There was a time, when I was much younger, when I resisted naps. I am not sure if I thought I’d miss out on something big or if I believed naps were an adult conspiracy to have fun without me (this is partly true). Whatever the case, I have had my aversion for napping lifted from me. I am healed!
These days I simply try to pay more attention to my body’s rhythms. Yes, I do sometimes ignore the signals, but when I’m living my best life, I rest when I need to rest, eat when I’m hungry (and not just bored or anxious), and move when I get to move. It feels good to give the body what it needs. When I nap, I usually wake refreshed and ready to jump into whatever is next. I am better able to focus and more alert to what is going on around me.
I love stretching out on the couch, draping a blanket over me and drifting off. I am starting to believe this practice, if done regularly and with intention, can be part of my sabbath; a pause in doing that allows me to more fully be with God.
Does sleeping count as being with God?
I think it does if that sleeping is part of breaking the cycle of competing, producing, achieving and striving. Again, it may be about intention. Am I resting, including a quick nap perhaps, so I can be more fully aware of God? Am I ceasing other activity so I can more fully experience God’s presence? Am I turning down the noise of my life so I can her the whispers of God?
The benefits of rest for my physical health are obvious. Even if they may be harder to recognize or could be thought of as separate, the benefits spiritually are no less powerful or important. I need to retreat, withdraw, rest not every once in a scheduled vacation, but as part of a regular weekly (daily?) rhythm.
So, today, I am already anticipating my nap. Before I lay down to rest, I intend to read the scripture of the day, listen to the song of the day, and ask myself the challenge question of the day. (you can find all those resources here) It is my hope that doing so will allow even my napping to become part of a larger effort to enter God’s presence, to set aside my doing, and to more fully participate in the life-giving, life-renewing love of Christ.
Find your rest today. Enter into sabbath. Nap if that helps.
Life is better together,
One thought on “sabbath: Red Letter Challenge”
At one time I thought naps were for young growing children and then in college, I learned those 20 minute power naps would make me more alert and productive and then came contemplative prayer and meditation! I still delight in a 20 min power nap and my meditation times are through out the day. My “yearly resolution word is Mindfullness” Gentle reminders keep me on track and have certainly helped bring calm during this pandemic. Great post Shawn.