Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. Psalm 121:4
The other day I heard a preacher say “God works the night shift!” and I thought how true that is!
I have not had a full night’s sleep in many months. It has been frustrating to say the least. I go to sleep right away, but every night, somewhere between 1am and 3 am, I wake up. I am awake for at least one hour, though it is usually for two to three hours; finally, sleep comes again about 5am, just about when it’s time to get up!
The thoughts that whirl though my mind in the wee hours run the gamut from my kids to finances to the upcoming election to the eternal. Sometimes there are some very panicky thoughts: Where is the money we need going to come from? What will happen to this country if the liberals win? Will my husband’s mother ever get better? Are my kids going to be ok? When will I be able to close the big deal? How can we help all the people who come to us in need?
I have found the only way to stop these anxiety-ridden thoughts is to speak out loud and command them to stop. Seriously. I say aloud, “Devil, it may be true that I don’t have the answers right now, but God does. Stop bothering me about it now, go talk to Him!” Then I pray. I mostly pray in the Spirit because I don’t always know how to pray, or for whom. I also make the choice to think on all the troubles and situations God has brought me through before, and that helps me to know He is there helping me through the current batch!
Other times, there are some yucky thoughts spinning in my head: Why do you procrastinate so much? When are you ever going to lose some weight, fatso? How can God love you when you screw up all the time? You always blow it, when are you going to do it right? Who do you think you are that anyone would want to read what you write? You’re already in your 50’s, what have you accomplished in this life?
I’ve learned that I have to take control over them immediately or else I will slip quickly into a pit of despair. Again, to stop them I speak out loud, “Devil, in the name of Jesus, I command you to leave me alone. My Dad loves me and thinks I’m swell, even if I am not perfect. If you have a problem with me, go talk to Him about it!” I start thinking on the scriptures that speak of giving our cares to the Lord and about how faithful He is to us. Praying in the Spirit usually takes me back to sleep.
Some nights I know God has tapped me on the shoulder just to talk to me! Those are the nights I ask Him, “OK Lord, who do you want me to pray for now?” Usually, one specific person will come to mind and I will pray over that person; sometimes many people will be brought to my memory and I pray for them all. Again, because I don’t always know what to pray, I often pray in the Spirit.
I keep a notebook, pen and flashlight on my nightstand so I can write down things that come to me during these quiet hours. Many times God will give me the title for an article, or the solution to a problem I am having, or someone He wants me to talk to, or even a new recipe I can create! I have found that writing these things down lets me put them out of my mind for the time being, and brings clarity in the morning. It is easy to forget if I don’t memorialize them.
The best part of not sleeping? It reminds me that God does not sleep! He is always on call, always at the ready, to commune with us. Lately, I must say, I have been asking Him, “But, do we have to do it at 3 am?” Yet, I know this season will pass. But while it is here, I am grateful that He cares.
Keep the faith!