For as long as I can remember now, upon heading towards bed and the potential of sleep (or not sleeping), I had been overcome by a sense of restlessness. It was a restlessness that compelled me to brush my teeth a little longer, put away one more dish, move the laundry one more time, read one more story, look in on the kids one more time, or write down one more item on my list of things do to tomorrow.
It could be related to the insomnia I’ve battled off an on since college. It could be that my subconscious fear of not sleeping compels me to shy away from anything that inevitably might lead toward that end. It could be demonic. It could be just bad habit.
Progress Toward Better Sleep
I’ve worked hard through the years and a ton since last August to figure out what has been wrong with my sleep- the sleep study, the nose surgery (so I can breathe), the fix to the nose surgery last week awake in the office, the sleep hygiene work to develop a bedtime routine and cut out screens before bed, the removal of my phone from the bedroom, the praying through spiritual forces affecting my sleep, and the counseling that led me to discover that the most restful thing that works for me in my bedtime routine is to read my Bible and pray.
Of all that work, with all I’d learned and sought to apply to better my sleep, the best help was from God Himself.
You see, I would still feel that restlessness approaching the bed. That feeling of needing to move, to go, to do more. The unease toward resting there.
Yet the longer I stayed away from my bed, the more stress I gave myself. I know if I go to bed by 10, I can usually fall asleep, but if I linger away longer, I often have trouble or simply can’t fall asleep. My wandering spirit continued to make it difficult to get into bed by that time.
I AM here
Then one night, as I scooched into my bed in a seated position, pulling the covers over my legs, and staring ahead at the wall in front of me reluctant to lie down, I turned to God with my restlessness, and I heard Him whisper to my soul,
I AM here.
These words do not contradict, but rather echo the Scripture of the God who hems us in behind and before (Psalm 139:5, who promises to be with us always for a purpose Matthew 28:20, who takes away our fear by the promise of His presence Psalm 118:6.
As I pondered those three words, the fullness of them began to dethaw that restlessness frozen into the recesses of my soul, warming me from the inside out, like Anna in Frozen unfreezing bit by bit until her color returned and she could at least breathe and talk and move freely to return love extended to her. The great I AM- the holy heavenly Father who breathed words that formed the vast, ever expanding universe, who spins the earth # miles per hour on it’s axis perfectly tilted at # so that life can exist at all, who holds all things together- even the tiniest atom that if unleashed could explode #- this God- is here.
The One who breathes grace and made grace possible, the One who loves us and is love itself, the One who is holy and makes us holy, the One who is absolutely just and bore His justice for us, the One who doesn’t give us what we do deserve (hell- separation from God and everything good) but does give us what we don’t deserve (Himself- a relationship with Him now and forever), the One who founded life and is life itself- this One is here. With me. Now.
If He is here- what more do I need? Who more could I ask for? What could I possibly lack? A calm spread through me, calming the tension in my throat and stomach, smoothing the restlessness in my arms and legs, and gently covering and calming me at the same time like a weighted blanket.
We can study and discover with science all the connections between emotions and thoughts and the wiring of our brains. That wiring can be changed by us- by reprogramming how we think. Science speaks of it now, but God spoke of it long ago:
2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
Yet, with all of that, God revealed how He can just reach in and tweak that wiring Himself.
A couple of nights ago, I walked into my bedroom, saw the little warm incandescent bulb glowing beside my bed and the warm light glimmering from the bathroom, and I was overcome by a different feeling than ever before.
It felt like home.
It felt like childhood.
Like a childhood I never had.
God continues to welcome me to rest with this feeling. It is a gift.
Invitation to Rest
God has spoken to me with the realization of His presence, and the altering of my emotions themselves. How has He spoken to you? How has He touched your restlessness?
Over 15 years ago, He worked on the restlessness of my days through the gift of injury and inability. In these last days, He worked on the restlessness of my nights.
Around me, I hear restlessness in the feverish activity of some that I love who seem to never be able to stop going and doing. Colleagues breathe it out in their matter-of-fact statements of how sleep has never been easy for them. Friends faces are all too telling, with the weary creeping out in the very way they hold their eyes.
May God continue to work on my restlessness with the cure of Himself. Himself with me. Himself in control of my emotions. And may He work on yours in His way in His time with His presence.
More Like This
This blog is designed with you in mind. My prayer is that you will scooch just a little closer to the Lord’s beckoning arm. That you will nestle in close to Him and learn from Him all He wants to speak to your soul. That He will breathe on you His rest.
Here on Sip Life Slowly and Enjoy It, you will find resources to help you embrace God with all you are, to engage in the relationships you care about with a fresh face erupting from a fresh heart- full and whole, celebrating the intricate good in your life.
Sometimes I offer recipes that might add flavor and health, other times I tell God stories of how God is working, and many times I share things like this. If you were encouraged, please like this blog and follow me below. You can also find siplifeslowly on whatever social media you like best Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr. If you liked this, you might like: