One of the biggest, best, and most powerful changes I've made over the past 4 months is letting God transform my thinking and attitude about sleep and rest.
I've always hated to go to sleep. I love thinking and day-dreaming and striving after those dreams. I love following God's calling on my life and working as much as I can on the nuts and bolts of that quest. I simply hate calling an end to the day.
I also hate to sleep in. Everyday feels like Christmas in the sense that I can't wait to wake up and pick up where I left off the night before. In the great words of Michael Scott from The Office, "I'm a night owl and an early bird so I'm wise and I like to eat worms." Hahaha, I love that!
But I way over-worked myself over the past 10 years and especially for the first 7 months of this year. I was not only running on empty. I was running on the last remaining gas vapors in the tank.
One of the great things about life is that it doesn't conform to your demands; you have to conform to its structure. And I found out the hard way that REST & SLEEP are an absolute requirement in life and for the body. There is no escaping it. I can neglect, but I can't escape it. At some point sleep deprivation catches up to everyone.
I always knew the importance of sleep, but since I rarely noticed the negative effects of not getting enough sleep then I thought I was the exception to the rule... Until the wheels fell off in July. I was so worn down and worn out that I knew my body was trashed. I could feel my body literally dying. I estimated that if nothing changed I had about 2 months left before I would have to be admitted to a hospital for exhaustion.
Thankfully I had enough horse sense to make immediate and drastic changes. I stopped over-relying on my strength to grind it out day after day after day and started transitioning to applying wisdom to my mindset about rest.
I conceded that my approach was partially right. Hard work is important and a gift from God. Nothing of value comes into creation without applied effort. God proved that during the first 6 days of creation. But I had to embrace that the PROPER AMOUNT of rest and sleep (not to the point of being a sluggard) is JUST AS IMPORTANT. God proved that on the 7th day of creation when, as some have said, God created rest.
So in August, after our summer camps were done, I took 3 weeks off from physically striving. I rested. I got caught up on sleep. And I studied about the importance of sleep and rest. God says that if we want to be transformed it happens by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2) so I began to seek Him for a renewed mind about rest and sleep... and immediately began applying everything I learned.
To my astonishment, proper sleep and rest immediately fixed a lot of things. My body now had time to repair itself, refresh itself, and recharge itself. A majority of my minor aches and pains were healed. My mind was crisp. My attitude was even more positive than usual. My drive to strive was refueled, but I had to stop running the gas tank down to empty! I had to make a lasting change.
I used to go to bed around 2am and get up by 7am. Now I've disciplined myself to go to bed by midnight and get up around 7am. Actually my body wakes up ready to go around 5am, but since I'm still recovering from over-working I try to go back to sleep until 7am. Believe it or not, it takes discipline to hold yourself back.
I do allow myself 2 nights each week to stay up till 2am (usually on the weekend) and I take Sundays off completely as my Sabbath as God instructs us. In addition, I've been very consistent to take Saturdays off as well.
All the proper sleep and healthy amounts of rest have revived my body. It's only 4 months later and I feel so healthy, strong, and capable. And it doesn't cost a dime. That along with proper nutrition and exercise are a trifecta of natural potency!
So below is my new mindset about sleep and rest. It was a hard road to get here, but I'm so glad I'm finally here! Thank You Jesus! Praise God!
The "REST" Of The Story: Sleep is one of the best things we can do for our body, mind, and emotions. Sleep is when our body heals itself. It's when we recharge our batteries. It's when we prepare for the next 16-18 hours of full living. It's not the end of a long day; it's the start of a new great day! It's not the caboose at the end of a long train; it's the engine. Sleep is the foundation that productive, effective, successful, powerful, abundant, fruitful days are built on. Adequate sound sleep is one of the BEST things you can do for your body, mind, and emotions. Sleep is not your enemy, it's one of your best friends! God designated 1/3 of life, 1/3 of each day, for sleep... that alone should clue me in to the colossal importance of good sound sleep.
STRiVE to THRiVE!