In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. ESV Psalm 4:8
I write often on sleep, but it’s honestly one of the key elements of my spiritual development. Just this past week I came across another article encouraging rest. Apparently, the happiest people sleep 7.1 hours a night. Another article indicates the US loses 63 billion dollars in lost productivity each year because we are sleep deprived. Each Saturday, when I take a deeper look at myself, I always check my physical condition, and one of the aspects of my physical condition is the amount of sleep I am getting.
I wrote before on the importance of rest and the futility of working hard to the exclusion of taking time to rest, so I won’t repeat that here. Rather, in this post, I want to gently probe us on idolatry as it relates to sleep deprivation. The psalmist quoted above acknowledges he is able to sleep well because the LORD creates his safety. The other night I awoke, and stayed awake for an hour fretting over whether or not my town house will rent in September when the lease is up. Instead of committing that to the Lord (as it really is in His hands) I gave up an hour of sleep in worry. In reality, my worry was my idol…somehow, between 2 and 3am, I was convinced I could figure out how to ensure my townhouse would rent. Other nights I stay up late working on various projects for the church. Most of these projects (things like tweaking my PowerPoint) may trace back to idols (I want people to like my preaching which means they like me). Instead of finding my identity is being liked by God, I give up sleep to try to ensure others like me.
No doubt we give up sleep for many other reasons. Perhaps you worry about health, the economy, your job or your kids. Perhaps you fear for your physical safety, or you have concerns about your marriage. True, it’s hard to sleep when these things are on our minds. However, if God is god, and we aren’t worshiping idols, we should sleep. Take some time tonight to give those idols to God…then go to sleep!