In general, sleep is my good friend. However, there are nights when I find myself staring wide-eyed at impossible numbers on the digital clock. Awake at 2:36 A.M. Really? Still awake I glance again: 3:14 A.M. Then the internal monologue begins: Don’t think! Whatever you do, don’t turn your brain on! Too late.
I try deep breathing and other relaxation techniques. Then, I recite favorite Scriptures (Psalm 91 has served me well as a calming “sleeping pill” over the years.) Prayer is an excellent use of early morning hours, but it’s a bit dangerous, because it tends to put my mind and heart on full alert. So, back to intentional breathing. Don’t look at the clock! And then I peek: 3:54. Ahhh!
What’s going on?
There is no call for stress, fear or anxiety for a Christian. Jesus promised rest for my soul, and Solomon wrote, in Psalm 127, that the Lord “grants sleep to those he loves.” Therefore, I should sleep like a baby, resting securely in my Heavenly Father’s care, right?
On the other hand, there are times when prayer is more important than sleep. Jesus spent an entire night in prayer before he selected his twelve disciples. The Psalms are peppered with David’s prayers poured out throughout anxious nights. If extended night-time prayer sessions were ok for David and Jesus, they’re ok with me.
My new theology of sleep is one of surrender. It seems to me that my nights and sleeping hours belong to the Lord just like my days and waking hours do. So, here’s my plan, and it won’t be easy, because I really do like a good night’s sleep. I think I’ll just trust God to wake me when he wants me awake and give me restful sleep when I need it.
I’ll let you know how it works.
How do you handle sleepless nights?
“I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8