Your Sleep: An Act of Faith?

Kara Powell | Aug 30, 2012

I love to sleep. I fall asleep quickly, and my best weekend days often include naps.

Perhaps that’s why I was so intrigued by Amy Simpson’s blog post this week on hermeneutics.com entitled “Big Business and the Sacred Mystery of Sleep”.

Simpson does an excellent job pointing out that because of our lack of sleep, sleep has become a $32 billion economic opportunity with products ranging from sleeping pills to candles to special black-out curtains. She also highlights the research that consistently indicates that humans (yes, you!) need 7-9 hours of sleep per night for healthy and effective living.

As I was reading Simpson’s post, I thought of a talk I once heard by Richard Foster in which he proclaimed that sleep was one of our ultimate acts of faith. When we sleep, we are saying to ourselves, others and to God that we trust God to be at work, even when we are out of the picture.

When it comes to our daily choices, studies of young people behind the wheel indicate that young people with sleep deficits are more likely to make disastrous mistakes when they lack sleep. Is it possible that the same could be true for young people in other areas of their lives? Could a lack of sleep also lead them to make choices as they had back to school that they later regret?

So as we think about the young people in our lives, whether it’s our own kids or those in our ministries, perhaps it’s time we ask some pointed questions about our own sleep habits:

  1. What are our sleep habits like? How close are we to getting what our bodies “need”?
  2. What does our sleep say about our faith? About our views of God?
  3. What are the young people in our lives learning about rest and faith by the sleeping patterns we exemplify?
  4. What are they learning by the way we talk about sleep?
  5. What might we want to do differently now that we’ve thought about our sleep patterns for a few minutes?

Given Richard Foster’s connection between sleep and faith, this weekend I hope I get to exercise some faith!

Kara Powell

Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary, and Fuller's Chief of Leadership Formation. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women You Should Know,” Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and also speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara is the author or coauthor of a number of books, including Growing Young, Growing With, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith Curriculum, Can I Ask That?, Deep Justice Journeys, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum. Kara lives with her husband Dave and their three children, Nathan, Krista, and Jessica, in Southern California.


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