A good night’s Sleep-A gift from God
It was 11pm. I closed my eyes. They opened. I closed my eyes again. They opened again. I glanced at the clock. It was 11:05pm. I had to be up by 6:30am and really needed a good night’s rest. I tried getting on my side and snuggled my head deep into my pillow. It wasn’t comfortable. I opened my eyes again and took a deep breath. That works sometimes, I thought. No luck. A million thoughts were attacking my mind as I impatiently switched to my right side and took several slow, deep gulps of air. A couple of minutes passed before I opened my eyes again. The numbers on the clock read 11:09pm. I thought about counting sheep, but instead, I counted my problems of that day and the frantic schedule for tomorrow. I jumped out of bed and dashed to the refrigerator. It was a perfect time for a midnight snack to help me doze off quickly.
All of us have gone through nights when sleep simply evades us. Sometimes, the time when we need sleep the most is the time when we get the least of it. I’ve been known to be so stressed out about getting some sleep that the stress itself kept it from happening. The Old Testament in the Bible has some fantastic things to say about getting a good night’s sleep. Daniel 2:1 says, “In the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his mind was troubled and he could not sleep.” A troubled mind may be the number one reason for the loss of sleep. Worry and anxiety have a way of keeping our minds active through the deep of the night.
I’ve learned that I need to somehow shut my mind down before I go to sleep. Yet, there is a problem with that. I can’t do it very well. My mind seems to have a mind of its own. The worries of life are like a bulldog attacking me as I close my eyes and pray for rest. Anxiety is the enemy of sleep, and faith! I’ve learned over the years that reading the Bible has proven to be the best option to settle my mind and heart. Since we are generally powerless to shut down our minds, reading scripture is the medicine that God uses to shut them down for me.
Psalm 127:2 gives us some insight. It says, “In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves.” This verse teaches that we can work and toil and worry about our lives and when it’s all said and done, it was all for vanity. That perspective on life often leads to the thing we crave most; sweet dreams and a deep, long sleep. God does grant sleep to those He loves. How does He do it? He changes our hearts and our perspectives on life. He takes away our worry and stress and replaces that spiritual poison with a peace that transcends human understanding. God shuts us down by calming our fear and helping us to learn to live in the moment instead of the past or the future. Sleep is a gift from God that should not be taken for granted.
Proverbs 3:24 says, “When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.” Fear is one of the greatest motivators of mankind. Fear can cause us to do some very foolish things that can cause of to stumble on the path that God has laid out for us. Since fear is the opposite of faith, and faith in God is what produces peace in our hearts, fear suddenly becomes the enemy of rest. Fear yells from the depths of our beings that our lives are out of control. Fear keeps your pulse racing in the red and your mind geared into overdrive. Fear drives us to question God and our place in life. Fear drives a wedge between us and our God whom has the power to place you into a deep, rewarding sleep. Sleep oftentimes flees from us when we lose that intimate connection with God.
Ecclesiastes 5:12 says, “The sleep of a laborer is sweet, whether they eat little or much, but as for the rich, their abundance permits them no sleep.” This verse seems to indicate that the more money you have, the harder it is to get a good night’s sleep. I searched the internet for sleep studies relating to this verse and found nothing. I was hoping to find some studies that explored sleep patterns for adults in differing countries but came up with zilch. I did find this amazing number. Americans spend over 6.7 billion dollars a year on sleep products according to the New York Times. Here is the link. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/12/garden/12mattresses.html
Our wealth as a country certainly has some negative byproducts. One of those is the inability to let go of it all at the end of the day and let nature take its course. The more things we have and the more responsibilities in our lives leads to more worries and stress to keep them. Being rich can certainly be a good thing but allowing materialism to take control of your life means a lot of restless nights fighting to keep it all together. Money can’t buy you happiness, it can’t buy you a good spouse, it can’t purchase you great kids, and it can’t buy you rest for your weary heart.
Are you wrestling with sleep issues? Do you want to try something different? Try God’s prescription for a great night of sleep. Give your worries to Him. The book of Matthew in chapter six tells us to not worry about tomorrow for it will take care of itself. In other words, worry does nothing for tomorrow because we have very little control over future events in our lives. Take your fears and place them in His hands. Don’t fret about tomorrow because He is in charge. Take your focus off of this world as you close your eyes and place it on the Lord. Talk to Him! Pray to Him. You may be surprised what happens next. Sweet dreams everybody!