January 31, 2010
Sunday, 7:00 p.m.
Letter #120: Drastic Sacrifices of Leadership, Entertainment, and Sleep
Greetings! First of all, thank you to all of you who filled out and mailed in Visiting Forms to come see me … a total of 23 of you are in process, for which I’m very grateful! I have so many sweet people supporting me in prayer and in other tangible ways—thank you all!
My appeal regarding not being transferred to Arizona was returned to me on Thursday, saying I needed to attach the “official recommendation of transfer” paper from the committee’s decision. I was able to obtain it and resubmit the appeal.
Thank you for praying for this whole thing! I am at peace with whatever God decides—staying here or shipping off to Arizona—but I’m really seeing so much victory in my life and purpose for staying here, that I’ve started to believe God’s calling on my life right now is to remain here.
I’ve only asked God to keep me wherever I’m most effective for His glory, and my cellie, Mel, pointed out how, since beginning to pray that prayer, I’ve now become far more effective right here!
Of course, he really doesn’t want me to leave (“You’re the best cellie EVER! We’re getting too much done for God right now—you can’t leave!”), so I’m not so sure that his opinion isn’t biased. 🙂 But he does have a point.
Since hearing about the possible move to Arizona, God has led me to do a few sort-of “drastic” things to make changes in my life for the better. A few:
- Yielding leadership of the yard daily Bible Study has allowed me to still preach there once a week, yet not have to be there at every yard opportunity. This has freed me up to invest in individuals’ lives, setting appointments on the yard to disciple believers and witness to unbelievers … a far more potent ministry for me, I’ve realized, than facilitating the group!
- Yielding the position of “Worship Leader” for both Sunday afternoon services and only playing the piano for the 3:00 p.m. service has brought many unexpected blessings. Since I still coordinate the worship, I run the Monday morning practices with the choir and both services’ worship teams. I can still create choir arrangements and coach the worship leaders while allowing other men to use their talents for God. Additionally, with the chaplain’s full blessing, I no longer have to be at both services, freeing me up to spend two more hours on Sundays with any Sunday visitors I receive!
- Giving away my television has not only brought me much peace, but it also has freed up an unbelievable 20+ HOURS PER WEEK!! (Sad but true how much time I was wasting!) For Christmas, I received a CD/radio, which I now listen to: Christian programming only.
- Besides the regular times of fasting I’ve begun practicing, I’m now on the ultra-reduced-caloric-intake program (1000 calories per day) that has immediately benefited my stamina, increased my alertness, and boosted my energy level significantly. I feel so light!
- The craziest change I’ve made since “going to Arizona” became a possibility and I asked to be where I’m most effective is a big change in my sleep schedule. Here’s what happened: During my fasting bit last week, remember how I’d spoken to Ron on the yard about his involvement with those laser surgeries? Well, the next day, Ron came up and told me about some 90-year-old woman he met in Norway in 1972—I am not making this up—who was super-spiritual and needed “only a few hours of sleep” every night. As I thought about it that (Friday) night, I realized that, during the week of fasting, I’d only been getting six hours, six hours, five and a half hours, five hours, of sleep every night. And, come to think of it, I’d gone to bed at midnight the previous night, to be awakened by a dog barking just outside my door—at 4:30 a.m. Yeah, that doesn’t happen here much. Or ever. I was WIDE awake as I watched a cell get searched, then stayed up, not tired, to begin praying. Well, I now told Mel, my cellie, about what Ron had shared, and told him I was going to try to only get four hours of sleep that night. He brought out a plan for an odd sleep schedule he had read about years before yet never tried, and I recalled reading something similar; we decided to go for it, easing into the schedule over the next few days. Giving myself 30 minutes of sleep every four hours: 8 a.m., 12 noon, 4 p.m., 8 p.m., 12 midnight, 4 a.m., for a grand total of just three hours per night, I’ve now been on it a full week so far and LOVE my new 21-HOUR profitable days! I’m on a spiritual high with God, and I’m using my extra time so productively for His Kingdom! I’ll keep you posted … later. It’s 8 p.m. Goodnight!