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John Piper, speaking at age 49:

“I am emotionally less resilient when I lose sleep.

There were early days when I would work without regard to sleep and feel energized and motivated.

In the last seven or eight years my threshold for despondency is much lower.

For me, adequate sleep is not a matter of staying healthy. It is a matter of staying in the ministry.

It is irrational that my future should look bleaker when I get four or five hours sleep several nights in a row.

But that is irrelevant. Those are the facts. And I must live within the limits of facts.

I commend sufficient sleep to you, for the sake of your proper assessment of God and his promises.”

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11 thoughts on “Getting Enough Sleep and Staying in the Ministry”

  1. Melody says:

    Yes. I’m amazed by sleep’s ability to make me smarter, happier, friendlier, and braver.

  2. Martie Mangum says:

    I needed this after only getting 2 hours of sleep last night. One of my children were up all night and today I have lacked motivation.

  3. Blaine Moore says:

    Can’t agree nearly enough! I’m finally getting used to the idea that, for me, it’s OK to sleep in if I need to in order for the day to be productive and my head to be right! I don’t punch a clock, so that’s a definite advantage I have, but adequate rest is essential, as Piper says, for staying in the ministry. It’s useless to stay up late and get up early…Ps 127:2

  4. Tony Byrne says:

    And if one wants to work on losing weight, do not underestimate the importance of getting regular sleep. I’ve lost 40 pounds this year, mainly because of healthy eating habits and plenty of sleep, but I do get some exercise at work as well. Sleep was a significant factor.

  5. My daughters are 3 months old and two years old.

    I am so tired right now.

    1. Mason says:

      Hang in there, Steve. I’ve got two little ones myself. It’s a hard stage, but His grace is sufficient!

  6. Tom says:

    I read that John Owen taught himself to only sleep 4 hours a night. Years later, in light of all the health problems it caused, he said he would trade all the work done in that time for the health he lost by not sleeping.

  7. Forever Sad says:

    The blogger Justin Taylor, the quoted pastor John Piper, the commenters Melodie, Blaine, Tony, fathers Steve and Mason and Martie, Tom … all of you will enjoy the benefits of sleep.

    But for some us, we will not be able to derive much profit from sleep. We will forever face despondency, things in our perspective will forever look bleak. We will try to get sleep, and we will sleep, but sleep will not do much good. Melody notes and experiences sleep’s ability to make her smarter, friendlier, happier and braver. Others of us who can’t get quality sleep will be forever stupid, isolation-seeking, depressed.

    Why? Because our brains are damaged. Because we have had a concussion. Jealous of the sleep that you guys are all getting (most nights). We will forever be hopeless and helpless.

    1. I’m with you. There are other medical issues that prevent good sleep also.

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Justin Taylor, PhD

Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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