On Sleep and Sabbath

Often I ponder the concept of sleep. We spend nearly a third of our life in a state in which we’re not really living at all–we’re not making decisions, we’re not building relationships, we’re not praising God, and we’re not working. What’s the point? Why did God create us in a way that we, in a sense, waste a significant portion of our lives?

Humans tend to have a love-hate relationship throughout their lives. Most children hate to go to bed, probably because they realize that there really is “nothing to do”. In a way, its pretty boring. I still sometimes feel this way, as I just want to stay up one more hour so I can read more, talk to my friends, watch that one last tv show or movie, or party just a bit longer. Sometimes I even say, “OK God, help me fall asleep quickly so I can just wake up seemingly quickly and just get to my next day!”. This I believe is not uncommon. However, I also love to sleep! I have trouble getting out of bed because my blanket just feels soooo good! After a long day of work doesn’t everyone just look forward to a good night’s sleep. Most people would agree that being tired sucks the joy out of life.

And it is this fact (that we hate being tired) I think, that reveals to us an insight into what it means to sleep. Perhaps sleep is our daily mini-reminder of what it means to remember the Sabbath. This may seem like a stretch I know, but let me explain. I’ll admit, my theology on the Sabbath is basic at best, but I know the Sabbath is primarily about remembering to worship God. To do this we are called to refrain from any unneeded work, rest as “God did”, and in a sense “re-create” ourselves to be more like God. While not necessarily praising God while we sleep, we are acknowledging how God made us–we are finite beings, we sin, and we are all slowly dying. Sleep allows us rejuvenate ourselves by dying to our constant need to be busy, putting our sins behind us, and rising as a new creation each and every day. Is that not what the Sabbath is about–Resurrection?! God wants us to know that being busy doesn’t equal living the fullness of life–in fact, it often hinders it. Whether or not you agree with me that sleep is a mini-sabbath, I challenge you to consider what it means to live out the Sabbath not only once a week (which is important), but daily. How can we daily take time to worship God, die to our sins, and arise each day as a new creation?

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