I know everyone says you’re supposed to have 7-8 hours of sleep every night. But, I’m a night owl. And on top of that, I wake up early for Bible study/prayer and to get dressed for work. All told, I average 4-5 hours of sleep most nights. Sometimes, it’s less but rarely is it more.
My brain tells me this is completely unsustainable. I even read an article awhile back linking weight gain, cancer and other illnesses to lack of sleep. You’d think that get my attention, but no.
There’s so much to do, I tell myself instead. I must make the most of every waking hour and then some.
The only thing is I’m noticing my to do list isn’t significantly shorter on the days I sleep 2-3 hours. Not even by a mile. So, for what purpose then am I running myself ragged?
“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord guards the city, the guard keeps watch in vain. It is vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives sleep to his beloved.” (Psalm127:1-2)
I knew I was on to something when I finally opened a journal I picked up at a women’s conference a few months ago and flipped it open to a section on rest. It shed light on “selah”–a word used throughout the book of Psalms. Selah means to “stop and rest, change direction, change emphasis, change tempo…pause and meditation.” It went over the very first mention of the concept of rest in Genesis when God rested on the seventh day of creation.
Rest? What’s that? I know go, but not so much stop. God carved out time for the Sabbath–a period of rest. Yet, me in all my imperfect humaneness believe that if I keep running long enough, I can get done all that needs to get done, accomplish all I want to accomplish and fix all that needs to be fixed.
The problem is, I alone can’t do it all, which means I have to trust God to cover the gap. The journal hit home hard by posing the question, “Am I willing to lay aside the pressure of work to trust God as my provider?”
I thought I was fooling myself into believing sleep is overrated. I heard Puff-Daddy say that very thing on a reality show once, so it must be true, right? Except God’s not in the habit of creating things for no reason. He is very intentional and purposeful. He took time out to rest. So Selah, Sabbath, rest–it all has a purpose.
We’re called to rest. Rest allows us time to think. To get rejuvenated for our families and ourselves. It provides downtime for our body to restore itself. It demands faith to believe the world won’t fall apart if we just simply rest.
If rest is God’s idea, I want some of that. What about you? My goal this week is to get those 7-8 hours of sleep I’m supposed to get. To be honest, Sunday night was my first go at it, and it was hard. I lowered the temperature, did a little soothing nighttime reading, put on my sleeping mask…and then proceeded to toss and turn for what seemed an eternity. I watched a recent video of Dr. Caroline Leaf–a Christian scientist studying the brain–who affirmed it takes 21 days to create a new habit and a full 63 days to make sure it’s completely in place. Day 3, she said, of trying something new is always the hardest. So, here’s to 62 more days of a new attitude about rest.
Your turn…how are you with resting? Do you find it comes easy or difficult to you?