Monday, January 04, 2010

Getting Rid of The Sleepy Sloth

"How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep?" Proverbs 6:9

"He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son." Proverbs 10:5

"Do not love sleep or you will grow poor; stay awake and you will have food to spare." Proverbs 20:13

"The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour." Proverbs 21:25 (KJV)

Over the last several months I've been made more aware of my sleep habits. I really think it's something that God has brought to mind for me specifically, and I figured that it was about time I shared that here. Given that it's a new year and people make resolutions, managing time wisely is a great thing to be conscious of and try to make changes. When we decided to home school our kids, one of the huge benefits of doing so was that we were no longer going to be a slave to the alarm clock. We didn't have to set the alarm for a really early time to get up, get ready and go. We could just sleep until we weren't tired anymore.

Except that quickly became much more than that. It really didn't take long for that sleeping until not tired to get out of hand. (And when I'm talking about sleep here, I'm really only talking about myself- not my kids or my husband.) Where we were used to getting up at 6:30 for school, come summertime we were sleeping until 7:30 or so. Once we started school, I was getting out of bed around 7:30, but as the weeks went by, I started sleeping later, and later. And I would just smile to myself and say that it was okay- we could sleep late anytime we wanted to. But the problem was that I was doing it every day. Then our school day would be a little rushed, I would get a little irritated when things weren't done by the time I wanted them done. The worst part came when I realized that I was sleeping in much later than normal, spending the day sort of crabby and tired- only to crawl into bed early!

I was sleeping way too much. For me, it was too much. Oh, an occasional Saturday morning here and there would be fine- I don't think it would be a problem. But everyday I was sleeping in late and going to bed early, and all day long I was feeling lethargic and like I was dragging- which would lead to slothful behavior.

Slothfulness. One of the supposed "seven deadly sins". I can't say I hold much to that train of thought, but really. It says right here in Proverbs that if man won't work, man won't eat. And I was not working. Not in a job sense, but I would spend my mornings teaching, and then my afternoons here at the computer, or buried in a book. My rationalization was that I was tired, it was a long morning. Meanwhile, my home was getting filthier and filthier, meals were rushed because I would spend too much time at the computer, and then I would look at the clock, realize we had somewhere to be, and sit there and scold the kids for not eating fast enough. Then we'd come home from our evening activities, and everything would be rushed too, because I wanted to get to bed.

"Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners" Matthew 26:45

"Why are you sleeping?" he asked them. "Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation." Luke 22:46

Thank God for His mercy, and for opening my eyes to see. I had been reading the gospels, and read where Jesus was asking his disciples to pray, and the kept falling asleep on him. At first, the exchange kind of made me chuckle, but then it really seemed to leap off the page at me, and I just had to sit there and absorb what it was saying. I thought of what it's going to be like to get to heaven, and I thought about standing there before God, and what I would want Him to say to me. All I could think of was how horrible it would be to stand before God and hear him say something like "Well, you got a lot of sleepin' done, didn't you." Oh, the horror that flashed before my eyes! And I've been adjusting my sleep ever since. I've been staying up a little later at night and spending more time with my husband after the kids go to bed. And I've been getting up a little earlier in the morning. It's a fantastic thing to look at the clock and realize I'm done with my morning computer stuff and I still have a whole day in front of me to get a lot of accomplished.

As I've been adjusting, I've also been incredibly thankful that God brought this to my attention. I've long been lamenting the fact that my kids don't sleep in in the mornings. But guess what? I have two perfect examples of how sleep should be. They go to bed at a reasonable hour, and they get up when the sun wakes them up- ready to start a new day. Thank God they never have decided that sleeping in was a great thing! Thank God I didn't start them down a path of sleeping to much! For me, I was getting too much sleep, and it was affecting the rest of my days, making me even more tired. I'm not a growing infant who needs to sleep 75% of their time away, I'm a fully grown adult, and too much sleep is actually worse than too little sleep. With too little sleep, I may be tired throughout the day, and a little sluggish, and that's not good at all. But with too much sleep, I have that same tiredness AND I've slept away several hours where I could have been productive.

I am getting more accomplished during the day, which is really a blessing to my whole family- as well as those we interact with elsewhere. The majority of the world around us functions on a fairly normal 9-5 type of schedule. When our schedule is so out of whack because I'm sleeping too much, it makes it hard to fellowship and interact with people who are not members of our household. This past summer, it was really obvious with our lunch schedule. The neighbors would eat their lunch right around noon every day, and then they would be out to play, asking if the kids could play shortly afterwards. Well, because we were so wonky with our eating schedule, my kids weren't eating lunch till later, so they couldn't go out to play, because they needed to eat first. By the time they had lunch and were ready to go out to play, the neighbors would have to leave for a few hours to go to swimming lessons or something else. All that wasted time when my kids could have been sharing God's love, because I was busy sleeping.

I don't want to be known as that family who sleeps in all the time. And so, with God's help, we are changing that, and I, for one, am so incredibly thankful for the opportunity of a do-over. I am reminded of my old friend, the Wife of Noble Character, found in Proverbs 31. I know she doesn't sleep in. Ever. And while I may permit a day or two from time to time, the days of the sleepy sloth are over in our household. I may not be getting up while it is still dark to get ready for the day, but I am getting up, and praise God for that.

"She gets up while it is still dark;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her servant girls. " Proverbs 31:15

"She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night." Proverbs 31:18

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