‘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” (Psalm 127:2).
Sleep deprived is one term. Exhausted is another. These descriptors have been used a lot recently at the Wolfe household. The reason is that our newborn, Piper “the precious pill,” clearly believes sleep is sinful.
With our overly hurried and busy lives, becoming physically depleted is way too common. People schedule more and rest less. This is unhealthy both physically and spiritually. Let me explain.
Given that humans are created in the image of God, we are tripartite beings; like God we have a trinitary composition. People are made up of body, soul, and spirit. The body is our physical element, our soul is our mental and emotional component, and our spirit is the part of us that God created to worship and fellowship with Him. Our spirits became marred and lifeless with our inheritance of Adam’s original sin (1 Corinthians 5:22), but is brought back to life through the regenerating power of the gospel (Ephesians 2:1-5; Colossians 2:13).
OK, enough of the theological mumbo-jumbo – the point is that all 3 of these are interconnected. Our soul (emotions and state of mind) can impact our bodies and our faith life. Think of psychosomatic illness or a poor attitude. As such, when we are spiritually out of whack our bodies, minds, and emotions are negatively impacted also. And the converse of this is true – good things in one area can positively influence the others.
With that said, our physical state (sick, well, tired, energized, etc.) affects our spiritual life. It can affect our faith. Think about it: when you get tired don’t you get irritable, confused, and even begin to feel the ramifications in your walk with God…and even your faith? I do! Get me tired enough and I’m a spiritual wreck – I worry, neglect my devotional life, feel estranged from God’s presence, and even doubt God’s direction.
Let’s look at Jonah. The Bible’s portrayal of him is overwhelmingly negative. Although most see his desertion of God’s calling (Jonah 1) to be the low-light of his story, actually the 4th chapter, where is throws such a hissy fit with God, is his worst moment. Remember? He complains that God brought revival to evil Ninevah, grumbled about his worm-infested dead plant, and asked God to kill him. In fact, he twice asked to die.
Now I’m not making excuses for the unwilling prophet, but by this point he had to be exhausted. After all, He was called by God, got into a boat to flee to Tarshish, was so tired he fell asleep in the middle of a tumultuous storm, was discovered and discarded overboard by the fearing seamen, was swallowed by a great fish, spent 3 days and nights soaked by the fish’s gastric juices, was spit up onto dry land, re-commissioned by God, journeyed to Ninevah, walked a full day into the city (which may have been a 3 day journey in circumference), preached a revival, watched his worst nightmare unfold (Assyria’s repentance and God’s compassion on them), journeyed out of the city (at least another day), and finally sought solace somewhere outside of the city. All in 4 chapters!
And we wonder why Jonah was such a grump.
And we wonder why we are such grumps.
You may be getting tired just reading this.
So here are a few suggestions:
- You can’t do everything; so don’t even try. I know you have heard that it’s better to burn out than rust out…but neither is a good option.
- Ask God to give you physical rest – “So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest…” (Hebrews 4:9-11).
- Seek to spiritually rest in God – “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
So, maybe we should all commit to cancelling some things on our already overbooked calendar, eliminating some activity that isn’t absolutely necessary, turn off the TV, unplug the computer, close the door, have some rejuvenating time with Jesus, and turn in a little bit early. And do the same thing again tomorrow.
And I promise to do the same. Just as soon a princess Piper slows down her 6 week old, all night party.