Thursday, September 20, 2007

Time and How to Use it

I’ve been thinking recently about time, and how best to use it. More specifically I’m trying to think how to slot Bible time into my day. I know it seems particularly spiritual to do the early morning deal, but I seriously struggle with consistency when I try to take that avenue. That said, I struggle with consistency no matter what.

Now when I say ‘Bible time’ I mean time to actually study it as opposed to brushing over a chapter or two. I mean devoting at least half an hour (though preferably more) to sitting at my desk and poring over the Word. Anyone can quickly read a chapter before bed and then go to sleep without having a clue what they just read (I speak from experience).

I understand that early in the morning is when there are the least distractions, and when you can pray the loudest without people hearing you. But my biggest problem is that, as a student in a hall, it is very hard to get to bed before 10, and often I don’t go to bed until after 11. Hence I sometimes fail to get up early, and often when I do get up I find I simply can’t keep my mind focussed on what I’m reading. Moreover, without sleep the rest of my day is affected, and I can’t do other things either.

Eight seems to be the magic number when it comes to sleep. Admittedly I haven’t done much research on this, but everything I have read seems to say I should be getting at least that, otherwise I start accruing ‘sleep debt.’ Now I’ve been thinking recently that perhaps this is actually the way God designed us (gasp!). An implication of this is that we can actually achieve all that God wants us to in 16 hours a day. It's easy for me to say this, being a student and all, but I think there's still some truth in it. I have no idea what it would be like to be the CEO of a major business, or the pastor of some major church, balancing meeting and helping people with preparing sermons and (for some) writing books, I imagine they very rarely get the magic eight hours. But I can't help wondering if there is a way that we can achieve everything God demands of us while still keeping healthy sleep habits.

I need to be careful here, because this can’t be an absolute thing. Indeed Paul commends himself to the Corinthians giving “sleepless nights” as one of his credentials. I’m not saying we should never get less than eight hours sleep a night, just that it shouldn’t be the norm. I think there is some evidence for this in Psalm 127:2.

Note that I’m not saying we should be loving sleep. Proverbs has some pretty strong words to say about that here and here. And a quick search brought up this verse from Isaiah. I am most emphatically not supporting a love of sleep, I am saying we should be trying to use the remaining 16 hours of our day in the most productive way possible.

For me this means I won't observe early mornings as devoutly as I once did. I will try and get to bed earlier to have beneficial morning Bible times, but if I have a legitimate reason for staying up late I will sleep in a bit to compensate (thankfully as a student I have a lot of other time to study the Bible).

I know I haven’t fully fleshed this out, but it's getting late and I need sleep. maybe I'll add more later, maybe I won't. In the meantime I’d be interested to hear if anyone can think of anything I missed, or has some more verses that shed light on the subject.

Oh and in my defence, I think the times given at the bottom of each post is for somewhere else...because it certainly isn't 3 in the morning in humble New Zealand.

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