When sleep eludes and anxiety pursues…
Ladies, we have all read the scripture from Matthew 11:28 where Jesus says, “Come to me, all who are weary and heavily burdened and I will give you rest.” He goes on to say in verse 29, “take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Doesn’t that sound wonderful? I have read that over and over again and will many times find myself restless in the day and sleepless at night. What was the result? Well, anxiety was my companion and I became very acquainted with the color of my bedroom ceiling and how the moon casts shadows in the night.
As you read my blogs you will find a hidden message in them from me to you, “please learn from the struggles I am having or have had.” It is my joy to encourage you by showing you how God has encouraged me. Sleep is eluding me and anxiety is trying to pursue me. This is the current season I am in right now so I pray that my story will encourage you.
In order for me to really take an honest look at my restlessness I needed to do an inventory of what I was doing that was destructive to my peace and to determine what I needed to do differently. It’s worth taking the time to do because you may find, like I did, one or two areas that you can start changing today!
My Personal Discovery: Electronics Overload
I was checking email, social media and messages multiple times a day. I was going to sleep checking my phone, waking up checking my phone. I was putting too much time into entertaining word games, snapchat, Youtube, and falling asleep with the TV on.
The Result: I was stressed-out, my heart was racing, and I was not in tune with how I feel emotionally or what I needed emotionally. I was not present for my loved ones, and a slave to the dings and pings of all my notifications. Like Pavlov’s dog, I would salivate and need to respond to the sound of the bell!
Where my mind focused my heart followed. I was paying more attention to the worries in my day like the “what-ifs” or the “If only I had.” If I allow my feelings to tell me the truth them I am in big trouble. Feelings are a barometer for where we are at emotionally, but they do not tell us the truth. If I allowed fear to control my every move I’d never move forward in life and I’d just stay stuck.
Remember Beeker from The Muppet Show? He was the assistant to the Professor Honeydew. Well, Beeker is who I become in my mind. Scooby-doo and his friend Shaggy are another example who were terrified at the first sign of danger. What gets me in trouble is when I frantically try to control the outcomes in my life and forget that I have a wonderful Father in Heaven who is sovereign over all of my comings and goings.
I forget to remind myself what Psalm 63:6-8 says, “I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night. Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely.”
What I Am Doing Different Now: Trimming the Electronics Fat
I am making a conscience choice to check email in the morning and at the end of my work day. The same goes for social media. I chose to “bomb” the apps that I am mindlessly on to create space for peaceful activities such as reading God’s word, journaling, praying or just allowing myself to simply be. The TV is off and if I choose a show I’ll watch it in the family room then come up to bed. This is a one day at a time choice for me. Remember, it takes 30 days to break a habit so be gentle with yourself.
I’m re-directing my mind to focus on God’s promises. When Beeker and Scooby-Doo want to get in the driver’s seat of my mind I immediately call out to God. I acknowledge the anxiety or whatever negative feeling I am experiencing. I do not deny my feelings! I honestly have cried out to God numerous times in my day depending on the level of worry or anxiety, and each time He shows up like the faithful Father that He is. Cry out to Him because He will never deny you just like a Mother or Father would never deny comforting their child. The Holy Spirit is also called “The Comforter” and He is waiting to come and calm your anxious heart.
Practical Tips for A Restful Sleep
- Scripture Meditation for Falling Asleep
- Deuteronomy 31:8 “The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
- Psalm 16:7-9 “I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me, I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.”
- Proverbs 19:23 “The fear of the Lord leads to life, so that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.”
- Make Your Bedroom a Sanctuary
- Have soft lighting by candlelight or low lighting.
- Use a diffuser with essential oils for relaxation.
- Make it an electronic-free zone when you are winding down to sleep.
- Create a bedtime routine for de-compressing.
- Play relaxing worship music that soothes the soul.
- Meditate on scripture and remember that God is in control.