“Do not love sleep or you will become poor; Open your eyes and you will be satisfied with food.” — Proverbs 20:13
This verse has always bothered me because I do love to sleep. It may be because I have such awesome dreams. Some day I’ll tell you about the one where Courtney Cox — who played God — helped me save African orphans by finding a secret door down a city street that led to a land of giant mushrooms. That was so much fun.
Hmmm … maybe I should keep my dreams to myself. I promise I’m not on drugs. I just have a very vivid imagination and an incredibly active REM cycle. Uh, let’s get back to the topic.
Nobody wants to be poor. Some people take this verse to an extreme claiming that the only people who are poor are so because they’re too lazy. That’s absurd and not at all what this verse means! The point of this verse exceeds economics. Yes, it says “food,” and food is generally tied to wealth, but the point is not bounty; it’s satisfaction. Satisfaction comes in many forms.
Everywhere I go I hear people lament their lack of time.
“Oh, I would love to read more! I just don’t have the time.” …
“I wish I could play with my kids more, but we’re just so busy.” …
“I haven’t the time to be creative.” …
“I’ve always wanted to learn to play piano. If only I had time …”
It’s funny how many of these people always find time for Words with Friends or watching their favorite TV shows.
One of my favorite quotes — and I wish I knew who said it — is this:
Guess what? An hour is just as long for you and me as it is for Martha Stewart and President Obama and the 20-year-old whiz kid who will be a millionaire within the next five years. Our days are the same length. The only difference is our choices. No, we don’t have time for everything. But we have enough time for what we want most.
This verse encourages action. If you’re not satisfied, do something about it.
It doesn’t have to be anything huge. There’s no point in making unattainable goals. But I’m convinced that little changes can have exponential impact. Maybe sign up for that class you’ve always wanted to take. Or choose to turn off the TV one night a week and see what inspires you. That book you’ve been wanting to read? Keep in the bathroom or take it to work with you to read over your lunch break.
I recently joined the Bestseller Society. It’s like an online conference for those pursuing publication. There I met fellow writer Kristen Stieffel who shared this formula for overcoming mental resistance.
“I value [goal] more than I value [thing keeping me from goal].”
This works for anything, including nutrition and character, but I find it most powerful for time management. How I spend my time clearly shows what I value more.
So, what’s more important really? My desire to read this book about prayer or an online game of Scrabble with strangers? Do I need to watch another rerun of The Office? Or would I rather play Uno with my kids?
Do I love sleep more than my aspirations? No! And so lately I’ve made a concerted effort to choose what I truly value rather than submitting to habits of what is easiest. It’s amazing how much more satisfied I feel as a result.
Your Turn: What do you value most and how do your choices reflect that?