling a personal story, we’re full of energy and enthusiasm. Jesus said that when we’re witnessing before authorities, God will provide the words for us. Even when we’re comforting and encouraging people in Jesus’ name, we’re energized. Yawning usually won’t happen at times like that.

The word “enthusiasm” is rooted in Greek “en theos,” translated “God within” or “possessed by God.” Although it’s nearly impossible to describe to an unbeliever, believers share the experience of God speaking to our hearts. It may be actual words and sentences, a conviction, the urge to action, a visual image, the memory of a similar situation, or an entirely new concept that never before entered your mind. When God speaks, you are enthused.

Enthusiasm should be as contagious as yawns. When it is that “catchy,” it’s called “evangelism.” When we know Jesus as the Friend who intensely loves us from eternity past to eternity future, we cannot be blasé or indolent. His commission to preach the good news of salvation by grace is not an easy task—but He gives us the tools to do His bidding.

“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.” Hebrews 6:10-12 NIV.

The Lord wants to possess you—inhabit you. Look at the enthusiasm He calls you to in Deuteronomy 30:8-10 The Message, “And you will make a new start, listening obediently to God, keeping all his commandments that I'm commanding you today. God, your God, will outdo himself in making things go well for you: you'll have babies, get calves, grow crops, and enjoy an all-around good life. Yes, God will start enjoying you again, making things go well for you just as he enjoyed doing it for your ancestors. But only if you listen obediently to God, your God, and keep the commandments and regulations written in this Book of Revelation. Nothing halfhearted here; you must return to God, your God, totally, heart and soul, holding nothing back.”

Totally, heart and soul, holding nothing back. That’s how God blesses us, and that’s the love He desires from us. We’ll forget all about yawning.

Related links (Especially the “interesting yawning facts” sidebar!)

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