Idolizing Sleep in Motherhood

It’s taken me awhile to figure out how to verbalize this - but I’ve finally hit the nail on the head. I idolize sleep. Let me tell you how this has come to be:

First, let me say, I actually loathe sleeping. It feels like such a waste of time. While some people pray that heaven includes freedom to nap, I pray I won’t need sleep at all. I have had sleeping “issues” my whole life. Sleep doesn’t come easy to me. I can’t sleep whenever, wherever. And even with the most perfect conditions, about half the time I still don’t sleep. It’s just not a pleasant experience! 

Now, here’s where that ^ is an issue. I’m not one of those people that function well on little sleep. I physically and emotionally need it more than a lot of people I know. See the paradox here?  

Entering motherhood I was already in a weak sleep position, so the 24/7 job hours of motherhood certainly hasn’t made my issue any better. My spirit and attitude towards sleep has spiraled out of control. I covet every hour, lost or gained. I obsess, anxiously, over the loss or lack of it. I put all of my hope for the next day in that night's sleep. Sometimes I can’t sleep worrying about not sleeping… 

The problem (or my sin) isn’t me trying to create a conducive sleep environment or take healthy steps to obtain a whole night of sleep - it’s that I hold too tightly to the need for sleep. My brain consciously and subconsciously relies on sleep more than God. 

The truth is, God has proven to me countless times that I don’t need sleep as much as my brain tells me I do. I’ve survived off of <3 hours of sleep for days in a row. Was it pleasant? No. Did I do it and keep my son alive? Yes. This is not to say we should push through exhaustion in our own power, but instead we need to rely on God when sleep is not possible 

Each day this has occurred I thought to myself, “Wow God, you did it again. You carried me through.” 

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. Psalm 46: 1-3

Part of me wonders, did God design my body to be this way as a built in reminder system to rely on Him more? Did God know I would sinfully resort to luxuries like sleep over Him?

Sleep is an essential part of being a human. We are broken and our flawed bodies need it. But do we need it more than we need Him? No. 

I don’t mean to belittle sleeping issues or the need for medical intervention. Believe me. But I do think it’s possible to covet sleep and that’s a separate issue. The desire for sleep is not sin, it’s the attitude and position we hold it in that can lead to sin. 

So what do we do? What should I do when I face a third night of insufficient sleep? I pray. I snap myself out of it. I drag my body out of bed, go for a walk around the house, get back in bed, and pray out loud. I pray for God to reveal what it is He’s longing for me to hear or see. I proclaim His presence over Satan’s. I sit in silence and wait for His peace to overwhelm me. Sometimes I open my Bible app on my phone and read the Psalms until my eyelids fall shut. When worry creeps into my light sleep, I remind myself that God’s grace is sufficient and through His strength I will survive the next day. For He is greater and as He lives in and through me, He will care for me. 

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9