Sleep. We need it.

This isn’t as obvious a comment as one might think. As a young mom, I managed to go long periods of time without it. I’d feed a newborn in the middle of the night, then rise and shine with my older kids in the morning. Keep moving through the day till night comes. The kids went to bed. I’d hit the hay–till the littlest woke up for his 2 a.m. snack. Begin again.

As the kids grew, I became busier. School, extracurricular activities, and responsibilities at work. Fudging on sleep became a habit that I felt unable to give up. The extra time in my day felt necessary, even though it was often masked in bleariness.

I told myself I’d gotten used to five or six hours a night. I couldn’t see any adverse effects on my behavior. I was busy all the time, and being a profound people-pleaser, I said yes to more than I could do well. I pushed through. Weekends, which were the busiest with soccer games, became the time I hit the wall.

I’d left myself no margins.

As I’ve gotten older, sleep is not a safe friend. I either toss and turn all night, unable to shut my mind off, or I resent waking because I’ve just gotten to the point of being relaxed.

Awareness has come with age. I’m not always nice when I don’t get enough sleep.

What a surprise.

My husband just returned from a trip overseas where he moved forward thirteen hours. After ten days, just getting oriented to his new norm, he had to fly home. He wakes up every night for several hours, reading his Kindle in bed. His body is exhausted but his internal clock is messed up.

What’s funny is how flexible kids are. My oldest and her family of eight just returned from leading soccer camps just outside Barcelona. Only a six hour time change, but the parents were struggling with getting enough sleep while the kids slept when they were tired. The younger they were, the easier it was for them to sleep and wake on a cycle that fit them. Easing back into their time frame.

Kids don’t have as many concerns on their minds. Their sleep isn’t filled with thoughts about work deadlines, budget concerns, or family needs. They don’t have to work at making margins for rest–they take what they need. That sweet gift flees as they get older, as concerns, relationships, and activities fill their waking hours.

The more burdens I carry, the less freedom I give myself to let go of worries and rest.

It’s why I dump my cares on Jesus.

This isn’t a crutch issue. It’s an opportunity for me to have confidence that Someone else is in this race with me, running by my side, never leaving me. I’m learning to draw on his strength. Mine isn’t enough.

I’m not willing to go through life bearing more than I can handle. I don’t help anyone like that.

With Jesus willingly sharing my burdens, the load is a lot lighter.

That might lead to a better night’s sleep.

 

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