When the Temptation Comes
It happened again last night.
I woke up around 11:45 pm. I only slept for 90 minutes and I’m already awake? Not good. Sigh.
I know the best thing to do. Relax, meditate on memorized scripture, pray.
But sometimes I lack the self-discipline for that.
An immediate temptation instead?
Put in my earbuds, find a non-engaging podcast to listen to on my phone, and let it derail my brain into nothingness. It can take awhile to work. And sometimes the podcast topic is too interesting after all, and it keeps me awake. Or if I forget to set the sleep timer to turn the podcast off, it wakes me back up later.
Sometimes I suspect the whole process of trying to get back to sleep can actually keep me awake.
But listening to podcasts is just so tempting. And so easy. I don’t like waiting for sleep to come on its own good time.
Wait 5 More Minutes
It’s hard to wait for things we want. We’re accustomed to instant gratification. Amazon has spoiled us with “buy now.” Google gives us prompt answers to our queries. Apple music lets me hear my favorite song immediately.
It’s uncomfortable to sit in uncertainty. The in-between makes us antsy. We’d rather forge ahead with the quick thing than wait patiently for the right thing.
So when I’m tempted to jump in too quickly, I trick myself with this: Just wait 5 more minutes.
- Instead of sending off the angry email in the heat of the moment, wait 5 minutes.
- Instead of getting the 3rd slice of pizza because I’m still hungry, wait 5 minutes.
- And instead of immediately reaching for the podcast when I can’t sleep, just give it at least 5 minutes. Relax my muscles, recite scripture in my head, and watch my breathing.
God can do a lot when we give him 5 minutes. When we turn off the urgency. When we release our grip on getting relief now.
Our emotions might shift. We might find something better to do in the delay. We might discover a better solution. We might find we can hold off even longer. The problem may even resolve on its own.
And if it doesn’t? Well, maybe we need another 5 minutes. Or maybe this time we just give in to the podcast to lull us back to sleep.
Either way, we don’t always need willpower to get through hour after hour.
Maybe we just need willpower for 5 more minutes.
Sometimes in the 5 minute delay, I actually fall asleep.
And stay asleep.
For much longer than 5 minutes.
Featured Post—Do This for 5 Minutes
Donna Bucher suggests a 5-minute bedtime ritual to clear our minds. Try using a night journal to unload your thoughts and quiet your mind before sleep.
“Writing down your thoughts at bedtime brings an end to the day. It draws a line between today and tomorrow. It gives you a new, fresh day upon waking and keeps today from spilling over into tomorrow.”
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Do you have any hacks to help you move past temptations? (And if you have any tips for getting a full night’s sleep, please share!) Share your thoughts in the comments.
- God Personalizes Your Gifts
- On the Blog—October 2020