Sunday, November 20, 2011
“In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for You alone, O LORD, make me to dwell in safety” -Psa. 4:8
Sleep is mysterious. Since man was created, sleep has been an often neglected but essential element in human growth. All living creatures need to rest. The fact is, as important as our time is to us, we'll spend a third of our lives sleeping. And after all the research, we don't really know why.
But we do know God had a grand design for us. Do you ever wonder why he created us like He did? Why didn't he give us 3 ears or give us an eye on the back of our head? Why did he create us with a dependency on sleep? Perhaps He knew we needed to be forced to rest. Maybe He anticipated our "works curse" and it's hindrance to our lives.
Because the typical American family today is busy, busy, and BUSY! In most homes the stopwatch starts at 6:00am and ends late. In-between are meals, work, school, homework, practices, games, more meals, meetings, appointments, even more meals, church and even more meetings. The pace is crazy. But not all the activities are bad. It's great for families to be active and involved, but it's great for families to rest as well. No matter how crazy and busy the day, every family will eventually succumb to the need for rest and sleep. It's simply a part of our DNA.
By definition, sleep is a naturally recurring state characterized by reduced or absent consciousness, relatively suspended sensory activity, and inactivity of nearly all voluntary muscles. It is distinguished from quiet wakefulness by a decreased ability to react to stimuli, and is more easily reversible than being in hibernation or a coma. Sleep is also a heightened anabolic state, accentuating the growth and rejuvenation of the nervous, skeletal and muscular systems. It is observed in all mammals, all birds, and in many reptiles, amphibians, and fish.
And if we "listen" to our bodies, they will tell us when to slow down, close our eyes, and chill out. It's important that we teach out kids when to "go" and when to "stop.” It begins early with the "red light-green light game." Kids learn to move forward or stay put, depending on how the leader directs. Somehow, as we get older, we forget how to play the game. We forget to listen to the leaders God has placed in our lives. When we finally are forced to rest by exhaustion or sickness, we can usually recall other’s previous warnings.
So teach rest. As parents, teach it by living it. Teach it at three levels: the time to go, the time to rest and the time to rest as you go. We need to teach the value of work- that when the task is waiting, work hard and finish it well. We need to teach the value of rest- that when it's "sabbath time,” we need to truly rest and sleep.
But most importantly, we need to teach the concept of resting as we go. It’s the idea that, on the one extreme, we don't stay in bed all day or at the other extreme, we don't fanatically work all day. It’s the pace and balance in the middle. We teach our kids to work hard and rest hard. We teach them to have peace and contentment as they work, not one extreme or the other.
So be a do-er, but also be a rest-er. As is repeated so often in the Bible, “be still and know that He is God.”
And sleep very well tonight.
By Eric Joseph Staples ©