Sleep, day two (I hadn’t slept for almost 10 years)

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SLEEP, Day One, click here for the previous post on this topic

This is part of my story

I had one of those sort of everything-in-your-life-changes-and-you-weren’t-expecting-it crisis events last summer, which I will not go into right now, but suffice it to say, I suddenly had “time on my hands.”  In theory, I could relax, get some things done around the house and catch up on projects if I wanted to.  Everyone I knew, especially my family – my kids and husband and my mom – kept telling me God was giving me this “opportunity” for some much-needed rest.

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But I didn’t rest.  I couldn’t.  Especially since I suddenly wasn’t working at a paid position, I felt it was very important not to be lazy.  For whatever reason (a type-A dad?  our culture?  guilt?), the scriptures in the Bible about laziness and the sluggard blink as neon signs in my head.  When I “consider the ant…” I see that those little boogers just don’t stop.

Consider the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise. Proverbs 6.6

My value for years had been wrapped up in how much I could accomplish, how busy I was.  I couldn’t remember a conversation with anyone important in my life that wasn’t about how much we were doing, but how much we weren’t getting done.  I had been on an out-of-control roller coaster performer for my entire professional life and even when given a pause, a chance to float in the pool, I could not change the pace.

So, when this “time” became “available” to me, I filled it like the mad-woman, restless, Type-A maniac that I was and worked harder than ever cleaning, mopping, washing walls, scrubbing floors, edging the lawn – by hand!

By hour 12 or 13 in the day, I would be so sore I could barely move, but I didn’t want God or anyone else to catch me being lazy.  My “time off” was killing me!  The thing is, I hear people, especially women, talk about getting an extra day for themselves and yet they fill it with garage cleaning or some other big project and would never think about doing something restorative. Even though God used the 7th day to rest, we keep going like those annoying Energizer bunnies essentially refusing to enjoy the day to rest or “sleep in.”

So I know I am not alone.

When did you last sleep, really sleep, and wake up completely refreshed and restored without feeling guilty about it?  How many years have you been rest-less?

Our local Safeway has a used book table to raise funds for a non-profit group.  One morning by chance, I picked up a book, Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial & Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives. by Richard Swenson, MD.  Here is what I saw as I leafed through it that made me wonder if there might be another way to live and convinced me to pay the 50 cents for it…

“We must have some room to breathe.  We need freedom to think and permission to heal.  Our relationships are being starved to death by velocity.  No one has time to listen, let alone love God.  Our children lay wounded on the ground, run over by our high-speed good intentions.  Is God now pro-exhaustion?  Doesn’t He lead people beside still waters anymore?

Something has been stolen from us that we can’t quite name.  Who plundered those wide-open spaces of the past, and how can we get them back?  There are no fallow lands for our emotions to lie down and rest in.  We miss them more than we suspect.”

I had a sense God might be trying to chase me down and teach me something, but He’d have to catch up with me first!

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My body was breaking down.  New physical symptoms of unhealthiness were cropping up weekly, one thing affecting another.  My marriage and all valuable relationships were badly damaged, starving to death in the wake of my obssesive activity level.  I wished I could be Mary in my relationship with God, but I could only understand Martha – somebody has to do the work!

But God in His grace was about to shine a light to expose my pride and sin against the Sabbath and also give me the gift of sleep – a gift I could have had earlier and one you get to have, too. This is a good thing. Believe me when I tell you.

Go ahead and yawn…imagine real rest, a blessing from God if ever there was one, Jeanie

NOTE TO SELF:  Perhaps I’ll take a nap today…

Read all the posts from this series:

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