Does anyone else ever feel like the main victim of a solid Christian faith is—sleep? Since my high school days I’ve felt that pull between my bed and the habits and activities I want to pursue for my faith. It’s getting worse as I get older—and this is coming from a guy without kids. I don’t know how you dads out there do it.
I suppose this conflict is a natural result of the type of lives men lead these days. We have a lot of different priorities. We have to work, mainly; so anything else in our lives has to fit into the times before and after work. We usually try to prioritize family time for our after-work hours, but of course that spot has to be shared with home groups, Bible studies, church activities and—if we can manage it—personal time.
That’s a lot to cram into the times between 6 p.m. and 11 p.m., which means we push the rest of the things we want to do into that before-work spot. Want to join a men’s group? That usually means a brutal 6:30 a.m. or 7 a.m. start time. Want to spend some time in the Word and personal prayer before everyone else gets up? You may have to start even earlier.
With the variety of things in life that clamor for our time, sleep is often the primary victim. We know we need it, and we know it is essential to performing the other items on our schedules well. But—when it comes down to it—sleep time is usually the easiest part of the day for us to sacrifice.
At least that’s the way it’s always been for me. My responsibilities are split between two jobs, my activities and my marriage. This variety often leads to a direct confrontation between my pillow and my Bible. If I want some time alone with God, it means another half-hour away from the sheets. Sadly, the sheets win out more than I would like.
Time management is one of the most crucial things we have to deal with as men. Balancing activities, work, families, faith and rest is one of the toughest things we have to do. God clearly wants us to prioritize well because the Bible clearly places an importance on all these things. Proverbs frequently mentions the value of hard work, while the Ten Commandments makes no bones about the fact that rest, embodied in the Sabbath, is crucial.
Do you also face this fight between faith and sleep, or am I alone on this one? If so, how do you deal with it?
This story was first posted in New Man e-magazine.