Sleep is a beautiful thing.
Have you ever seen those commercials?
I’ve enjoyed my sleep for quite a long time. For a while, I would have said that I had to get eight hours of sleep every night, or I was a cranky bear. Often, I would actually count backward to figure out exactly when I needed to go to bed to get my eight hours, and part of the cranky bear problem was really just me being cranky about not getting the “full night’s sleep” rather than really, actually being exhausted in the morning.
God’s teaching me things. Apparently, he has stores of energy available for me if I would just live and breathe and pray more, and stop worrying so much about how much sleep I actually get or about how much I have to do or about whether I’ve taken care of all of my to-do lists. Or as my dear friend, Ayschia, once said to me in college, “If you’d stop making lists and just spend half your time actually doing the things on your lists, you’d get a heck of a lot done!”
In the past few weeks, it’s been more like 6.5 hours per night. Which is not too shabby. And, until last week, I was still functioning at quite a high level, and I was waking up to my “body clock” in the morning, which seems to wake me up earlier than I’m ready. But instead of getting all fussy and checking the exact sleeping minutes that I got, I often thought, “Well… I might as well take advantage of this peaceful morning.” And those mornings were glorious.
This morning, I slept in, and I missed the flowers waking up the way that I usually see them, and I missed the early-morning watering of our souls. But, I did need to sleep in, so… I took advantage of that. And sleep is very important, but so is nature and time to breathe and time to pad barefoot around my yard in the dew-filled grass with my pup. I have realized that this last week, when I was spinning out of control, I barely saw the sunlight… I was jetting off to work and returning when it was dark, each day, and my brain and my body and my heart got so, so tired and confused. It was an odd feeling and definitely not a good one. And, I am sure that there are many reasons why that happened, but one of them was that I wasn’t getting enough sleep, and another was that I wasn’t ever outside. I didn’t even know that it had been really hot in St. Louis, if that tells you anything.
God means for us to rest, and I’m trying to practice that now. But, I feel oddly out of practice despite a very recent refreshing summer.
When my parents’ sweet Riley Roo died, I remember my mom talking about how mentally exhausted she was. Not only had they been up with her at odd hours for nights before, but the day they discovered her cancer and put her to sleep, my mom said that she was spent. Her whole body just longed for bed. And after sleeping, I checked on her the next day, and she felt so much better. Things were still very difficult and emotional, but it was better. God allowed her to recharge a bit and put some distance between herself and that very awful day. You know that he was the one that created sleep, right?
Every time we rest, God is working redemption, restoring what was broken or low on fuel. I’ve never really thought before of sleep as a redemptive thing, except that I loved it and wanted more and more, and was sometimes REALLY thankful to go to bed or take a nap and wake up more refreshed. But God is in the business of restoring and making beauty out of broken things. And we are broken, even in ways as simple as running out of energy or getting tired and cranky, or feeling exhausted or uninspired, or having headaches. And God can heal, even through sleep. Every day, he gives us rest, both awake and during sleep, if we’ll receive it and look for it, and even sometimes when we’re not aware that we are. His graces are new every morning; we just have to peel the layers off of our blinders (allow God to heal and open our eyes), and we’ll see it. He’ll amaze us and fill us up with hope and gospel eyes, if we will just pray, and take deep breaths, and look, intently.
I’m sure I’m just on the very beginning of the journey of learning of God’s restorative and redemptive power, at work within us, but I’m going to keep praying to peel back those layers, for God to reveal more and more to me of his goodness and his grace. Of what He sees. Of His vision for his kingdom and how he is working that out, in his timing.
I’m keeping my eyes peeled, with His help. I suggest that you do, too.
And whatever way that you get rest, whether that be through sleeping, gardening, writing, and getting into the Word (like me) or in some other completely different way, be sure to do that, soon. Don’t delay. Take your Sabbath. And spend it doing the things that restore you, and praise God for that restoration.