Ever since I was a teenager, I struggled with sleeping. I tell you this as I write this post late at night, and the clock now reads 2:15 am. I have always caught my “second wind” around 9:00 pm when people in my life are winding down on a normal schedule. Beginning in my teenage years, I was prescribed medication to sleep. Even when I would give in and take the medication, sometimes I still would not get sleepy until the wee hours of the morning.
I never understood why I could not go to bed at a decent time, wake up refreshed and be alert during normal hours. I was convinced that I don’t like to sleep, and anyone in my life can attest to this. Rather, I’m not particularly eager to sleep when I should. I get so much of my “to-do” list accomplished between 9:00 pm and 2:00 am. Can anyone else relate?
Related Post: Are you really THAT busy?
I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true. I feel more productive late at night. During the day, I am running from one meeting to another. I am putting out one fire and trying to prevent others from starting. I am trying to manage my work life and my personal life and somehow still get my church life in the mix. My life is full of change, and I always welcome the challenge. I’m taking conference call after conference call, driving to the grocery store, while managing meetings on the Bluetooth in the car. Talk about ineffective.
As the clock ticks by later and later, I begin to recognize a change.
Something in my behavior has changed. My pattern is off. There is a part of my life that is not being fulfilled, and although the change is subtle, it’s enough for me to notice my patterns are way off track—more off-track than normal. What was once 1:30 am is turning into 2:00 am, and then 2:30 am…
- Am I doing my daily devotionals in the morning – YES
- Was I listening to worship music on my way to work to be spiritually ready for the day – YES
- Am I listening to a few devotionals during the day to stay focused – YES
- On my way home from work, am I listening to worship music – Ummmm…
- I’m lying down in the late evening and reading a few chapters of books that were fulfilling to me – Ummmm…
- Was I spending time a night reading my bible and studying the word – Well… Ummmm…
Okay, I notice the change. The ending of my days aren’t as consistent as my mornings.
Although not a morning person, I am armed for the day and ready to tackle any challenges I face. In the evening, I wasn’t arming myself for the night tackles. I wasn’t preparing myself for the times the enemy does his best work. My brain was not full of the word, and my drive home was just as stressful as my daily activities. Where I once completely shut down and went back into worshiping on the way home and sitting down to read a few chapters in a rewarding book, I was carrying the stresses of my day with me in the car and into my after-hours life.
1 John 2:16-17 NIV reads: “For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”
I didn’t need medication to wind down. I needed to be OF the world, but not IN the world. No one required me to work after hours. No one demanded that I try to juggle work while I was at home. Those are choices I made. My schedule is in my control. How I manage my time is just that, how I choose to manage it.
First Things First
One year, a very close friend of mine, who I still do life with today, suggested I fast the sleeping medication I was taking. I have always said negative things about taking it and always talk about not wanting to depend on it to sleep. I am thankful I have people in my life who have permission to speak this type of truth to me. She said, “then don’t do it for 3-weeks during the fast (and quit drinking energy drinks).” That’s a whole different post about energy drinks, but I did it. I have to be honest, it was not easy, and I wanted to give up plenty of times and give in to my old ways.
I started blocking off time for myself during the day. Although not everyone will be able to do this, I literally schedule a time to walk around my work campus and get some fresh air and clear my mind. Do I scare people and bellow out lyrics with Amanda Cook? Yes, I sure do…dare someone look at me funny (ha!). To this day, I still have those walks scheduled on my calendar. I also have scheduled all of the things important in my life on my work calendar. This helps people know when I am unavailable, and I do not allow that time to be compromised. For instance, I used to cancel important “me” time appointments, like getting my hair done or getting a massage.
Getting Rest is Required
If we do not take care of ourselves, no one else will. I use to cancel eye appointments and reschedule dental visits, all for the sake of work. Being late to meetings and training at work and missing family dinners became the norm. Why? I didn’t have first things first.
Psalm 62:5-6 NIV reads: “Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.