Are you a person who likes control? In dozens of ways we are lectured by our society that we should get our work/play balance, our finances, our eating, our sleeping – under control. But the truth is that most things in life are not all in our control. The best we can do most times is to catch the wave and surf it into the shore.
Jesus’ parable of the seed growing secretly (Mark 4:26-29), which we looked at this past Sunday, underlines the truth that we control little. The farmer really only does a small act by simply sowing seeds. The rest is beyond his control. He falls asleep, he wakes up, he falls asleep again and the seed, on its own, grows. Sun and rain will determine its success.
I was struck that Jesus mentions sleep in the parable. That eight hours – a third of our day – when we release all control.
On the recommendation of a busy, successful physician friend of mine, I have just finished a book titled Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker. He said the book was life-changing – I can understand why. I learned a lot about those eight unconscious hours when we sleep. How absolutely essential those eight hours are – yes, eight hours! – for every aspect of our health – physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual. They are foundational.
We are told by our workaholic society, by our macho life-coaches, by our late-to-bed party friends that you can survive on five hours a night. Add in screen time and caffeine and we have a sleep crisis that is causing a host of health and social problems.
So, what a wonderful way of letting go of control – trusting that your body is healing, re-ordering, relaxing and rejuvenating when we let go of control and have a wonderful long and restful sleep. What a gift! That giving up control is the most healthy thing you could do for yourself. Jesus invites us to let go of control in so many areas of life – to trust the blessings of God. We are surrounded by so many blessings that we are simply called to enjoy and appreciate.