Motivation, Discipline and Sleep.

Proverbs 6:10-11 NIV

A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest— and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.

We all like to rest (except perhaps workaholics) and we all need to sleep to survive. But too much sleep makes us lazy, and too little sleep makes us grouchy and unproductive. Too many times have I had a late night and not felt ‘in the mood’ to do an essay, and too many times have I overworked and been ‘too tired to go to church’. Spending all our time in bed or watching TV will mean we never get anything worth while done, but no time resting will wear us out. So how do we find balance?

Well first it is helpful to know that God gives us sleep (Psalm 127:2 tells us this). God doesn’t want us to be hooked up to a supply of caffeine all day and having a minimum 5 hours sleep so we can meet our deadlines and wake up early for work/school/uni. Sleep is a gift. Furthermore, that same Psalm (Psalm 127:2), tells us that God doesn’t want us to stay up late worrying ‘In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves’. If something is in vain it is meaningless, it is without any real positive purpose. It avails nothing. God wants us to sleep for a reasonable time, he’s designed our bodies to operate better when we do so.

But what has this got to do with motivation and discipline? Well if you’re anything like me, after a day of lectures or work we sit down and think ‘now it’s time to relax’, which of course translates to ‘stay up until 1 in the morning watching Netflix and playing video games’. Getting to bed on time, and waking up in the morning, is a discipline. It is one of the Christian disciplines that shows the most immediate tangible results. Now I realise that it isn’t always possible to get a good nights sleep, especially as a parent or someone who works night shifts, but getting into a habit of rest is important. I am not suggesting late nights and excessively early mornings are a sin (depending on what you do with that time), but I am hoping you can question whether what you do with that time is going to be fruitful, or help you to be fruitful in the future.

Now motivation is something of a byproduct of a good nights sleep. When we feel refreshed and have slept well, our brain and body is functioning well. Work seems less pf a burden and we are more prepared to function. I find it helps motivate me knowing there will be time to rest. At this point I will suggest sleep and rest are not always the same; sleeping rests the body and orders the mind, but sometimes a good talk with a brother can be just as restful and even more encouraging, as that extra hour’s sleep.

Now there is a time to stay up at night (Jesus prays all night in Luke 6:12), but there is also a time to sleep. Why was Jesus able to sleep during a storm in Matthew 8:24? Why was he not up and worried about the storm? He was calm, and peaceful. He trusted in the father, and knew he would be safe. Psalm 4:8 reads ‘In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety’. Don’t let worry keep you up, or wake you up, have the sleep God has granted you dear ones.

God bless you and Keep you Always.

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