Two weeks ago I posted about how adopting studying the Sermon on the Mount annually has helped me devote myself more to the Savior. Today is only Day 11, and I already feel greatly blessed.
I also feel puny compared with my perfect Master. He is the Great Prototype, the Grand Exemplar. I’m still a walking construction zone. But the benefits from my study outweigh that sense of disparity with a great hope that one day I’ll be much closer to my Lord.
One such benefit is the opportunity I’ve had to consider the ways I spend my time. Each new day is of course a new opportunity to consider my ways. But my Sermon on the Mount study each year provides an increased awareness of those opportunities. It puts them square in my face.
Wake up, Sleepy Head
We all have the same 24 hours each day, but we all make different choices in how to spend those 24 hours.
Me? I’ve always been a big fan of sleep. There’s no way it’s overrated. It’s fantastic! But you can get too much of most good things, and sleep is no exception. I’m sure we’re all familiar with the admonition in D&C 88:124.
Cease to be idle; cease to be unclean; cease to find fault one with another; cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated.
I’m still working on that arising early part. But I’ve been questioning whether I should be using less time for sleep and more time for, uh, I don’t know, something more productive?
How much time do we devote to worthy causes and how much to frivolous pursuits? Are we the captain of our life’s ship? Or do we just float wherever the waves of life take us?
I’ve posted before about the need for singles to devote themselves to a personal ministry. Devoting ourselves to a personal ministry best attracts that eternal companion we all seek, plus it enables us to weather better the storm that singles life can bring.
I’m questioning whether I should be sleeping a little less so that I can devote myself more to my own personal ministry.
Find your own balance
What does it really mean anyway to “retire to thy bed early”? Exactly when is “early”? I think we each must find our own standard. Recently I’ve been trying to be in bed by 11:00. If I fall asleep quickly and sleep through the night, I can arise at 6:00 and have about 7 hours of rest. I think 6:00 qualifies as “early.”
I’m not perfect with it, but I’ve noticed a difference as I try to approach this standard. My once strongly held belief that I couldn’t function with less than 8 hours of sleep has begun to evolve. With that belief is its cousin idea that I’m just not a morning person. And as I’ve used the extra time gained, though it seems quite small, towards my personal ministry, I’ve felt a great uplift and support in my daily living.
While serving my mission, I often heard a story told in Africa that every morning a gazelle awakens. He knows a tiger will be hunting him and that his best chance of survival is to get as much of a head start as he can. But every morning that tiger also awakens. He knows that his best chance of eating that day depends on catching the gazelle before he can outrun him. Thus, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a gazelle or a tiger. When the sun comes up, you had better be running.
Make the most of your time
Please don’t think I’m suggesting everyone retire at 11 and arise at 6. I’m not saying that at all. What I am saying is this standard seems appropriate for me and everyone else should find what works for them. If your standard matches mine, great! We can form a club and offer jackets! If your standard doesn’t match mine, that’s fine. You can wear your own jacket.
We should more consciously choose how we spend our time. Once it’s spent we don’t ever get it back. Only by living intentionally do we get the most out of life. Likewise, only by choosing our activities with intention do we make the most of our time. And the best intention for our time is in our own personal ministry by which we labor to make the world a better place.
So consider your ways. Are you making the most of every day? Are you living with intention? I can’t say I always have. But I can say the real joy of living has unfolded for me when I have consciously chosen how to spend my time. And I can say how grateful I am to be reminded of the opportunity I have each day to consider my ways and make changes where necessary.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and now I produce a weekly radio show to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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