31 May

Behold, He who keeps Israel
Will neither slumber nor sleep.
Psalm 121:4 (NASB)

I can sleep because God never does.
So why don’t I?

What makes the last hours of a day so intensely appealing? Perhaps I believe that time belongs only to me, my opportunity for reading or just thinking. Most mornings I devote to Scripture and prayer. The day belongs to others. Nighttime is mine. Of course, that’s not really true. Every minute is a gift from God and belongs to Him.

However, there are times when late nights aren’t a choice. Not sleeping can now be as simple as drinking caffeinated tea at dinner (or getting older). Sometimes I don’t sleep because my mind is going ninety miles an hour. I have to get up and read to stop the flow of endless thoughts. Years ago, I’d fall into bed exhausted, then beat myself up over what I didn’t get done that day. God taught me to let go of my perfectionism and get some balance in my life. Share the load; say “no” more often. Take a nap on Sunday afternoon. I was doing very well until. . .

About a month ago, I agreed to teach a women’s Bible study. I won’t bore you with the format demands and hopes for having it published. Short version—I’m spending more writing hours than daylight affords. I can’t give up my role as caregiver, family member, church member, or even gardener. Not to mention cooking, laundry, and a bazillion other things required in creating a home.

I figure at this point, it’s time to pull out a couple of Proverbs to support my new sleepless routine.
“Do not love sleep or you will end up poor. Keep your eyes open, and you will have plenty to eat” (Proverbs 20:13 GW).
“A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man” (Proverbs 6:10–11 ESV).

H-m-m-m. Perhaps there’s a difference between sleep deprivation and laziness. Studies show 70 million Americans are sleep-deprived, contributing to increased accidents, worsening health and lower test scores. A German study reveals adequate sleep is directly linked to creativity and problem solving.

Perhaps I had better find scripture that fits the situation rather than seek justification for what I know is unhealthy.
“It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives sleep to his beloved” (Psalm 127:2 NRSV).
”Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19 NASB95).

A little over a year ago I made my health, weight-loss, and adequate sleep a priority. Now (to use a good ol’ southern term) I’m back-sliding. I’m not treating God’s temple as holy. So here I am at 11:52pm writing down thoughts on sleeping—or not sleeping. It’s choice time. I choose eight hours of sleep and clearer thinking. I will trust God to help me prioritize, eliminate, and focus.

For thus the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said,
“In repentance and rest you will be saved,
In quietness and trust is your strength.”
But you were not willing
(Isaiah 30:15 NASB95)

Tonight I’m willing.

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