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Week 1 (Resilience Requires Rest) - Day 2

Posted by The River on

Sleep is a gift from God. Sleep is essential to resilience.

Begin

All this week, begin by slowing yourself in mind and body. Slowing helps to invite awareness of both God and yourself. If it helps you to move while you pray and reflect, consider a slow walk.

Intentional, deep breathing is especially helpful to slow us, and combining your breath with one of the names for God as a simple prayer (Jesus, Shepherd, Healer,...) helps to open a conscious connection with God. (If you’d like to know a bit more about what you’re doing here and how others practice it, you might enjoy this article:  Take Time for Breath Prayer | WomenLeaders.com)

Begin with 2 minutes (setting a timer is helpful) of deep, slow breaths with your prayer word. Feel free to go longer as time and desire permits.

As you finish your “breath prayers,” spend another (at least) 2 minutes noticing yourself today. Notice anything you notice, but, in particular: What do you notice in your body today? Do you find pain?...tension?...peace?...energy?

Scripture

Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. 
1 Kings 19:3-5

God gives sleep to his beloved.
Psalm 127:2

Elijah is at the end of his rope physically, emotionally, and spiritually. On the run with Jezebel after him to kill him, it’s not entirely surprising that he asks God to go ahead and be the one to take his life. Elijah is exhausted on every level, defeated, despairing...and he sleeps.

Sleep is such a normal part of life that we don’t often think about how powerful and how essential it is. That is, until sleep is disrupted in some way. Going without good sleep for any extended period of time brings this awareness to the surface, often vividly! Amazing things happen while we sleep: learning is committed to memory, our brains check the balance of hormones and enzymes and proteins in our bodies, toxins are flushed out of our systems,... An article in Time magazine praised sleep as “nature’s panacea, more powerful than any drug in its ability to restore and rejuvenate the human brain and body.” (For those interested to read further about the gift of sleep: The Power of Sleep | Time)

Sleep is a gift from God. Sleep is essential to resilience. 

  • What is your relationship with sleep? Historically? Currently?
  • Despite what we may tell ourselves, the experts are quite clear that nearly all people need 7-9 hours of sleep a night. How close or far are you from that target?
  • Sometimes life circumstances prevent us from getting the sleep we need at the moment, but for those who have choices in regards to sleep...What keeps you from sleep? Are you willing for a sleep adjustment? What would it require of you?...of others in your household? What would that adjustment be?

Close your reflection in prayer, talking with God as you’d talk with a friend about your thoughts and needs related to sleep. Thank God for this amazing gift and invite God to help you receive it more fully.

You could also use this Prayer Before Sleep as you get ready for bed tonight...and any night.

Dear God, as I lay me down to sleep, 
relax the tension of my body; 
calm the restlessness of my mind; 
still the thoughts which worry and perplex me. 
Help me to rest myself and all my problems in your strong and loving arms. 
Let your Spirit speak to my mind and heart while I am
asleep, so that, when I wake up in the morning, 
I may find that I have received in the night-time, 
light for my way;
strength for my tasks; 
peace for my worries; 
forgiveness for my sins. 
Grant me sleep tonight, and tomorrow power to live. 
- Author Unknown

Sharing

Scripture wisely instructs us to make the spiritual journey with others for the help and support of companionship. As you invest time in personal reflection, invest also in communal connection. Join our 12 PM Zoom Challenge Gathering today (and everyday, Monday - Friday) and/or with your household, your small group, a friend,...

  • Talk about your sleep habits and your reflections on them.
  • Read the article from Time magazine with others and share your responses to it. This could be a great piece to read with teenagers and/or to summarize for younger kids, starting a conversation about the significance of sleep to our overall well-being.
  • Sleep is often impacted by those we live with. Consider talking together about morning and evening routines and what you need from one another to make a lasting change to your sleep patterns.

Join us on Zoom: Monday - Friday at 12 PM

Meeting ID: 818 5542 9409
Passcode: resilience

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