“Sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep.” Ecclesiastes 5:12
I used to try to control how much sleep I got, and it made my life miserable. There were so many things I told myself I couldn’t do because I needed to make sure I got in my full 8-10 hours of sleep every night. I felt as though I needed to stick to the same sleep schedule every day. That meant I was never able to wake up earlier than normal to work out or do a Bible study. That applied to my evening routine as well. I told myself that I had to be in bed by a certain time every night.
Recently, I’ve realized that a wise person does whatever they need to get done, and they allow the amount of hours of sleep they get to fluctuate. That means they go to bed at whatever time they are able to get to it, once everything is done that needs to be done for the day. That means if they are tired at 11:00pm, but they still haven’t prayed, they stay up and pray even though it may be painful and keep them from getting more sleep, and this also means that even if they stayed up late the night before, they get up however early they need to get up in order to get whatever they need to get done in the morning. This may mean they need to get up at 3:30 or 4:00am in the morning sometimes. The key is to do whatever it takes.
If you have to leave to work at 6:00 am, and you want to get in a 30 minute workout and an hour of bible study and prayer that means you’re going to need to wake up at 4:00am. Do it even though it seems early. If that’s what it takes, that’s what it takes. Let go of the sleep, and go through the pain. God is not calling us to a comfortable lifestyle in which we never experience pain or discomfort. Discomfort is inevitable if we are following God.
It’s uncomfortable to lead a brother out of a sinful path you see them walking in. It is uncomfortable to confess your sins. It is uncomfortable to rise early and read the Bible and pray. It is uncomfortable to stay awake at night and pray when you’re tired. It’s uncomfortable to walk with someone and really be there for someone who is experiencing difficult circumstances in life. It is uncomfortable to serve others above yourself. It is uncomfortable to take care of your sick friend or family member. It is uncomfortable to expose yourself to poverty and ill treatment in attempts of bringing the gospel to the nations.
There are countless ways in which we are called to walk through discomfort and painful circumstances in order to serve God and others. Eventhough it may be hard, uncomfortable and painful much of the time, this is not a sad way of life. Of course there can be times of depression and sadness, but in the long run this is the path of true joy and peace. We don’t seek after that joy and peace, but often times God will put it in our hearts when we least expect it.
When it comes to sleep this same principal applies. It is not comfortable to wake up early to read our Bibles and pray, but that is the life God is calling most of us to. Through that pain and discomfort many good things will come: the renewal of our mind by the scriptures, sanctification for ourselves and those whom we pray for and many other blessings God will work into our lives and the lives of those we pray for. It’s not comfortable to stay up at night and pray, but the same concept applies, it will lead us to developing a more intimate relationship with the Lord and many other blessing for us and others. One thing that I’ve learned recently is that I need God more than I need sleep so it’s well worth missing an hour of sleep to have time with God and to get God’s help in my life.
The main point is simply this: Let go of how much sleep you get per night. Let that be decided each day and by the circumstances you have been placed in. If you only get 4 hours of sleep some nights because that’s what it takes to get done with what you need to get done, so be it. That is the path of true life.
- Rise as early as you need to in order to get done whatever it is you need to get done.
- Stay awake as late as you need in order to get done whatever it is you need to get done.
- Let go of how much sleep you get, and let that be determined by God and the circumstances and work he places before you
- Rise early enough for an adequate time of Bible study and prayer every day.
- Stay up and pray even if you’re tired before bed (You need God more than you need sleep