Step One of this lesson also on video!
Real Life Downloaded High School Lesson 11 – Eye of the Storm from David C Cook on Vimeo.
Begin today’s lesson by generating a discussion about how our bodies respond to life’s “storms,” using the questions below as a starting point.
- How does your body handle stress? (Increased blood pressure or hormones, irritability, headaches, weakened immune system, insomnia, etc.)
For many people, one of the most common symptoms of stress is sleeplessness.
- What is insomnia? (According to the National Sleep Foundation, insomnia is “difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, even when a person has the chance to do so.”)
- Do any of you struggle with insomnia? Tell us about it. (If anyone in your class does and is willing to share about their experience, give them the opportunity to describe how insomnia impacts their lives. Share your own experience if applicable.)
While a night of tossing and turning isn’t the end of the world, recurring sleeplessness can have devastating effects on daily routines. In an interview with NPR, Gayle Greene, author of Insomniac, said that “chronic insomnia is often mistaken as ‘a bad night’ and that few people realize just how debilitating sleep deprivation can be.” “Sleep is the fuel of life.” Green says. “It’s nourishing; it’s restorative. And when you are deprived of it, you are really deprived of a basic kind of sustenance.”
Although chronic insomnia, a constantly recurring form of sleeplessness that persists longer than three months, is relatively uncommon amongst most of the population. Acute insomnia, a brief form of a sleep disruption usually brought about by life circumstances, is rampant, affecting about 57% of the U.S. adult population.
- What sort of “life circumstances” could cause insomnia? (There are many potential answers to this question, but most of them can be boiled down to stress.)
The connection between stress and insomnia is fairly intuitive: Harvard Medical School describes stress as “your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or threat. When you sense danger—whether it’s real or imagined—the body’s defenses kick into high gear in a rapid, automatic process known as the ‘fight-or-flight’ reaction or the ‘stress response.’” It’s no wonder, then, that high levels of stress can reduce our ability to fall asleep. You can’t head off to dreamland when your body thinks you’re gearing up for a bare-knuckle brawl.
And it would appear that, as a nation, our sleeplessness is rising. While many factors contribute to this increase, one of the most prominent is technology. This viral tweet by Josh Gondelman well encapsulates the connection between technology use and insomnia: “‘Why am I not asleep?’ he thought, while shining a beam of pure information directly into his eyes from eight inches away.”
Stress is everywhere, and because of technology it’s harder than ever to escape. For this very reason, apps like Calm, a mindfulness and relaxation aid that promises moments of peaceful escape amidst the chaos of normal life, have emerged over the last decade. While there’s many versions of apps like Calm, one of the key differentiators for this company is the creation of “Sleep Stories” or as they call them, “bed time stories for adults.” Let’s take a look at one of their trailers:
Play the following clip [0:57]:
Calm Sleep Stories | Afternoon Nap | Trailer
This was just a trailer. The real stories are almost half an hour long.
- What did you think of this “story”? Moreover, what do you think of apps like Calm?
Hundreds of thousands of people use the Calm app every day and have reported significant health benefits; however, one can’t help thinking that sleep stories, prescription sleep aids, and the like are just temporary solutions to a bigger problem.
Today, we’ll learn about the one Person that can provide lasting calm amidst life’s chaos—let’s take a look.
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You can find Steps 2 and 3 in your teacher’s guide; your Step 4 appears below. To purchase a teacher's guide, please visit: Bible-in-Life or Echoes
So far, we’ve discussed how our bodies cope during periods of stress, learned how the disciples handled life’s storms, and discovered the importance of focusing on Christ in the midst of chaos. Now, let’s put all of this into motion in our own lives.
As mentioned earlier, one of the hallmarks of stress is a feeling of being stretched and scattered across all of life’s obligations. There’s a feeling of helplessness as we’re pulled in every direction, spread too thin to find peace.
So, what are we to do? A powerful remedy for chaos is to gather with God, and in so doing, allow Him to gather us back from all of the places to which we have been separated.
Using the materials provided, instruct your students to find a quiet space in the room and write down all of the things that are pulling them away from calm. Encourage them to dig deep and write whatever is on their heart, reminding them that this list will not be shared with others. Once they’ve developed their lists, challenge them to pick at least one of these things and attempt to gather themselves up from that place and bring it back to Christ, over this next week.
Close in prayer, thanking God for overcoming the chaos of this world and sending His Son to bring us peace.
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