We are continuing our discussion of Humility by C.J. Mahaney (Chapter 6):
Mahaney begins this chapter with the statement, “few of us have thought biblically and strategically about how to glorify God at the end of the day—even though the way we end today can clearly affect the way we encounter tomorrow (79).”
This chapter made me seriously contemplate my attitude towards sleep. By nature, I refer to myself as a “night owl.” I can stay up into the wee hours of the morning reading, writing, working on a project or watching a great movie. It’s no surprise that I do not like to get up very early in the mornings, but I have learned over the years that it is best for me to “meet with the Lord” through the reading and study of his Word and in prayer before my family rises for the day. This means that I have to get to bed at a decent hour. Therefore, I make the effort (and sometimes fail) to start winding down around 10:00 pm so I can get to bed by 10:30 or 11:00 pm. I have a goal of getting seven hours of sleep per night.
Over the years, I’ve noticed something interesting about myself. When I am in high demanding seasons of life, sleep is the second “privilege” that goes out of the window (exercise in the first). It’s ironic that the very things I need in high stress situations are some of the first things I give up. This pattern has caused me to ask: What do these stressful situations reveal about me? What do they reveal about my approach to God?
If I am sacrificing sleep, it is most certainly because I believe there is something more important that I must do. And if I don’t sacrifice my sleep, it won’t get done. I’m stretching my own abilities. Is this prideful behavior? Am I relying on God? I’m not suggesting that if I go to sleep and forsake my responsibilities that God will miraculously intercede on my behalf. What I am questioning is: How important is it for me to get “things done”? (When I was in the military, we understood the gravity of not fulfilling our responsibilities…in some instances, we could hinder an important mission or literally cost people their physical lives.) But the things I lose sleep over these days are not as critical issues. My lack of preparation and planning could result in a lower course grade or a subpar performance which could negatively impact my reputation. So in the end: Is this prideful struggle all about me? And is it worth the loss of sleep?
Psalm 127:2 reads: “In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for he [God] grants sleep to those he loves (Ps. 127:2 [NIV]).”
God loves me and you. Sleep is a gift and another act of his grace towards us. In our prayers before we rest, we embrace and celebrate the good work God has allowed us to do and we then transfer all glory back to him. “This is the humble way to end each and every day (80).”
Do you embrace God’s gift of sleep?
© Natasha Sistrunk Robinson 2013