At the end of the alphabet – and your day – are Zzzzzs
In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:8)
In the last post, I talked about making each day count (still listed here on the blog as a page). That seemed to hit a chord with a lot of people – mostly positive.
Now I want to talk about making the most of every blissful nighttime minute, because without some sleep, those good intentions will be just as groggy as I am. If I could sleep through the whole night I’d feel quite accomplished. But I don’t anymore. And it’s not from too many Crunchberries, constant stress, or caffeine. Just that middle age thing……….
Through the last few years I’ve taken every step for a sleep-mood room. I don’t have television in my room; I usually shut off work or exercise from the brain and body for an hour before that time; I don’t have any lights on; the alarm clock faces away so I don’t see the time; my room is at back of a house on a quiet & safe street in a good neighborhood; no barking dogs; the room is kept cool and decluttered (well, most of the time); I say prayers; and I have a very soft colored comfy room décor.
I have done everything affordable to make it a sleep haven!
Also, I tried everything internally, including melatonin; wine; all kinds of natural weeds, herbs, and drops; Tylenol or Advil pm; chamomile tea and other herb teas; magnesium, etc. I would fall asleep great but I can rarely STAY asleep. (and most of this was written at the wee hours of the morning.)
What actually did work best for me?
…when you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. (Proverbs 3:24)
I especially have trouble with sleep and bad dreams in times of deep stress. I think that goes for anyone. King David had problems with that too, and he described the anguish he often felt with nothing left to the imagination. Even Jesus sought sleep at times during his very busy life, such as described to a well-intentioned follower in Matthew 8:20, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
Sleep is so detrimental to our daily walks, and making each day – even hour – count. The most significant to my life and faith are:
1/ having that time to shut down a crazy life (whether in up or down swings). This is the Lord’s way of a forced ‘slow down that rushed American lifestyle and rest a bit’. In that time of preparation for bed, I have my huddle time with the Lord and talk things out. It’s all cards on the table, the curtains are down, and the real shakedown of fears, sin and worries happens.
“Arise, cry out in the night, as the watches of the night begin; pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord” (Lamentations 2:19a).
It helps me vent what’s bothering me, and to think of someone else other than myself and pray for them, and express my joys in the blessings he did give that day, including simple things like a full belly and a soft warm bed. This also slowly helps me unwind from the day’s business and l can leave it behind me.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)
I slip under the covers to read some beautiful hymns or Psalms or what the new Heaven will look like as described in Revelation. I’ve seen some breathtaking pictures of what I HOPE it will look like too that make me smile. (I’m thankful for cameras!) Then, I can escape mentally into those beautiful places for a few hours (and why not? He created Paradise for us and Himself to enjoy together in the beginning.)
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true , whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely,whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8)
and 2/ I will not be so tempted to sin anymore. Yep, for a few hours, I will let the Lord, the angels and everyone else who knows me have a brief rest. Enough said! Lol Kidding aside, coming clean with God can give no greater peace:
Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you– unless, of course, you fail the test? (2Cor 13:5)
The best part of my own slumber in His care is the fact that the Lord DOESN’T sleep, and watches over me constantly!
He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep” (Psalm 121:3-4).
As you read through the Scriptures, you will find the word sleep (or form of word) mentioned 102 times for good reason – it’s a gift!
“I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me” (Psalm 3:5)
Yes, I do get some sleep with all that reassurance, but not in the way you may think. Biological clocks still have a say in regards to my personal snooze issues while I’m still in this body. Recently, I read that not everyone sleeps a whole 6-8 hours at a time, and it was customary in the days of old to sleep in two long naps, with a break in between. Huh. So my getting up for a little while at 2am and staying awake until 3:30am is not as uncommon as I thought it was?
And what to do in that time? Clean up dishes, watch some shooting stars, play some classical music, have more tea, a pedicure, pray, iron, answer emails, watch the stars on a clear night, read the Word, devotions, and oh – write! Anything quiet and not strenuous or exciteable. I’m usually ready for bed again after 2-3 of those tasks.
As you can see I have learned to make peace with my inner insomniac. Yes, it catches up with me after a few days and I do sleep through a night or at least until right before a gorgeous dawn, but I learned to live with two long naps, too.
In the most troubling of times when sleep was a coveted luxury, (much of it described here on this blog under the pages as: Catapult, Crunchberries, Little Blue Joy), this was the reassurance I read daily to let me get some shut-eye during one of my ‘naps’, and I hope it does the same for you:
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
I want to take this one to the public with a sort of poll below, to just leave a comment if you choose to:
WHAT HELPS YOU SLEEP?
(and please keep things G-PG rated for the kiddos who read here, thanks!)