Step One. . .zzz

Dolly Lee Book Reviews 0 Comments

According to James Bryan Smith, step one for training your soul is (drum roll please): Sleep.

If you’re blinking to see if you read correctly, you’re not the only one.

I read Smith’s book The Good and Beautiful God years ago and I thought: “Really, sleep?!!!”

My response revealed how much I failed to understand how God had created me.
Smith argues studies show the average person needs about eight hours of sleep to maintain health (p. 33). He sees it as God “designed humanity to spend nearly one-third of our lives sleeping.”
The number one enemy of Christian spiritual formation [being like Christ in heart, thought and deed] today is exhaustion.James B. Smith, The Good and Beautiful God, 34.

In Day 7 (Rest & Play) of 7 Days of Soul Care, I cited research from Harvard that showed “inadequate sleep causes weight gain more easily and increases our odds of developing obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.”

Sleep or the gym? Or both? Both if you want to optimize your health (physically and spiritually).


Welcome to the final week

of the

7 Days of Soul Care Book Club

Last year, I set a goal of being in bed by 10 p.m. (in 7 Days of Soul Care).

Did I succeed with my sleep goal?
Sometimes. To be honest, mainly no.

It’s hard to stop when I’m in the middle of writing a post or reading. I tell myself a few more minutes, then. . . well, a half hour past and then some.

  • I need more than self-control. I need to surrender my schedule to God.

God’s grace saves me from living only in my limited strength. God’s grace enables me to live like Jesus.

Self-control is part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit (see Gal. 5:22-23).

“. . . spiritual formation is a combination of our action and God’s action. We must do something but we rely on God to provide what is needed in order to change. Sleep is a perfect example [of this].”James Bryan Smith, The Good and Beautiful God, 34.

I forgot to rely on God’s strength given to me via the Holy Spirit.

Confession: I failed to keep my sleep goal because I was not trusting God to provide. I unconsciously believed at some level I had to get these things done.

(Sometimes, a child is sick or a work or school deadline requires one to burn the midnight oil. But not always, unless work absolutely requires it or you’re enslaved/trafficked. But hopefully, that isn’t the case for you.)

Somehow I believed a lie: it was more important to get these things done than to get the rest my body needs.

I heard it takes ninety days to develop a new habit. This time, I’m relying on God to help me create a new healthy sleep schedule. (And could you please hold me accountable.)

“Sleep is an act of surrender. It is a declaration of trust. It is admitting that we are not God (who never sleeps), and that is good news.” James Bryan Smith

Smith suggests: "Go to sleep at a consistent time each night."

Want to be radical? Get enough sleep.

Who wants to join me on my quest for a consistent bedtime at least five out of seven days a week?

Grace will be given as we embark on this

ninety day


Excerpt from Day 7’s Journal Questions:

“What is one truth you can focus on today as an incentive to change your lifestyle so you can experience more rest?

For example, God determines your worth, not your work or achievements, so you can rest from excessive work as one
way to prove your worthiness.”

Excerpt from Day 7’s Prayer:

“God, Thank you for the gift of rest from striving to earn your love and acceptance because of Christ’s life, sacrifice, resurrection, and ascension. I thank you for giving me intrinsic worth so I don’t have to prove my worth.Thank you for how you created me with a body, soul, and spirit made to rest—thank you for wanting me to rest.”

If you want to transform your soul through connection with God, you can buy a copy, here, and read reviews (get a free Kindle copy with purchase of a paperback).

Remember soul care is not selfish. It’s wise because it connects us with our extraordinary God who is our life (see John 15:1-5) so we can be fruitful in our relationships and work.

If you want selected excerpted questions for the book club, here is a downloadable PDF.

Why did we take one week for each of the seven days in the book? Learn why and read part of the Introduction here.

P.S. Would you be interested in being in a book club with me using Smith’s book The Good and Beautiful God? (You can buy the book using any of the Amazon links in this post.)

I’m considering discussing a chapter a week (or maybe on an alternating week schedule).

If you’re interested, I can start next week with an introduction to give you time to buy the book and read Chapter 1. What do you think?

Thanks for being here. I appreciate your presence here. Signing off to meet my bedtime goal.

Linking with encouraging Holley

Thanks to Alexandru Zdrobău for the photo of a sleeping cat.