Monday, March 24, 2008

Get Up Sleepy Head

This morning Kristal and I listened to the "Question and Answers" session from the 2008 Desiring God Pastor's Conference. Piper said something that may set some of you free. Often times Christians feel like the need for sleep is a sign of spiritual weakness and laziness. As I have mentioned on my blog before, I do not require large amounts of sleep--if I can afford to get 7-8 hours of sleep Friday night, I can easily survive off of 5-6 hours of sleep a night throughout the week. Kristal, on the other hand, requires at least 8 hours of sleep every night if she is to function well throughout the day. George Mueller suggests in his autobiography that humans only need 6 hours of sleep every night. Although I respect George Mueller, such a comment is completely narrow-minded. I know certain people who feel like they need to discipline their bodies to learn to get only 5 or 6 hours of sleep every night and end up being completely useless throughout the day because of it.

So what does this have to do with the "Question and Answers" session? Well, the panelists (John Piper, D. A. Carson, Crawford Loritts, and Greg Livingstone) were asked to tell the audience what has helped them to remain close to the Lord throughout their ministries. Many good answers were given. I was especially blessed by Piper's answer. In essence, Piper said that one of the things that has helped him to stay close to the Lord is taking care of his body. In fact, Piper said, "we are embodied spirits"--this is something that many of us forget. He stated that he needs at least 7 hours of sleep every night or he becomes a zombie. He said that once he falls behind on sleep he has a difficult time passionately living for Jesus Christ.

I hope this sets some of you burdened souls free. If you need at least 8 hours of sleep a night, lay your head on your pillow, without setting your alarm, knowing that the most influential theologian/pastor of our day also needs his sleep. Lay your head on your pillow to the glory of God. Do it knowing with confidence that Satan will not come and steal your soul (or your birthday) if you sleep past 8 in the morning. This obviously is not license to be lazy, but it is a call for us to embrace the fact that we are mere mortals. It is a call for us to realize that God has made us with limitations on purpose.

Anyway, I hope that is a blessing to some of you. I suggest you listen to the "Question and Answers" session--it was good.


Tom 1st said...

That's cool.

A few years ago I was listening to Piper preach and he briefly said something about the discipline of sleep. It confused me a bit as to why he thought it was so important. This gives me the context.

I wonder what he would suggest for insomniacs like myself? :)


Jessy said...

that is freeing advice - thanks for posting it!