For the past week, my Life Change Challenge was to go to bed by 10 and wake up no later than 6:30. I would love to say that I was successful at going to bed every night by 10 and waking up every morning by 6:30, but that would not be the truth. While I did not succeed in accomplishing my goal with consistency, I have learned some very valuable lessons that I think will benefit both myself and my family as I progress with this challenge.
Lesson 1: Life Happens
On the first night, I was in bed by 10, but the two oldest boys were revolting against the system. So, I didn't actually get to fall asleep until around 11:00. Well, the youngest boy fell out of the bed at 11:30 and needed consoling in order to go back to sleep. Sometime around 5:00 in the morning, the middle child woke up for a potty break and decided I should join him on this grand adventure. Did I share my conspiracy theory with you?
By sunrise, I was ready to throw up my hands and stop this challenge. Instead, I reminded myself that life happens. The important thing is to continue to show up day after day at the same time until the dragon is finally slain.
Lesson 2: Give Myself Permission to become a Priority
So many things came up this week, and I found myself putting others first, leaving very little room for myself. Two hour meetings went over by hours. My husband came home and wanted the family to go with him to the store so he could spend time with us while running his errands. I mentioned my children and their protest against bed time tyranny above.
Every day, I raced against time and found myself stumbling into bed. My brain couldn't calm down because I had not given myself time to relax and ease into my evening. Other people's delays or priorities became my own, and in the end, I was not able to focus on my own goal.
I remembered thinking, "We teach people how to treat us." As I go forward, I will make myself a priority. It's okay to leave the meeting or to even mention what time I need to leave before it starts. My husband will not feel deprived if I choose to stay home and continue with the evening preparations. There will be other outings. If I don't get enough sleep, I don't have anything to give to the people I love.
Lesson 3: Speak Clearly and Carry a Big Stick
I have to ask for what I need in clear, concise language, preferably with bullets. No, we are not talking about ammo. I'm talking about making eye contact with my man and saying, "I need your help." That always gets his attention. After that, I have to say, "This is what I need from you. Bullet one. Bullet two. Bullet three." Now, my husband is a very intelligent and well-read man. He can handle more than a bulleted list. However, the problem is mine, not his. So, he doesn't have to hear my long drawn out sob story. Just the facts, and then he is ready to act. And he did. When he partnered with me on getting the boys to go to sleep and reminded me to make my sleep schedule a priority, this challenge became so much easier. Our families love us. They just need to know that we need them.
It's not always easy, but I have to say what I mean, and mean what I say. Period. I used to wait for them to fall asleep and then I would go to bed. Because I did this, my husband just assumed that I enjoyed living off of three hours of sleep, so he would go on to sleep. Even though I had established a bed time, I was just giving lip service and the boys knew it. Well, I finally got it! In order for this to work, my children had to see that I really am going to bed by 10. Now, whether they are asleep or not, all lights in the house are turned off and all bedrooms doors are closed. They get the message loud and clear and they no longer expect me to stay up with them.
Week Four's Life Change Challenge:
I will continue to work out the kinks in my system for the bed time challenge, but I am moving on to Week Four. This week, I am working on really listening to God during my morning devotion. Because I have not been going to bed consistently, I usually rush through my morning devotion. Honestly, it's more about me than it is about Jesus with my current system, and that needs to change. So, this week, I will wake up by 6:00, go into the guest bedroom, and sit with God for 30 minutes. However He chooses to lead that uninterrupted time with Him is how it will be done. I'm really looking forward to implementing this Life Change.
Now, let's talk about you. First, I am so excited to see that so many of you have joined me in this challenge. How did your week go? What have you learned about yourself during this challenge? What change are you implementing this week? Please share in the comments below or on my facebook page.