The Gift of Sleep

It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late…; for so He gives His beloved sleep. Psalm 127:2

“Sleep is essential for good health.  Scientists don’t know exactly why we need it but they know what happens when we don’t get enough.  We put ourselves at risk of premature aging, weight gain, and diseases ranging from colds and flu to cancer.  What God accomplishes in our bodies while we drift off to dreamland is nothing short of miraculous.  While we do nothing, God replenishes our energy, rebuilds and restores our cells, and reorganizes information in our brains.

“The reasons for not getting enough sleep are many, and some we can’t solve, but the Bible indicates that overwork should not be one of them (Psalm 127:2).  Sleep is a gift from God that we should receive with gratitude.  If we’re not getting enough, we need to find out why.  Are we rising early and staying up late to earn money to acquire things we don’t need?  Are we involved in ministry efforts that we think no on else is capable of doing?

“I’m sometimes tempted to believe that the work I do when I’m wake is more important than the work God does while I sleep.  But refusing God’s gift of sleep is like telling Him that my work is more important than His.

“God does not want anyone to be a slave to work.  He wants us to enjoy His gift of sleep. Author: Julie Ackerman Link”

This daily devotional was taken from Our Daily Bread, January 12 (www.rbc.org). 

This message resonated with me quiet deeply.  For many years I would rise many hours before daylight broke to prepare myself for a long day of work and then an evening of college classes or a small entrepreneurial venture.  Most of my adult life was spent with not enough sleep and an overburden of obligations.  Yes, folks, I was a true workaholic.  I tried to overcome the sleep deprivation I often felt by taking catnaps whenever I could manage to do so.  This way of living was truly a sacrifice for me because I am NOT a morning person by nature.  I love the evening hours and have disciplined myself to get to bed at a reasonable hour vs staying up watching all the late night shows on TV. 

I loved the scripture of Psalm 127.2 where God tells us we are obligated to get the proper rest and sleep we need.  How many of us are living sleep deprived lives?  I would venture to guess the majority of us.  Then we wonder why we are tired, lack energy, see expanding waistlines and feel a level of frustration with those around us.  These are all the result of lack of proper rest and sleep.

When my world collapsed I made a commitment to myself that I would double up in my business ventures and planned to travel for work more then I was already doing.  This was the plan to assure myself that my income would always be strong and that I would find an excellent outlet to mask the pain of loss I experienced.  Under most considerations you would have agreed that this was a good plan.  Except God said NO.  This was not His plan.  So the day after my move into my newly purchased home I ended up in the hospital and remained there for several weeks.  God made the decision for me that I would not.  I would have never allowed myself major time off to just relax, recover from the trauma of my life’s changes and treat myself in such a gentle manner.  GOD knowing this forced me into a state that required a mandatory period (a pretty long period, as it turned out) to rest and recover.  I was not even allowed to drive for six months after my release from the hospital. 

Take it from me.  If you don’t make the decision to get enough rest and sleep in your life God will take the matters in His hands and will force you to stop the madness of unending obligations, physical and mental fatigue and the spiritual “leakage” that occurs when we let the matters of the world become our priority instead of our relationship with God.  I hope you, dear reader, can take some time to examine the things you have set as priorities in your life. Begin to challenge whether the time commitments that are affecting your rest time are really worth it.  I challenge you to find time to put one more hour of sleep into your daily schedule and a day of real rest each week.  Your will definitely see and feel the difference.

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