I had one of those four and a half hour nights recently. I was running low on energy and high on bad attitude the next day. The next night was different. 7-8 hours of sleep does wonders for me. It calms my emotions and improves my confidence—neither too low nor unwisely high. It makes me listen better but also I feel I share and talk more appropriately.
I woke re-freshed, realizing how important it was to “enter” into rest.
Entering is a mystery. Yes, we know things that can help get us to get illusive sleep but the actual mechanism of entering are amazingly complex.
The top six things that have helped me get enter more often than not:
- No media for the last hour before bed and absolutely no TV, Radio or electronic technology in our bedroom.
- No big meal after 6pm and preferably no water or even light food after 7pm, to allow both the bladder and stomach to be empty by bedtime.
- No heavy exercise after 7pm either. It heats my system too much. However a stroll works wonders to relax my muscles, circulate blood and calm my thoughts. Walking around my neighborhood, with its trees and homes and people, also make for rewarding conversations.
- Work out conflict if possible with others, even if you just decide to disagree for a while.
- Waking up within the same hour or 90 minutes every day (yes, including weekends and holidays) has been shown to get your body in a rhythm. A nap can help or hurt that rhythm. If you need one, try it before lunch or at least before 3pm to avoid off-setting the process of “entering” that evening.
- Prayer, as family or couple or personal helps us enter that rest. I still enjoy the resting process in this classic prayer of surrender: “Now I lay me down to sleep. I prayer the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake. I pray the Lord my soul to take.” Or the more rousing ending, If I should live another day, I pray the Lord to guide my way. Amen.”
This daily rest is crucial, but not the only rest I have come to see as essential for life. I believer their our seven others that have a similar process od entering.
- The Chill out rest: the hourly or moment by moment decision to relax strolling into “enter” into belief that God is for you not against you. We come into his PROVIDENCE. Just chill out Duane!!!
- The Night rest: the one I just discussed as daily 7-9 hours of restful sleep. This is soooo important. If you are not getting this, get help.
- The Weekly rest: this is the one Adventists focus on for a good reason. This is crucial for relationships—with God and man; and with our world. We celebrate from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. Which allows us to triple rest—chill out, move into the night rest and start a Sabbath rest all together.
- The Yearly rest—Three times a year individuals in the Old Testament were to go up for feasts—spiritual and nutritional healing times, with time to talk to God and each other.
- The Spiritual rest—entering the gospel is probably the most important of all these rests. It is a living in the light of the gospel of God’s great love and provision for us. We rest from our works realizing he has and will do all we need done. We lean on His agency of working out in us this mystery of entering and resting.
- The Judgment rest—Yom Kippur was the most important day of rest for the Jewish nation. Adventist believe we are now in the judgment. We can enter this rest in a very powerful way outlined by Micah 7:9; John 8 and John 9. Revelation 14 reminds us this judgment message is not into addition to the gospel, it IS part of the everlasting gospel.
- The Final Rest—one day there will be a restful place for all in a heavenly places that doesn’t need nights to get a good rest.
I hope you can enter these rests also.
Next time we will look at the rest robbing issues and even false rest.