“Treat sleep as a valuable and divine part of our existence.”
In my last post, I made the case that sleep is a precious gift from God, crucial to our health and wellbeing, and a barometer of our trust in God. (If you missed this post, CLICK HERE to read Sleep Is a Waste of Time, Part I.) Hopefully you’re now convinced we all need adequate periods of sleep, but how do we make this happen in our busy, jam-packed lives? In Part II and III of this series, I'll share six suggestions:
1. Begin your day with God. Theologian E.M. Bounds says, “He who fritters away the early morning, its opportunity and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking God will make poor headway seeking him the rest of the day.”
If we use our time of morning Bible reading and prayer as a time to seek God’s mind and will for our day, we can hold our To Do list up to his wise eyes and allow him to refine it. You might be surprised by the thoughts that come to you when you ask the Lord, “What would you have me to do today?” You might also be surprised to find that many of the must dos on your list don’t seem as important after you’ve prayed about them.
2. Choose carefully what you say yes to. Women think we can and should do it all. Not so. Even Jesus didn’t do it all. “Jesus didn’t meet every need,” writes DeYoung, “He left people waiting in line to be healed. He left one town to preach in another. He hid away to pray. He got tired. He never interacted with the vast majority of people on the planet. . . . And yet, he did everything God asked him to do.”
Oswald Chambers tells us “the good is often the enemy of the best.”
The world shrieks that our children will be stunted if they don’t participate in every extra-curricular activity available, attend every youth group event, and play a musical instrument. Multiply one child’s activities by three or four, and you have a family that is running ragged, seldom eats a meal together, and, yes, doesn’t sleep enough.
And who’s the last one to fall in bed late at night and rise before anyone else is awake? Mom.
Evaluating every commitment by asking, “Is this good, or is this the best for my family right now?” will help prevent us from spending our limited time and energy on unnecessary activities.
3. Do the most important things first. It sounds simplistic, but putting off what must be done each day often causes a late-night panic and flurry of activity that not only delays sleep, but often prevents it. If I reach the end of my day and there are still non-essential items on my To Do list, it’s no big deal. I can either let them go, or transfer them onto the bottom or tomorrow’s list.
4. Delegate, Team Up, or Swap. Because we can’t do it all, after we choose our activities wisely, we must delegate what someone else can do. This applies both inside and outside our home.
Our children are our most obvious and readily available sources of help for many of us. Training our children to do household chores is helpful and necessary. It teaches them valuable life skills, gives them a meaningful way to contribute to the family, and allows them to develop a work ethic that strives for excellence.
Sometimes, however, especially in the early years, this involves lowering our expectations. A child who is just learning to do a chore is seldom able to complete it to our standards, but that’s okay. Taking the long view of training reminds us that the most important thing is that he develops the disciplines of serving, hard work, and cooperation, not that he does a task perfectly the first or second time around. One final note – remember that you can only Expect what you Inspect.
For those of you who have no free source of slave labor, consider swapping tasks with a friend or teaming up to tackle them together. I’m often amazed at how much quicker difficult tasks go in the company of a friend.
To read Part I of Sleep Is a Waste of Time, CLICK HERE.
*For more information and to read the USA Today article, "If You Don't Snooze, You Lose, Health Experts say," CLICK HERE.
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