Monday, September 28, 2015

Soaring or Hooting?



          I live in the owl kingdom. Eyes wide open, sometimes blinking against the worries of a day that ended hours earlier or perhaps anticipating the next day’s struggles, imagined or real. I wrestle against the guilt of not being one of those who are snuggled beneath cozy blankets with their heads resting on fluffy pillows. The eagles are being rewarded for a day’s hard work as they drift through patterns of sleep designed by our Creator, and they will be repaired and prepared to soar through another day.

          Not all of my sleepless hours are spent in a negative way. I love the quietness of my home and enjoy the glow of a small lamp illuminating a few of my favorite things against the wall facing my easy chair. The texture of yarn as it weaves from one knitting needle to the other with a slow, steady rhythm adds to the serenity of the moment.

          These stolen hours of self-indulgence come with a price. My body is losing valuable time of restoration in each area of my life: spiritual, physical, and emotional. God did not just create our bodies with a built-in need for proper rest, He also set the example.

“Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it,
because in it He rested from all His work
which God had created and made.”
(Genesis 2:3, NASB)

          God gave us sacrificial women permission to set life aside for a few precious hours each day. This period of rest affords us the time to cease from being a wife, mom, homemaker, and/or professional for a few precious hours out of each twenty-four. A time of not worrying, or planning, or living out the next day before it even arrives. Why would I make the conscious choice to struggle against such a gift, or for that matter, against the Giver:

 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”
(Matthew 11:28, NASB)

          While God uses the eagle as a symbol of strength and majesty, owls are not spoken of in such glowing terms. In the Psalms, a prayer of an afflicted man pouring out his complaint before the Lord likens himself to the wide-eyed of the night:

“I have become like an owl of the waste places. I lie awake,
I have become like a lonely bird on a housetop.”
(Psalm 102:6b,NASB)

          In recent years, the medical community has acknowledged the critical need for rest. Dr. Wayne Scott Anderson is one of the first doctors in the country certified in critical care. In his book, Discovering Your Optimal Health, he states:

          “Only in the last few years have science and medicine begun to understand that without enough high-quality sleep, our health and lives unravel. Poor sleep rivals poor diet and inactivity as a reason that 90 percent of us languish in a state of being non-sick (the state between optimal health and sickness) or have already slid onto the path to disease.”

          He goes on to say that we can be who we are. Larks or owls. As long as we get seven hours of sleep each night. Larks (or for the sake of this article, eagles) are morning people and will get more efficient rest by turning in at an earlier hour. Owls may not be able to will themselves to sleep at 9 PM or 10 PM for a wake-up call before dawn. A better bedtime for them (us) may be midnight to 7 AM. The key number here is seven, and isn’t it interesting that, in God’s design, “seven” is also the number for completion?

          More research on sleep disorders and helpful steps one can take to a good night’s sleep are available on the internet and in libraries, but we only need to look into the heart of God when it comes to His desire for our rest and well-being:

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul.”
(Psalm 23:1-3a,NASB)

          A good, peaceful night’s sleep is part of that restoration. Acknowledging that my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit carries the responsibility to be obedient and disciplined in how this temple is maintained. As much as I enjoy those purloined times of tranquility into the early morning hours, I need to, instead, accept the true peace that only comes from assurance in Jesus Christ:

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you;
not as the world gives do I give to you.
Do not let your heart be troubled,
nor let it be fearful.”
(John 14:27,NASB)

           If you are an eagle, I sincerely applaud you. If you suffer from rebellion in this area, as
do I, maybe it’s time we sidestep off of that nightly perch, grab some much-needed zzzz’s (for the seven hours that best fit our untimely schedule), and be ready to soar out of our nests in the morning.




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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Winning at Losing


          As many of you know, I've experienced exciting improvements in my health through weight loss over the past 3 years, and am now committed to helping others do the same by introducing the program and supporting them (a free health coach) as they embrace the changes for themselves.

          I'm beyond excited to share my experience in this month's issue of Christian Women's Voice. I am a contributor for the magazine, and we would love to have you check out Winning at Losing as well as great articles from Debbie Dillon (Found and Editor-in-chief) and other ladies who enjoy sharing their faith and friendship in each issue.

          Drop by www.christianwomensvoice.org and check us out. (Click on the CWV photo at the right.)  

          If you would like more information about the health program, please email me at NancyKSullivan49@gmail.com.

Thanks and God Bless.

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