Have you ever felt too busy for sleep? I feel that way often. It is not unusual for me to wake up on the couch at 3 am with my MacBook on my lap and my phone in my hand, and stumble into bed with a list of to-dos still running through my mind.
Maybe you can relate. A lot of us are busy, and sleep sometimes seems to just get in the way. Our lives chant the “sleep when you’re dead” mantra. We should think of sleep as a gift rather than a nuisance. But we have so much to do.
We don’t like to sleep because we’re too busy. And there are at least two reasons we’re too busy.
We can’t say no.
We think it’s our responsibility to say yes to everything we’re asked to do. So we take on way too much. And we become stressed and anxious because we don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. There is no end in sight. So we lose sleep, and we sacrifice our health because we won’t say no.
We like being busy.
This is my issue. Being busy tends to become part of my identity. I start finding my value in how much I can accomplish, rather than in being a child of God.
I was talking to my wife about this recently because she often has way more to do than I do, but she often has more peace and less anxiety than I do.
She told me that she views sleep as an act of trusting God. When she gets to the end of the day and still has more to do, she chooses to give her anxieties, worries and burdens to God and go to bed. She trusts Him to give her the ability to accomplish tomorrow what she couldn’t accomplish today.
I don’t see sleep that way at all. Sleep isn’t my way of trusting God to give me grace for tomorrow. Instead, it’s God’s way of reminding me that I can’t do everything. I go to sleep, not because I trust God, but because my body can’t take anymore today.
If what you need to accomplish requires more than the 24 hours you’ve been given, then that’s probably an indicator that you’re taking on more than God intended you to.
But the truth is, sleep is a gift. It’s a beautiful reminder that we can’t do it all. Only God can.
He is the one who helps us accomplish what we need to accomplish. And if what you need to accomplish requires more than the 24 hours you’ve been given, then that’s probably an indicator that you’re taking on more than God intended you to.
Psalm 127:1-2 says: “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain… It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.”
What about hustle?
Sleep is vital to our physical, emotional and spiritual health. But sometimes there are busy seasons. So where’s the balance?
In his book “Do Over,” speaker and author Jon Acuff says, “Hustle has seasons.” He compares a season of hustle to medical school. When you’re in medical school, you’re going to be busy. There’s no way around it. But that season has an end date. You eventually graduate. Hustle should be seasonal. But sometimes we try to turn hustle into a way of life.
When hustle starts to find a permanent place in our lives, we start finding our value in what we do, and that’s where things go wrong. We will begin sacrificing other areas of our lives, like our health, our family or our character. And we will stop relying on God to help us do what we need to do, and only rely on ourselves.
Have faith and go to bed.
If you want to know how much you trust God, ask yourself what time you usually go to bed. Because, like the Psalms say, “He gives to His beloved sleep.”
When life is overwhelming and working longer and harder seems like the only way to get it all done, remember that His mercies will be new in the morning (Lamentations 3:22-23).