Word for Wednesday… Sleep
I lie down in peace; at once I fall asleep; for only you, LORD, make me dwell in safety.Psalm 4:8
I don’t get nearly as much sleep as I should. For starters, it takes me forever to fall asleep. And then I have a hard time staying asleep. I wake up constantly. People tell me I’m too young for that, but my bladder tells me otherwise. The late night trips to the bathroom are probably unavoidable for someone who drinks as much water as I do, but the falling asleep thing shouldn’t be so difficult. It’s not that I’m not tired. I just can’t seem to get my brain to turn off. Long after my body is lying prostrate under the covers, my mind is still racing a mile a minute. I can’t stop thinking about the stresses of work, concerns about the people I love, my growing to-do list, or the latest depressing, tragic or frightening news headline.
I’ve tried listening to my sermons. That seems to work for many in my congregation. I’ve tried not looking at my phone late at night, or watching television. I’ve tried those melatonin supplements. I’ve tried counting sheep, but that only reminds me of the actual goats I have to take care of. I place strict limits on my caffeine intake. All without success. Then I read the last verse of this psalm the other day, and discovered what may be the biggest part of my problem; I’m not giving all my stresses, concerns, anxiety, fears, etc. to God. If I would only do that, I could fall asleep the moment my head hits the pillow, or at least soon thereafter. Earlier in this psalm, the author refers to what must have been a common plea in his or her day, “Oh, that we might see better times!” A lot of people are saying that today, myself included. But I can’t afford to wait for better times to get a good night’s rest. Thankfully, I don’t have to, and neither do you, because our God will watch over us and keep us safe no matter the circumstances.
P.S. The next time you have a hard time falling asleep, repeat this verse over and over again, reminding yourself of the peace and rest God wants to give you.