Thursday, May 18, 2006

 

my extra sleep is worth less than my calling

Beep…beep…beep…beep…” (Press snooze button). Ah. Sleep. Bliss. Hmmmm. “Beep…beeps…beep...” It’s Monday morning in a nutshell. And Tuesday morning. And Wednesday morning. And…wait! This happens every morning! Yes, waking up every day is a part of life. So is sleeping.

Why write about sleep? Here are three great reasons:

  1. We all sleep, Moreover, my guess is that almost all of us have (or have had) struggles with sleep.
  2. As teens, we tend to love sleep too much. For many of us, sleep has become the latest idol. The alarm clock is our sworn enemy.
  3. Sleep takes up one-third of your life. Look at it this way: if I live to be seventy-five years old and sleep an average of eight hours a night, then by the time I die, I will have slept approximately 219,000 hours in my lifetime. If you didn’t notice…that’s a lot of time. That equals 25 years worth of time spent sleeping.

If you are still not convinced that sleep is an important topic to think about, look at 1 Corinthians 10:31 – “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”[1] Sleep is a part of the whole “whatever you do” thing. Besides that, the words sleep, slumber, sleeping, and sleeper appear ninety-two times in the Bible. I think that sleep is something that God cares about…so we should care about it, too.

Wait. What do sleep and God have in common? Nothing, right? I mean, God never sleeps. Never has, never will. We humans can’t help sleeping…every person who has ever lived on this planet has slept. But even though He doesn’t sleep, what does God say about sleep? How does that affect who I am and how I serve Him? Well…

Start thinking about leadership. As teenagers, we are the leaders of the future, correct? And as Christian thinkers, we hope to be leaders now, as well. A leader is someone who makes a difference and is an example to those around him or her. In Isaiah 56, God was rebuking the leaders of Israel. In a long list of grievances, God says in verse ten that “His watchmen are blind; they are all without knowledge; they are all silent dogs; they cannot bark, dreaming, lying down, loving to slumber.” (Emphasis mine). Israel’s leaders had problems, one of which was loving sleep. To be effective, you have to open your eyes – Proverbs 20:13, “Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty; open your eyes, and you will have plenty of bread.”

So what is the purpose of sleep? Simply put, it’s for refreshment of the body. It’s sole purpose is to make sure you are at optimal functioning capacity each day. It is not for pleasure. It is not for personal gain. It is not because it feels good. It is solely for God’s glory. Sleeping is a part of the body, so 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 applies here: “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

God doesn’t look kindly on lazy sleepers. Proverbs 10:5 tells us that a son who sleeps in harvest (when there is work to be done) brings shame. Later, in Proverbs 24:30-34, God says that only a man lacking sense sleeps in laziness. His vineyard looked like a weed patch, and he is going to be one hungry person when winter comes along.

Fellow teens…I think that we can be self-disciplined in many facets of life and forget this vital area. We eat right, we exercise, we get done with schoolwork and chores, we are responsible with our siblings…but we sleep way longer than we should each morning (not to mention going to bed too late at night). Consider with me for a moment that every time we press the snooze button, we are using time that we could have spent in profitable things, such as time with God or family. Every time we press the snooze button, we are saying “I can’t have self-control in this area."

Now, I don’t want you to become sleep deprived. According to the National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep in America Poll, 80% of teens today do not get the optimal amount of sleep that they need. So begin using the gift of sleep wisely by getting enough shut-eye (that means 8 ½ - 9 ¼ hours of sleep each night). Go to be early. Get up in a timely fashion. This is not a call to less sleep. This is a call to responsible sleeping habits. Sleep is supposed to glorify God, like everything else in life. Use sleep as a tool…do not let it control you.

Most importantly, make time for our Lord in the mornings. When you rise early each day, you are saying that God is more valuable to you than a few more minutes of sleep. Follow the example of Jesus by rising early and spending time with our heavenly Father. It will be worth it…it always is. The road that we take to follow God is hard at first, but gets easier as we go on.

One might say, “Come on. Sleep to glorify God isn’t exactly culture-changing Christianity, is it?” Oh, friend, do not forget the mundane of life! It is in the commonplace that we live. Honor God in how and when you sleep. Worship Him by taking care of yourself in how you sleep, then show how valuable He is to you…infinitely more valuable than sleeping five more minutes.

Beep…beeps…beep… Next time you hear the alarm clock, thank God for it. You are master of your sleep. Be a good steward of it and slumber will serve you well. With the hymn writer, get up each day with these words on your lips:

Awake my soul and with the sun

Thy daily stage of duty run.

Shake off dull sloth and joyful rise,

To pay thy morning sacrifice!



[1] All scripture quotations from the English Standard Version

And on that note, I think that I'll go to bed! :-)

For His Glory,

Kristi


Comments:
What an interesting post on sleep! It was very enjoyable. Thank you for your comments. I appreciate them.

~Nella
 
Good post. I wish I could get by on less than 8 1/2 hours of sleep...I could get so much more done. But, I realize it is healthier to sleep enough.
 
hey Kristi
as you know, I think that it is quite possible to get on w/out 8 1/2 hrs., I have for years. :) But, in all honesty, I quess it is for over all better health..good post K!
'Leeann'
 
I'm surprised nobody caught this. Your calculation was way off. You would in fact spend 25 years sleeping. =D

Excellent Post. I'm sleep deprived. :D
 
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