Chronicles of Sadie

You’re Getting Sleepy… Sleepy

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Sleep is a fascinating feature of creation. I’ve often reflected on the nature of our bodies and our world. In many ways, we’re set up internally with a rechargeable battery that has a limited charge. For this reason, between one-fourth and one-third of our day’s allotment of time is supposed to be devoted to sleep. For a world obsessed with productivity and efficiency, this time seems wasted. Just this week, I watched a commercial for a certain company who’s new slogan is “We never sleep.” I thought to myself, “Wow, I bet those employees are depressed!

Our bodies and minds were never meant to function in perpetual productivity with no rest. For that reason, God set us up with a natural “shut down” feature called sleep. Even as I type this blog on my amazing Mac computer, an annoying little red battery light taunts me from the upper-right hand corner of my screen. If I don’t hook up to AC power in about ten minutes, my computer will “go to sleep” whether I want it to or not. Rest, you see, is an essential, mandatory part of life.

Despite our best efforts through energy drinks, caffeine addictions, and accusations of laziness to those who sleep often, our bodies still require a certain amount of sleep in order to function properly. In fact, recent research has shown a significant correlation between long-term memory loss and sleep deprivation. Cheating ourselves out of rest for the purpose of greater productivity is actually counter-productive to our goal. No, our bodies will not give up the right to rest without a fight.

So it’s no surprise that our times of rest are key targets of the enemy. Take a lesson from Elijah who in one day called fire down out of heaven on Mt. Carmel, killed the prophets of Baal, and restored God’s blessing to Israel. Three sleepless days later, we find him in a fetal position under a tree asking God to take his life. Wow, that’s some emotional swing! What did God do? He sent an angel to feed Elijah and then to put him to sleep. Though we are spiritual beings, we still exist in physical bodies. Thus, we should never underestimate the importance of rest and sleep, as well as the challenges we will face when we miss out on either.

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They keep you safe on your way,
 and your feet will not stumble. You can go to bed without fear;
you will lie down and sleep soundly. You need not be afraid of sudden disaster or the destruction that comes upon the wicked, for the Lord is your security. He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap. Proverbs 3: 23-26 (NLT)

Nightmares or insomnia are definite deterrents to a restful night’s sleep. We must reconnect our minds with the context of this passage. A life completely surrendered to God’s wisdom and direction will allow us to “go to bed without fear” and to “lie down and sleep soundly” (verse 24). This is not just unconsciousness; this is peace. This kind of rest originates from a spiritual place and trickles down to touch us physically. What a premise! We can lie down and let our fears and anxieties be trumped by the realization that our God is wise and gracious enough to handle life’s issues. I’m drowsy just thinking about it!

At present, no other example is more effective in my mind than my current nightly routine. My little Sadie falls asleep in my arms with no fears of intruder, sickness, or catastrophe. She doesn’t worry about what might happen while she rests or whether or not the next day will be difficult to face. No, as long as Daddy rocks her to sleep, that’s a good enough guarantee to snore the night away and leave tomorrow’s struggles to tomorrow.

Yeah, but I’m not a little baby. I can’t rest because of my own weaknesses and worries about my own shortcomings. I can’t truly rest because I’m not worthy of God’s protection. It’s my fault!

If these thoughts plague your mind, brace yourself for the next verse. ”You need not be afraid of sudden disaster or the destruction that comes upon the wicked for the Lord is your security… ” (verses 25-26). You may not be perfect, but you can still trust in his “security.” Like a little child who feels safe beneath a warm blanket, God’s grace is a covering of security that should make your heart feel steady and your eyes feel heavy. Of course you don’t deserve it! That’s why you need grace! So don’t rest in your own ability to be good; sleep soundly in the steady rocking of his merciful arms around you.

Yeah, there are traps set for you tomorrow morning, but God has promised he is able to “keep your foot from being caught… “ (verse 26). Our perfection is not the condition of his grace; his perfection and our surrender are the only conditions.

Let these promises surround you. Breathe them in like soothing nighttime vapors. Ask God to forgive you. To strengthen you. To give you rest and sleep. Then lie down, close your eyes. and let God worry about the “rest.”

Nighty-night.

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