"Wake up, O sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you."--Ephes. 5:14 (NIV)
Sleep. That's really where my greatest battle lies. I love to sleep. I'm not a morning person by nature. Before kids, I could, and often would, sleep til noon and love every second of that pure, blissful laziness. Ever since I had kids, however, it seems that I can never get enough of it. Like I am constantly chasing after some unattainable dream of, well, sweet dreams. I'm lucky if I can manage to steal 4 hours of unbroken, uninterrupted sleep these days.
The world will tell you that a good night's sleep needs to be a top priority. But at what expense? Studies tell us that the reason we're so stressed, so tired, so anxious, so...whatever...is because Americans just aren't getting enough sleep. But the Bible has some pretty interesting things to say about sleep. Like this one:
So how long are you going to laze around doing nothing?
How long before you get out of bed?
A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there,
sit back, take it easy—do you know what comes next?
Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life,
poverty your permanent houseguest!--Proverbs 6:9-11 (Msg)
Sound harsh? It's kind of offensive at first glance, isn't it? Trust me, no one hates this verse more than I do! But does God hate sleep? Does He hate me because I love to sleep? No!!! Look at this:
Don't you know he enjoys
giving rest to those he loves?--Psalm 127:2 (Msg)
God is so good, and He wants us to get our proper rest. I think it's more a question of what am I putting first, God or sleep? What has a higher priority in my life? I tend to think that if only I could get enough sleep, then I could wake up early, then I could make some time in the morning for prayer and Bible study, then my whole day will be perfect, etc., etc. See where my emphasis lies? The sleep part of the equation. I have to have these perfect conditions in order to make God a priority in my life. And sleep typically comes first for me. I lay my little head down on my little pillow and bow down to my little sleep god. I forget about that whole "seek ye first" thing where Jesus said that all our other needs, absolutely everything else--food, clothing, shelter, and yes, even sleep--would be added to our lives if we are seeking Him first.
I'm afraid this isn't a very popular idea, especially considering how incredibly busy we are these days. But no matter how much I think I need sleep, or even deserve it--how much more do I need God?
My baby boy woke me up the other morning at 4 am. So we sat up together and watched a little Joyce Meyer. And lo and behold, her whole segment was about making time with God a priority in your life. So after it was over and I got my son back to sleep, I was literally faced with the dilemma of either going back to sleep or staying up to spend some much needed prayer time. I took a hard look at what I really wanted to do. My tired mind, body, and eyes were telling me, "Go back to bed!!" While my beat-up heart and my broken spirit were hungry and thirsty for the love, the joy, the peace, the patience, the kindness, the goodness, the gentleness, and the self-control that my day requires, and that, without His help, I frankly just don't have.
Let the words of King David ring true in your heart, as they have been in mine lately, and be challenged to renew your commitment to making God your number one priority. It is a sacrifice, but one that you can be sure He will bless in more ways than you can even begin to imagine.
He swore an oath to the Lord
and made a vow to the Mighty One of Jacob:
"I will not enter my house
or go to my bed--
I will allow no sleep to my eyes,
no slumber to my eyelids,
till I find a place for the Lord,
a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob."--Psalm 132:2-5 (NIV)