Most of us have heard of the notion of a hierarchy of needs. If you haven’t, basically it is a system of ranking things in our life according to their importance. You may have heard of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs or the countless imitators of this theory that usually start with physical needs first, then progress to more emotional and psychological needs (usually with no mention of spiritual needs).
Beyond basic needs, it’s also helpful to prioritize the most important things in our life. Many Christians frequently would rank the most important things in their life (in order) as:
But that's not quite what the bible teaches. When God asks us to make our "list" it should look more like this:
(imagine a huge gap here)
- Family, Friends, Work, Possessions*
When we don’t orient our lives this way, we are idolizing other things. I’ve shared with many of you how I recently went through a struggle with insomnia. While I often have had a sleepless night here or there, usually I can attribute it to jet lag or stress or over-caffeinating myself. This time, however, lasted for weeks with only 2-3 hours of sleep a night and I couldn’t pinpoint the issue. But the longer I struggled, the more I came to realize that the cause of sleeplessness was directly related to my spiritual health. I had been willfully disobeying, running from God, and ignoring his teachings. It became clear that I wasn’t spending the time with Him I needed to, so He decided to make time in my schedule by keeping me awake long after I had planned.
What it really came down to is that I was ignoring my greatest need. Sure, I made small times for God here and there, but looking back it felt more like that was just an obligatory check-in rather than anything resembling a conversation. So I’ve made adjustments, found the time, and have began prioritizing time with God over time spent doing other things (including sleep). I have since been sleeping much better. In His grace He sought me, and I am thankful He did. I spent a lot of time feeling anxious and focusing on Philippians 4. Right after God’s command to “not be anxious about anything” (Phil 4:6), after we are told to make our requests known to God, we are told that “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (4:7) God has been guarding my heart and mind, and when He saw I needed intervention, He chose a way in which I would actually listen. I don’t understand His methods, but the result is that God sought me and brought me closer to Him through trial.
So my friends, I don’t recommend waiting until God forces you to spend time with Him. Choose Him as your priority above all else, and just maybe you’ll sleep better at night.
(Credit to Francis Chan for pointing this out in the book: You and Me Forever*, Francis and Lisa Chan)