Let’s Stop Glorifying All Nighters

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The above was written by Abe Joy during small groups at church. This past Saturday we had small groups at church centered around the idea of “rest”. I stole an activity I learned in grad school and had my small group each write about rest and crumple up their sheet. Then each member in the group picks up someone else’s paper and we take turns reading each other’s writing. The above is what Abe Chach wrote:

“A rest in music is a portion of any piece of music where an instrument pauses. Rests are important to provide variety in rhythm, ease tonal fatigue and signal musical divisions in a song….”

Spending time in our small groups we began to share how “stress” and a lack of sleep is glorified in our culture.

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We joked that often times when people tell us they haven’t slept all night, our response is “glorifying”, for example, one might say, “Wow! I don’t know how you did that…” When in reality not sleeping actually represents a lack of time management and one rarely responds, “Wow! You must not know how to manage your time…” But that’s really what an all-nighter means!

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Just as how music is incomplete without rests, our lives need rest. We are reminded in the bible of the “golden ratio”, 6 days of work and 1 day of rest. The bible warns us especially in Proverbs about too much rest. I was tempted in our group to say “rest” is our natural state- it’s not! We must rest,  but we must also work.

IMG_1394.JPGI really believe God wants more for us than sleepless nights. He also doesn’t want us sleeping all day! My challenge for my readers today is to ask yourself, do you take your rest seriously?

Learning how to love yourself

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Is love something that we are born knowing how to do?  Is love really a choice?

I learned late in life that writing is a lot about learning how to edit, and this is exactly what I’m doing to do in this post.  It started as a post about learning how to love, period.  But now it is a post about learning how to love oneself because this is something I feel a lot of people fail to do.

I grew up most of my life believing love was something natural, something we were born conditioned to do.  And I believed even more strongly that the ability to love was not a choice.  I didn’t love my family because I choose to love, I loved them because I just couldn’t feel anything other than love for them.  Now that I’ve grown up, somewhat, I’ve come to some sort of conclusion.  Loving someone isn’t simply a choice or not a choice.  I know this because sometimes I force myself to show love to people, this is me making a choice.  But there have been times when I’ve been so hurt that all I’ve wanted to do is hate someone, but still I found myself loving them.

There are times when loving people feels so hard.  My mom will say or do something that upsets me and the idea of showing love in that situation seems impossible.  There are times when I find it really hard to love myself.  It doesn’t make sense but sometimes the most hurtful things are not said by strangers, they are thought by ourselves.  We fail to recognize the power and authority held in words, even when these words are said to ourselves.  The bible tests to this fact as well.

Proverbs 18:21 – Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

In the above verse we are taught that life and death are in the power of our tongue!  This doesn’t just apply to what we say to people we love, this is found in the words that we tell ourselves.  The devil is a liar.  To anyone who has ever thought that they were meaningless, that their lives were meaningless or that they are alone- do not believe that lie.  Your body is the temple of God!

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

This is how precious we are!  And we are never truly alone in this world, never at all.  The amazing thing about God is that even if everyone we ever love leaves us, we always have him.  This is something we can put our hope and trust in regardless of circumstance.

I mentioned this in passing earlier but love can also not feel like a choice.  I find myself unwilling to let go of some friendships because regardless of pain I may have felt, I still love that person.  With the same token, sometimes it make feel like we don’t have a choice in how we feel.  Although I believe this is somewhat true- we always have a choice. We may not be able to dictate the way we feel, but we can choose the way we act on these feelings.  This is even more true in regards to how we respect ourselves.  Please, love yourself enough to respect yourself.  If you are feeling hurt by someone or something, remove yourself from that situation.  And if you are hurting yourself, please learn the value held in your life.

The saddest thing for me to think about is the fact that so many people fail to see how amazing they are.  Those people who can be told time and time again that they are beautiful but fail to see it!  If you are someone like that, please just take a second look.  Give yourself a second chance.  Because you are valuable and you are loved.  I can guarantee it.