I recently finished listening to the audiobook, "Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture." Although I feel the Lord has been helping me let go of some of my tendencies to overwork, overschedule, and overcommit, I was convicted that I still need more help in this area. In the book, the author, David Murray, discussed the importance of getting our bodies and minds the proper rest, recharge, and refreshment God designed them to have. He gave several examples of changes we could make to do this, but the one I struggle the most to incorporate in my life is giving my body proper sleep.
Research shows 7-9 hours of sleep a night is important for the body to function at it's best. Yet, over the past several years, I have rarely slept for as many as 7 hours. I consider nighttime to be prime working time. The kids are asleep, the house is quite, and I seem to think I have unlimited hours to cram in all the work or tasks on my to-do list that I wasn't able to get done earlier in the day. I often push through my list until my eyes can’t stay open anymore and then drop off to sleep. Since the kids are not yet at an age where sleeping in is attractive, this means the morning comes at the same time no matter how late I stayed awake the night before, often leading to less sleep than needed and resulting in a short temper and fuzzy brain throughout the day. Ultimately, this causes greater conflict in my family relationships and less productivity in my work.
Although I know I need more sleep, I tell myself there just isn’t any other way. There is so much to do, not enough time, and only me to do it. What the author reminded me of, however, is that when I tell myself these things, I am essentially saying that I don’t trust God. I don’t trust He has given me enough time in the day to complete the work He has for me and still get proper rest. I don’t trust He is in control and is fully capable of taking care of all the things that really need to get done. And, I don’t trust or respect how He has created my body to need proper sleep and rest. This was convicting to me. I want to trust God, and I want to rest in His capable hands. I want to believe the truth of the words in Psalms 127, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep” (vs 1-2). So, I am asking for the Lord’s help in this and trying to make a change. And if you struggle in this area, I pray He will help you too. May we not labor long, stay up late, or get up early in vain. May we not anxiously toil. But rather, may we find the rest the Lord is so eager to provide his children and trust that today’s works is enough for today.
NOTE: I found out while listening to this audiobook that “Reset” was written primarily for men. If you are a woman and are interested in reading this book, I would recommend the women’s version, “Refresh: Embracing a Grace-Paced Life in a World off Endless Demands, “ which is tailored more to the common struggles of women. Many people don’t realize they’re running at an unsustainable pace until they burnout physically, emotionally, and spiritually. These books give great information on helping you slow down to a more grace-paced life--enabling you to avoid the pitfall of burnout, cultivate sustainable habits for the future, and experience the rest of body and soul that God intends for you.
By Katie Miller
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