Thursday, December 31, 2015
when you can't sleep
One of the best things I've discovered in my short sojourn here is what to do when you can't sleep.
We've all been there. You toss and turn (what are we tossing, anyway?) and try to get your mind to settle down, try to get comfortable so you can get some much needed sleep. But it eludes you. And you start doing the math... "If I go to sleep NOW, I'll get 4 1/2 hours.... if I got to sleep right NOW, I'll get 3 hours and 45 minutes..." and so on.
But it finally occurred to me that 1 Thessalonians 5:16 has a great application here. And we actually see this application in the Psalm tonight. We should pray.
There are many reasons why this is a great idea. One is that God often wakes us up to pray. Things happen in our friends' lives, or in strangers' lives, all over the world, while we're sleeping. If you wake up for "no reason" and you ask what to pray for, sometimes He'll bring someone to mind. It's happened both TO me and FOR me, that God will bring people to mind (or bring ME to mind with my friends). So maybe He wants you to pray.
Another reason is that God is not the only spirit out there. The enemy might be keeping you awake for his own reasons. He might be torturing you with worry about the future, or regrets from the past. Well, what is the best thing to do when the enemy is bothering you? Pray, of course. And if he IS using insomnia to keep you awake, you're turning his own weapon against him. And often this will cause him to flee, allowing you to sleep.
But there are still more reasons. If you are trying to get your mind to settle down, but it keeps racing from subject to subject, then praying helps you to still your mind. It helps you to relax. I often find that if I start praying, my body relaxes and my mind calms down, and I sleep.
Another reason is that God will often bring something to mind that I need to do and have forgotten. You don't know HOW many times I've started praying while trying to sleep, and suddenly jump up and go "OMG! I forgot to...." and go do it, saving so much disaster...
But the best reasons are none of those. The best reason is that prayer brings us closer to God. It makes our lives better. We see things from an eternal perspective. We remember the joy of the lives that He has given us. We are grateful.
Thank You, God, for teaching us how we can experience the joy of You in the throes of insomnia.