Monday, December 22, 2014

Sleeping in Faith

Hello, my dearies. This is a season where people are focused even more than usual on "me, me, me" or even "me and my family" – a time when we'll soon be having the after Christmas letdown because it wasn't as perfect as we imagined it would be or we didn't get the gift we wanted. So, in this time of thinking all about ourselves and getting mopey, I wanted to share some praise. After all, we're called to give glory to God in everything and every time.
So here it is:
Last year, I struggled with insomnia – it could take me hours to fall asleep. Sometimes I would wake in the middle of the night and it again might take me two hours to get back to sleep. When I was having trouble sleeping, I felt so anxious and alone, because I was the only one in the house who was awake. I would get really hot and my head would start to ache terribly, and sometimes I would even feel nauseous.
And each night when it was time to get ready to go to bed, I didn't want to because I was so worried it would take me a long time to fall asleep again. It was a vicious cycle. The more I worried about it, the more likely it was to happen. The longer I stayed awake, the more likely I was to get nauseous (because of getting hungry and having a head ache), and therefore it would take me longer to get to sleep.
I share a room with my sister. When I was in the midst of dealing with this (in the summer), we were remodeling our room, so for a while our mattresses were just on the floor. I would want to push them closer together and sometimes would call out to her to see if she was awake, so I wouldn't feel so alone. But when I called out and she didn't answer, that was always worse than not saying anything. When she would want to go sleep in the guest bedroom to have some alone time, I wouldn't want her to leave.
I'm not saying all of this so you'll feel sorry for me, or anything like that. I'm saying this so you'll understand what a struggle it was for me. To this day, I can't drink Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime tea because it reminds me of several times of getting up in the middle of the night and drinking tea in hopes it would make me fall asleep quicker.
Little did I know, I was not alone. One night, after we'd gotten our beds back, my sister went to sleep in the guest bedroom. My mother came in and I told her what I was feeling – anxious and alone, again. I don't remember exactly what she said, but it was something to the effect that I was not alone. When I felt alone I could just talk to God. Of course I'd heard this thousands of times and probably told myself the same thing, but for some reason it clicked that night. She also reminded me that counting your blessings is a great way to fall asleep.
So I did. As I fell asleep, seemingly alone in the room, I whispered all the things I was thankful for to Jesus. And since that night, I've never struggled with insomnia or anxiety like that again. I've slept alone plenty of times – and I don't care. Once in a while, I'll have trouble falling asleep again, but I don't experience the soul-capturing anxious feelings that kept me in bondage before.

Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom and broke away their chains. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron.
(Psalm 107:13-16)

I know that in God's time I'll fall asleep, and in meantime, I can have long conversations with him that maybe I didn't get time for that day. What was a curse can be a blessing. Paul talks about "walking by faith" in II Corinthians; well, I can now "sleep by faith" because of Jesus.

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests! I hope that this time instead of being all about you can be one of drawing near to Jesus and learning of his peace in anxiety and his love amidst trouble. What can you praise God for today?

Merry Christmas!
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