Yesterday, a friend posted a video of a TED talk where Arianna Huffington argues that her new secret to success is…getting more sleep.
I think she’s onto something.
Her words reminded me of a conversation with a colleague I used to work with. For years, I’d been awed by this woman’s ability to juggle: husband, kids, work, ministry, travel, friends, beautiful home, entertaining…she did it all. Her schedule made me feel like I must be lacking some sort of accomplishment gene, because I was only doing about half of what she was and I was at full capacity.
Then one day she mentioned that she’d pulled an all-nighter the night before. Not because of a sick child or a deadline. She was just getting things done. Another colleague asked how often this happened, and she said that this wasn’t all that unusual…and that most nights she only got 4 or 5 hours of sleep. Yes, she was tired, she said. But this was what had to happen to keep her life running. I think she was a bit surprised that we weren’t all doing the same thing. And she seemed unaware that sleep is something we need, and that not getting it has long-term consequences.
My awe faded pretty quickly after that. I need sleep, and when I don’t get enough it’s not pretty. I’m grateful for my parents, who value sleep so highly that years ago, when Dad’s early mornings clashed with Mom’s night-owl tendencies, they set up a system of napping that has endured since I was 7 or 8 years old. (To this day, no one who knows my parents would call or stop by between 11am-2pm, because one or both of them will be asleep.) What I learned from this is that sleep matters… it’s one of the “big rocks” I have to put in the jar first if I want my life to work.
This video reminds me that I want to push back against the temptation to use exhaustion as a badge of honor, or evidence of how IMPORTANT and BUSY my life is. I want to stand up to the lie that working round the clock is God’s path to success. I want to trust Him in this, expecting that His plan is better than mine.
Whatever “the top” is in my life, I’m grateful for this reminder that “sleeping around” is a key part of God’s plan to get me there.