A good and well-rested night’s sleep is something that everybody both wants and needs. We want it because, quite simply, our bodies need it, and when we don’t get it, we carry the results of that all throughout our day. In fact, it’s not even a question about how much sleep you get since that is relative to each person. Regardless of what that magic number is, the point is that there is nothing quite like a rest-full sleep that recharges the batteries of the entire person.
I was reminded of the importance of sleep this past week while being on set of a video shoot between Clayton King and Mark Batterson. At some point the conversation turned to the topic of “power naps” and how one these, from 15-20 minutes each day, has the remarkable ability to rejuvenate and reenergize both body and mind for the remainder of the day. After both confessed to using the “power nap” as a quick pick-me-up, Clayton went on to share with us a number of influential people throughout history whose daily routine included a nap, folks like: Winston Churchill, Thomas Edison, Ronald Regan, John D. Rockefeller, Napoleon Bonaparte, and John F. Kennedy, just to name a few.
After hearing the list, I can honestly say I was a bit surprised. Not because I didn’t believe in the benefits of the “power nap” – because I do – but primarily because of this hidden assumption within our culture that if you are not staying busy then you are not being productive. And napping, of course, was at the bottom of the list when it comes to staying busy.
Our students are quite aware of this mindset as well, knowing what it is like to hear boasting (or expressing it themselves) of pulling an “all-nighter” as if it were a badge of honor to deny one’s mind and body of rest. They are also well aware of the two extremes that we often see within our culture – those that are lazy and those that are workaholics. And in light of the fact that they are juggling everything from family and social activities to schoolwork and personal interests, it seems necessary that we give our students not only advice about managing their time, but also the biblical model of how to live life well between these two extremes.
Whether it is realized or not, our students have already developed those tendencies that makes them err towards one extreme over the other – they either waste countless hours on video games and social media or they avoid certain leisures on account that they see their identity tied to them being productive. And whether it is realized or not, leading students into what the Bible has to say about rest is not simply an intellectual exercise, but something for them to really internalize as they reflect on what it means to take comfort in the ultimate rest that Christ has provided for them.
As with every lesson, we want your students to see the gospel of Christ from week to week, even in the subject of rest. So be encouraged (and well-rested!) as you lead your group of students this week through Session 4 of Bearing God’s Image. And be sure to check out our additional resources page for Middle School Options and One Conversations.