“And why do so many people pursue nighttime activities that guarantee fatigue which leads to despondency and irritability and moral vulnerability? Is it owing to a strong belief in God’s counsel to get good rest (Psalm 127:2) and a firm trust in his power to work for those who wait for him (Isaiah 64:4; Psalm 37:5)?” John Piper, Future Grace, p. 301-302
When I worked for a church in my hometown, my Pastor continually asked me, “Are you sleeping? Are you exercising?” Basically, was I taking care of myself the way that God would like? Luckily, I like to sleep and, usually, I like to exercise too, but they both take some amount of discipline and a belief in God’s wise counsel. These words from Piper are convicting to me – do I really believe God and His word? Do I believe that sleep is important and that He is constantly working, even when I’m not?
In ministry, it’s easy to imagine that whatever I am doing at that exact moment is the most important thing that I could be doing and worth losing sleep or health over. And, in a general sense, it’s true: God’s Word agrees that the souls of men are more important than my very life. However, God has called me to a lifetime of ministry, even if it doesn’t always look like what I’m doing now. My perspective has to be looking to maintain a lifetime of ministry. That is not possible if I allow myself to be constantly sleep-deprived and out-of-shape, unready and ill-prepared to carry out the tasks that God gives me.
I love Proverbs 31:17 – “She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.” I don’t think this verse is calling women everywhere to spend hours in the gym everyday. I don’t think that fits with the whole counsel of Scripture, which describes plenty of other ways we are to spend our time. However, it does tell us that we should aim to be physically strong and able to carry out the tasks that God gives us. If I am always fatigued, I am unable to serve my husband well, or look to the interests of others with godly energy.
In order to wake up and spend good time with the Lord, I simply must have 7-8 hours of sleep at night. If I do not, I’ve found that the temptation is too great for my weak spirit, and I stay in bed. So far this semester, my eating, exercise and sleep habits have been decent, but not consistently great. It is getting easier, though, as my daily life is developing a rhythm and I’m getting more accustomed to it. Keep me accountable to treating my body well!
Umm… I’d better go do some pull-ups.