The Your stories blogs are a place where women can bravely and authentically tell their story as it really is. We invite women to collide with Jesus and share how He is meeting them, transforming them and redeeming them. We hope this “your story” meets you in yours…
I woke up the other day just as tired as I was when I went to bed. Out of gas. I am going through a season right now. A season of insomnia. This has happened to me numerous times for as long as I can remember. Yet, each time I am surprised, irritated, exhausted. Each time I have to force myself to take my own sleep hygiene advice: set a regular bedtime and awakening time, turn the clock around, don’t nap, don’t lay in bed longer than 15 minutes if you can’t sleep, get up and do something else to help you relax. Don’t exercise right before bed. No screen time in the hour before bed. I know the drill. Yet sleep eludes me.
Why do I struggle with this? I ask myself this question. I ask God this question. I may go months with the most minimal amount of sleep. But I am someone who really needs 8 hours. So it affects me, a lot. It is hard to think, I get headaches, I get cranky. My family can attest to this. Every day I have so much to do! How on earth can I possibly get it done if I am tired? I grouch at God (and everyone around me!) a lot about this, by the way.
But maybe I am asking the wrong question. Maybe the question is really not “why can’t I sleep?” but “What might You have for me instead of sleep right now, God?” I’m not saying I’d choose to stay awake late into the night on purpose. I’m just saying that there is nothing productive about lying there and being upset. There is nothing productive about worrying about what I won’t be able to do, won’t be able to focus on, won’t be successful at. Panicking about my lack of sleep has done absolutely zero to change this issue.
So, I try everything I can think of to sleep. Counting sheep, drinking sleepytime tea, exercising enough, getting enough fresh air. I cry about it, fret about it, gripe about it. But many times, I forget to pray. Truth be told, if I get myself out of bed and spend some time talking and listening to God, it helps. If I read the Psalms when I am feeling at my most wired and irritated, it helps. If I write in my prayer journal, it helps. So, why are these the last resorts?
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things…and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9)
I think there is a bigger issue. I want to be in control. When things don’t go my way, I get frustrated and upset. I want to be able to sleep, so I “should” be able to, right? I do everything I can… That’s the key. I am doing everything I can in my own power, but I am not asking help of the One who has the power to fix my issue and calm my angst. I don’t trust that God will get me through it. I’ve survived a hundred of these bouts of insomnia, or more. Yes, I am tired when they occur, but they are not life threatening. I come out of them on the other side.
I have empathy for those who can’t sleep, probably precisely because I am their worry-wart bosom buddy, their companion in the wee hours of the night. Yet when I do turn to God and surrender this issue to him, things get better. I’m not saying that all of a sudden I can sleep the next night. But I am able to view it differently. I am able to thank God for the extra time with Him. I’m able to do a lot of creative thinking and journaling and planning if I can let God have the sleeplessness, and use the time He gives me for good. I can be calm instead of panicked. At peace instead of fighting and struggling and pushing myself to “JUST SLEEP!”
So I may be out of gas, but I’m not out of hope. Not by a long shot. Little sleep means more time to hear from God. So I’m going to try to let Him have the reigns.
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…” (James 4:8)