The A-B-Zzzzz’s of Leading

2014-08-01 08.51.29When I read this bit of ‘kid wisdom’ the first time, I laughed out loud! Followed closely by thinking, ‘Boy, ain’t that the truth.’

No one wants to follow a cranky leader.

There’s something to that old adage, ‘out of the mouths of babes’…for sometimes an 8-year-old has the best free advice that if we would heed it, could help change our attitude, our approach, and our atmosphere.

When you’re leading with your life, part of leading well is to recognize that a sleep-deprived, running on empty mind and body does not a great handler of stress make. Lack of sleep reduces our capabilities of dealing with stress.

Unfortunately, ours is a sleep-deprived society. Worse, society is proud of it.

I remember working with a woman many years ago who had four or five sons, marriage problems, an extremely busy fulltime position – and proudly operated on four hours of sleep a night. She was vocal about letting me know she didn’t require any more sleep than that. I begged to differ but didn’t, as I wasn’t going to change her mind. When I left that employer, she was on her fourth marriage.

However, working alongside her got me thinking more about sleep as God’s gift.

Sleep is essential.

God created our physical bodies to rest, rebuild, and get up and do it all over again.

Psalm 127:2 tells us, “It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors (anxious toil ); for He gives to His beloved even in his  sleep.”

The word gives  in Hebrew in that verse indicates that God is very active while we sleep – adding, appointing, ascribing, assigning, healing, avenging, bestowing, bringing forth, causing…and a whole host of other ‘ing’ words as blessings of care from the One who never slumbers and never sleeps. (Psalm 121:4)

Sleep deserves respect.

I can’t think of much else that is free, normal, and hard-wired into us that gives such benefit as sleep. In fact, sleep is necessary in order to live. There’s a reason sleep-deprivation is a favorite tool of the enemy – whether in human or spiritual warfare.

Take it to the bank – the Sleep bank.

Consider that sleep experts agree that a minimal amount of required sleep for the average adult is 8 to 9 hours per night. Before you snort coffee out your nose, I agree with you…not all of us are average sleepers. Or, there are little people in the house making that kind of sleep nothing but a daydream.

How much sleep do you  receive in a 24-hour period? Think of that as the repository – your sleep bank, if you will. Similar to a financial institution, you are making sleep deposits and withdrawals each day. And just like a bank account, too many withdrawals and not enough deposits doesn’t exactly leave you in a good mood.

Here are a couple of helpful tips to bear in mind to keep your sleep checkbook balanced…

1. Research shows that you have up to seven days to make up an ‘overdraft’ of sleep. If there are nights you were more awake than asleep, or got far less than your norm, make an effort within the week to make a good deposit or two back into your sleep account.

– Take a power nap. It lowers your adrenaline and soothes the savage nerves.

– If you can fit in an hour to ninety minutes, that’s best for it allows you to benefit from a full sleep cycle.

2. You may be full of vim, vigor and youth right now, but the bank knows your address. Too many years of sleep overdrafts not reconciled on a consistent basis (see #1) accumulates penalties. Besides a deep weariness that never quite goes away, your attitude, health, and relationships stand to grow weary too.

3. Like a credit card, don’t abuse sleep. And the good news is, you don’t have to purchase it anyway; God gave it to you as a precious gift for living life forward well.

“When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.”  Proverbs 3:24 NASB

And when you rise up…hopefully you will be too!

~ Nancy – from the Archives

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  1. Great post! So true. I could not sleep for several hours last night. Not anxious, not worried, just not able to sleep. I haven’t been doing great with making a lot of deposits, trying to get ready for a yard sale or a funeral or kids stuff as it is. So absolutely do I need to catch up a bit and be intentional about the sleep I should be getting.

    • Thanks for sharing, Jessica. I like that you used the word ‘intentional’ because that really is what it takes. There will ALWAYS be a long list clamoring for our attention but I’ve found I function better and more brightly when I have sufficient for my sleep needs. I know it isn’t easy, but it is possible. Those other things don’t go away, but sometimes they can wait for an hour. In a lifetime, what’s an hour when it brings out the sweet instead of the cranky pants? 🙂

  2. Very thoughtful and wise post.

  3. Great post, Nanc! It sure is one we can all “take to the bank” for sure. I’m a fan of those hour power naps, too. Thank you for reminding us how important sleep is to us.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Linda Jo…you’re welcome for the reminder! There really is something to ‘beauty sleep’ – inside & out. A gift indeed.

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