I’ve been having trouble sleeping the past week or so – no, that’s not correct. I have had trouble getting to sleep the past week or so. It’s like I am tired early in the evening and then, for some inexplicable reason, I get my second wind and find that I am up late into the night. Then once I fall asleep, I have no problem sleeping through the night – I guess I am lucky that at least I get some uninterrupted time to rejuvenate. My grandmother used to call this “the sleep of the dead.” And come to think of it, it has been years since I have heard, or even thought about, that statement.
Then morning comes and I confess, I would rather stay in bed than get up and start the new day. I’m not sick – in fact, I feel great. I think it is the amount of mental energy I am expending right now on a number of projects I am involved in that is causing my weird sleep patterns. Admittedly, most of my work is mental, not physical, but tired is tired, regardless of the origin. Sometimes I am a little unsettled when I face the reality that I can’t go as long or as hard as I used to. But I think that I have learned a little about balance in my life – of course, those of you who know me well are probably laughing right now…..
I guess that I think that God has given me a great capacity and so I don’t want to waste that gift. In fact, I am a little afraid of not using my strengths to their fullest capacity. But at some point, we must exercise good judgment or God will make that decision for us; and I really don’t want to push things that far. Another issue is that I am surrounded by people who push themselves as hard, or harder, than I do. I certainly don’t want to disappoint them either.
I work with 4 major clients, all women, who own significant sized companies across the country and I am privileged to have leadership positions with all of them. And I love what I do – not like, but love, my job. As some of you know, it is only in the last 6 or 7 years that I have really been able to leverage my calling and combine it with my education and experience to truly impact change in those companies I am allowed to serve in. And I consider that a divine appointment – a sacred trust. I can’t even tell you how rewarding I find it when a company grows and provides a good livelihood for its employees, who then have job security and can influence the world through the lives they touch in the normal course of business. I get more energized than I already am, and that’s tough to do…..
Because when you love what you do, other people sense it and they catch your fever! They want to do better and everyone benefits. It’s awesome when its all working together. But sometimes, that contributes to the issue of rest. The more jazzed we get, the harder we work and that can lead to problems.
One of the things that I studied in my leadership and organizational communications coursework during my doctoral studies is that there are two kinds of stress. Positive and, of course, negative. The strange thing is that positive stress is more harmful to us than negative stress. Weird, huh? That’s because we try to get away from negative stress – we want it to end. But we are drawn to positive stress and we don’t want that kind of stress to end. In fact, we find ways to prolong the “high.” If you don’t believe me, think about all the people who enjoy type “A” activities; or the more than 10,000 people this week in Indy who climbed up 8 stories and rode the zipline for 800 feet. We become addicted to the rush of adrenaline; but that can really cause some bad health outcomes. Our bodies weren’t designed by God to sustain prolonged periods of adrenaline rush. Adrenaline is only for those times when we enter a primal “fight or flight” state, as any chemically altered state changes us physically.
So what’s the solution? Well, for starters, to have a better understanding of what stress can do to our bodies. Next, to realize that we aren’t honoring God when we work to the point of exhaustion and start to damage our bodies. So how do we slow down when we feel so compelled to keep going? You know where I’m going, don’t you? Yep, right to the Scriptures. Because I, and many of you, need to hear from God on this one. So here it is, from Matthew 11:28-29, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Notice the passage this evening is telling us more than to just find rest in God. There is another component here – and that is that we are to learn from God. In other words, don’t keep making the same mistakes over and over again. Take the time to learn what God wants from you and from me when it comes to taking care of ourselves. Enter into His rest. My encouragement this evening is to listen to God and don’t overdo it. My prayer is that God will give you a divine rest that you can only find it Him. And that once you enter into His rest, you may find that you want more of that…. I know I do….. Have a great day in the Lord…