With my daylight hours filled with job searching and seeking God’s direction for my future, I find myself fighting for a decent night’s sleep. Just because the lamp turns off doesn’t mean my swirly thoughts will.
I discovered some night-time routines that help me settle my mind and set myself up for a restful night.
When I neglect my routines, my body, mind and spirit toss and turn all night. If I do sleep, I end up hashing out my worries and insecurities in my dreams, which only makes them seem bigger come morning. I wake up frustrated, exhausted and in pain.
But when I invite Jesus into my evening hours, He eases in His peace and inches out my worries.
Here’s what’s working for me.
Remember God is God and I am not.
One of the last things I do before bed is take my little Riff out for one last tinkle on a tree. As I stand in the grass waiting for him do his thing, the brilliant star display pulls my face heavenward. Something about that stunning sight settles me. The God of the heavens is the God of my heart.
The same stars shone in King David’s day when he penned these words: “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” (Psalm 8:3-4 NIV)
Who am I that God would give me a second thought? Yet I am always on His mind. When I exchange His peace and rest for tossing and turning, I am essentially saying that He can’t handle my problems. That my wisdom is supreme to His. That He is not who He says He is.
Even on the cloudiest of nights, I know those stars are up there. I know my God is here and handling things. So, while Riff waters the daisies, I lift my eyes up and pray, “I trust You, God.”
I mentioned in a previous post how counting gratefuls helped me shake off a bad case of the blues. I can’t emphasize enough how powerful this practice is. Ann Voskamp wrote a compelling book about it. If you haven’t read it yet, please move it to the top of your book stack. Just this week, Ann shared on her blog a living, breathing example of how counting gifts kept a woman living when her circumstances felt like certain death.
“When you are dying of thirst, passively reading about water quenches little; the only way to be quenched is to actually get a cup and drink. We have to do more than read and think and plan, we’ll have to do something.
You’ve got to open up your mouth and swallow.
You’ve got to taste and see He’s good —
God isn’t asking us to earn His love. He’s simply asking us to turn towards His love.
You’ve got to grab a pen and count gifts. You’ve got to look for the glory and hunt for the grace and seize beauty in ugly and laugh brave and defiant in the dark and you can lose everything but nothing can steal Jesus and He is enough and you have got. to. live.”
Gratitude is appropriate all day long, but bedtime is my favorite time to pour out my thanks to God. Many nights, I fall asleep with “Thank you, Lord for…” on my lips. When gratitude fills my final thoughts, I go to sleep thinking of all I have instead of what I don’t. It makes all the difference.
Say goodnight to my questions and concerns.
Trouble is a part of life for all of us. Money trouble. Job woes. Chronic illness. Relationship problems. Societal decay. No life is problem-free, and problems don’t fade away when the sun goes down. At some point, we have to say, “Night night” to our troubles and lay them down. Trust me, they’ll still be there come morning… right there with God’s new mercies.
Tarry with truth.
As part of my quest for a renewed mind, I’m trying to read more. Right now, I’m reading Max Lucado’s new release, Glory Days. I sleep much better when I lay down the i-phone and close out my day turning paper pages. God meets me on the pages of Christian books. He reminds me I’m not the only one with questions. He challenges me to make connections between human stories and biblical truth. He reminds me I’m a writer with a story to tell. Often, the truths I glean from the book I’m reading free-flow into my running list of gratefuls.
Friend, it is possible to sleep tight when stress is on the loose. Here Jesus say to your weary heart, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28 ESV). It really is that simple.
Lord, because You never slumber, I can sleep in peace (Psalm 121:3-4). “In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8 ESV). I trust You, Lord, and I thank You for being trustworthy. My life is in Your hands both day and night. In Jesus’ Name I pray, AMEN
Is Jesus invited into your bedtime routine? How do you prepare for a restful night?