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If you’re one of my family or friends who likes to stay up too late or just doesn’t get enough sleep because of your habits, you’ll likely have heard me tell you, “Go to bed,” or “Go to sleep.” Sometimes I’ll tell you in a different language if you didn’t listen the first time.

We often don’t realize how important it is to stop for a good while and let ourselves rest. I think sometimes we revert to our childhood and won’t rest because we’re afraid something fun will happen without us. At other times we’re afraid nothing will get done if we aren’t constantly moving. But if you don’t rest then you’ll be too tired to enjoy the fun. If you don’t rest then you won’t have the energy to get things done. God created us to require a long set of unbroken sleep every night. When you deprive yourself of regular sleep you begin to set yourself up for all sorts of health problems: physical, mental, and emotional. Sleeping is a time for your brain to “save the files” you have taken in that day, and to “de-frag” a few others. It is a time for your body and all its systems to readjust, re-calibrate, and renew. It gives rest to your being so you can process and recuperate from the previous day, and be refreshed with new energy for the next day.

I’ve also found that the part where you lie awake in bed waiting for sleep can be a very productive time when done properly. We often lie awake with our own thoughts spinning around in our heads, sometimes with good thoughts and sometimes with bad ones. But let God in on the spinning. Talk to Him about how you feel and what you’re thinking. Be conscious of God already knowing what’s going on in your head. Let Him talk to you. Quote some Scripture, and let God bring some to your mind. Resting isn’t just for your body, it’s for your spirit as well. God made you so that you must stop at some point and process things, that way you’ll remain healthy all over your being and continue to be able to function well.

In the Bible God set the first principle of resting by example, and He doesn’t even need to rest (Genesis 2:1-3). Because we are so inclined not to rest, God has reinforced and reiterated resting as a command (Exodus 20:8-11). Rest is something we need to do, and God gave us full ability and permission to do so, leading by example. God frequently tells us to be still. Sometimes He tells us more often than we would like, but if we were never still we would miss so many things that God wants to show us. Sometimes you need to stop and look around to see clearly what’s going on around you. Sometimes you need to stop and let God show you that you don’t have to do everything, or even most things, by yourself. Sometimes you need to stop because you’ve worn yourself out, but you’re so exhausted you don’t even realize it. Sometimes you just need to stop and let God be God.