So, this week the Lenten discipline was a 10pm bedtime. In case you’re not familiar, the titles of each of these posts was from a song produced by one of my favorite bands, The Barenaked Ladies off of their album _Stunt_. You can find the song “Who Needs Sleep” here.
In answer to that question, though, it is clear that I need some sleep. And, as honestly, I don’t need as much as I claim I need.
Because here’s the truth: a sleep schedule is both gift and discipline combined. If I want to rise at a certain hour, sure, a 10pm bedtime helps. And is good to keep, in most moments.
But honestly the rising part of that equation takes discipline, not an early bedtime. Because, well, no matter when I go to bed, I can rise whenever I will myself to rise.
Bedtime, as with running, lifting, and most physical practices, is more about the discipline than the motivation. Motivation certainly helps, Beloved; I’ve found it easier to rise at 5am when I get to bed at 10pm.
But it’s merely sufficient, not necessary.
What is necessary is the discipline.
Yet, knowing that it is sufficient is surely helpful. My heart intends to keep this bedtime more regularly than in the past, knowing that it aids in keeping my early-rising goals.
But it is not necessary. I’ve risen at 5am when going to bed at a later hour. The trick is discipline.
And maybe that’s the larger realization I should carry with me. Because sometimes a later bedtime is necessary, depending on the season of life I’m in. And though I do believe a more regular retiring hour plays into my current stage in life, I need not be bound by it.
Instead, I must be bound to my rising time with more regularity.
I will be practicing an earlier bedtime in the coming days. It’s been a blessing.
But my resolve it, whether I retire at 10pm or midnight, to rise at the 5am hour. When I get off-kilter, the 10pm deadline will help me reset the schedule. In the in-between, I’ll be grateful for what I’m gettin’, as the song rightly says, knowing it’s sufficient for rising early, but not necessary.
This week I’m practicing keeping my phone at bay. Today I started the practice by intentionally leaving it at home on a few excursions I took.
Suffice it to say: it was not easy.
I encourage you to practice this with me. More soon.