Getting Enough Sleep

By Joel Comiskey, Living in Victory, 2022

Sometimes we think there’s a spiritual answer for everything, and we ignore the physical. But often our discouragement, irritations, and impatience have more to do with our physical or mental conditions.

Elijah faced this dilemma when running from Jezebel after calling down fire and killing the 400 prophets of Baal. He had trusted God to do amazing things and God had answered. With God’s help, he single-handedly defeated 400 false prophets. But he was also exhausted.

Then he received a threat from Jezebel, his archrival, that tipped the scale emotionally. We read, “So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, ‘May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them” (1 Kings 19:2).  Elijah’s response?  We read, “Elijah was afraid and ran for his life” (1 Kings 19:3).

How could this man of God become so afraid of one leader? The answer is exhaustion.  We see the importance of not being severely exhausted in the way God treated Elijah on his journey to Horeb. God made sure Elijah slept and ate before arriving at the destination. Scripture says,

Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. (1 Kings 19:5-8)

When we’re exhausted or in poor health, it becomes difficult to accomplish anything. What might appear to be a spiritual dilemma, really has physical roots. We often forget that we are physical, mental, and emotional beings.

We do everything better with enough sleep. Experts say that a normal person needs about seven hours of sleep per night. For some, that might be too little. Our bodies just work better when rested. Sleep renews us and contributes to our vitality and vibrancy. Sleep repairs the body and gets us ready for the next day.

I’ve learned this truth the hard way. On many occasions, my lack of sleep caused increased irritation, faulty decisions, and discouragement. One week in October 2019, I was preparing to coach pastors and leaders, but I had not been sleeping well during the week. And this was also after weeks of busy travel. I had booked my days full of coaching leaders without the proper nightly sleep.  

Bodily health affects all we say and do. If we’re worn out, it’s going to show. If we feel sick, we’ll accomplish little.  A body dragged down by lack of sleep, unhealthy eating, and lack of exercise won’t function very well and might even cause us to manifest anger, impatience, and depression.