When You Just Can't Sleep

Do you have trouble sleeping at night? I heard on the news this morning that a high percentage of us struggle just to find the relief of a few hours of good rest. Twenty-five percent of American adults have taken some kind of sleeping medication. So it seems our national nightmare is the tossing and turning, pounding our pillows, and staring at our alarm clock, knowing we have to get up in just a few hours and face the new day, rested or weary, energized or comatose.

Insomnia takes many forms. Some can't get to sleep, others can't stay asleep, while still others can't get back to sleep. The culprit robbing us of our winks might be pain or anger or anxiety or stress or just a mind that refuses to shut down at closing time. And more than a few of us deal with more serious issues like sleep apnea or other sleep disorders. Some of my friends have had to put on the breathing apparatus every night just to keep them going through the night.

On the lighter side, some of us snore like chainsaws and send our spouses scrambling in the dark for ear plugs, extra pillows, or maybe a shotgun. My brother gave me some real wisdom about sleeping as we grow older. He said that between the time our children quit getting us up at night and the time when our bladder starts getting us up at night is only about two weeks. Not much time to enjoy a full night's sleep. He's right, isn't he?

Well, I'll leave it to the specialists to treat the physical problems of those in the grip of insomnia. But I would like to share a thought or two about the spiritual issues that may be related to our sleeplessness. A few questions for you to ponder:
  • When you lie awake at night, do you have a sense of God's presence with you, surrounding you?
  • Are you aware that God knows your thoughts?
  • Is there any agenda that God might want to address with you?
  • Are you worried about someone you love?
  • Have you been wronged or wounded and can't understand why??
  • Are you angry or bitter towards anyone?
  • Is there some dark corner of your life that you do not want exposed to God or anyone else?
  • Is there a difficult decision that you must make and you are fearful of making the wrong choice?
  • Does God seem to be absent or silent in your time of need?
If the answer to any of these questions is "yes", maybe the best use of your midnight madness is to genuinely, openly pray, remembering C. S. Lewis' wisdom that we must pray what is in us, not what ought to be in us. Have you ever prayed in the darkness, just pouring out and lifting up everything that troubles your mind and disturbs your sleep? These midnight prayers may not be the Sunday morning variety. Some nights you may need to just flush your heart of all the toxic waste of the day and let God do His renewing work in you. Let Him remind you of His promises and embrace you as His dearly loved child.

Years ago, when one of our children would climb in bed with us during a storm or after a bad dream, they would usually fall off to sleep before I could even cover them up next to me. My children never struggled to sleep when they were snuggled next to me. So it is for the children of God. Come near, climb in, and snuggle up. Tell Him what hurts and why you are frightened. His peace will settle over you like a warm blanket and you will find rest for your soul - body, mind, and spirit.


DrKitto said…
I think people tend to not sleep over worry and feeling as if others are criticizing them, often it is best to reframe the situation to people cannot do anything to us unless we allow them, it is human nature to take resposibility for those things that do not belong to us, allow others to be responsibility and to ask God for forgiveness, Prayer is your best answer to sleeplessness!

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