You can hear ice forming in your freezer. You wonder if you put the leftovers in the fridge, remind yourself to write a check for the field trip and to call to reschedule the appointment. Your sister’s birthday is coming up; do you have time to send her something thoughtful?Then the pendulum swings back to the big problem, the real problem. What you planned for and prayed for is crumbling around you. How can you fix it? Oh man, I forgot to call him back earlier. I am 4 million miles overdue for my oil change…
Rest evades you. Stress settles in like Quikrete hardening around your ankles, keeping you motionless. You want to do everything, but you do nothing; lying there, waiting for sleep to win its battle over the minutia of your mind. It loses, terribly.
I’m going to tell you one thing you can do to change the fate of your rest. It’s not warm milk, lavender, ocean waves, white noise, a routine or anything of the like (although all of those can be quite helpful.)
It’s not even prayer, although if you are not praying, and you are reading this article in hopes of better sleep, I might smack you a little. You outta know better. But don’t just pray for sleep. I’ve tried that. It rarely works.
But back to the answer to the riddle. The first thing I believe we are called to do when a problem is so big, or so mind capturing, is to pause our crazy train and crack open our Bible and search for the truth.
- Get to the root of the problem–Try to figure out what is really going on. What are you really worried about? Are you fearful, feeling insecure, angry or something else? Do your groggy best to take a snap shot of your emotional nonsense and give it a short caption.
- Use your Bible–Do some research. Find verses in your reference Bible (you can look up terms in the index or do a web search for “Bible verse fear” for example).
- Read and meditate–Read the words on the page. Let them soak in. Read them several more times and imagine yourself as the (human) author of these words and what it must have been like to receive the Divine inspiration to record them. Let me get you started:
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5
Are you taking your negative thoughts captive? Or are they taking you captive?
- Now pray–Pray for the Holy Spirit to fill you completely, while ridding your insides with your awful fear and worry. Hint: the less I focus on myself, the easier I find it to release the ninja grip on my problems and catch a few winks. Praying for yourself is not selfish in the least. But assuming that this is the biggest problem in the world and too big for God to solve will only hurt you. Try to have some perspective with the help of God.
Ask yourself this question: What is the problem I am facing? Am I actively praying for it? Do I have powerful words from the Bible to combat this problem? Do I have faith that God can actually help me through his?
If you answered no to any of the last three questions, how big of a problem is it really? And why are you losing sleep over it?