Restful Sleep: The Unsung Pillar of Spiritual Strength

In today’s fast-paced world, sleep often finds itself relegated to the bottom of our priority list. Yet, as surprising as it may sound, a good night’s sleep might be one of the most spiritual activities you can engage in. Intrigued? Let’s delve deeper.

A revelation from John Ortberg, a teaching pastor I greatly admire, introduced me to this perspective. He boldly mentioned the significance of sleep in one of his sermons, and it was as if he had unveiled a forgotten biblical truth. It’s intriguing that while medical professionals frequently emphasize the value of sleep, the Church has been somewhat slower in acknowledging its spiritual dimension.

From a medical viewpoint, a lack of sleep is tied to a multitude of problems—greater susceptibility to viruses, heightened risk of anxiety or depression, and even weight issues. This fatigue clouds our focus, causing both students and professionals to operate below their best.

Yet, the spiritual repercussions of sleeplessness are even more profound, though less discussed. Reflecting upon my own life, I recognize how my drained spirit, resulting from sleepless nights, impedes my capacity to love my family, my neighbors, and above all, God Himself. In the haze of exhaustion, even the simplest acts of devotion—like praying or discerning God’s voice—feel like climbing mountains.

Indeed, it might be more spiritually uplifting at times to prioritize rest over, say, another chapter in the Bible or an extra service at church. This isn’t a call to forsake our spiritual commitments but rather a recognition that true spirituality doesn’t demand pushing ourselves to the brink. Perhaps, in certain moments, true devotion might just be honoring the physical need for rest that God has ingrained in us.

The challenge we face is striking a balance in our lifestyles. Is it feasible to cater to our bodily needs, foster our relationship with God, and cherish our loved ones simultaneously? More often than not, sleep is the first casualty in this juggling act, perceived as the “least spiritual.”

It’s disheartening to observe that many in the Christian community distance themselves from their physical selves. Just as our Creator set moral boundaries for a wholesome life, He also designed our physical bodies to operate within certain confines. Adequate rest is one of them. It’s a foundation, that allows us to serve and love God with our utmost potential.

Imagine a child, worn out and devoid of her afternoon nap. Even if she knows that snatching toys is wrong, her fatigue might get the best of her. Similarly, a young man, physically drained, may find it challenging to resist temptations that he could otherwise overcome with ease.

So, the next time you’re feeling spiritually drained, consider the restorative power of sleep. Embrace it, for it might just be the spiritual rejuvenation you’ve been searching for. After all, in the words of Psalm 127:2, “He gives his beloved sleep.