When your thoughts keep you from sleeping..
I couldn’t sleep last night.
My mind kept repeating words, conversations…one sided conversations mostly. Hearing words told to me over and over again, or conversations of previous days. Conversations that make me question things. I wonder if things could have gone better. What could I say or do better? I review words and their meanings. Some conversations just repeat themselves. Then my mind goes through an unending song loop. Even worse, it is not even the whole song, just parts. Then in an attempt to change the song my mind goes back to areas of my past that create distrust, fear and regrets. I turn over, maybe my mind will find a more peaceful thought. It searches through and conversations start again. It seems like an endless loop. A loop that kept getting louder and louder. Somehow, the most painful ones creep up again as I try to shut it out so I can rest. Yet, when you are tired sometimes you find yourself second guessing decisions of the past, or at least hearing things again you thought were all settled. Then your mind relives those moments of your past that hurt the most. One pattern I’m familiar with is when concerns turns into worries, worries into stress, then into doubts and then sometimes depression takes hold. It is too familiar… a route I refuse take. A route I have fought against.
So I find myself praying and asking God for help. I let my prayers replace the loop of frustration within me. I try to find a way into a peaceful state of mind, to find the happy recollections of life. Remembering the good memories temporarily erases the bad. It is hard sometimes to get the mind to focus on the good and just stop the endless loop of thought and find rest. Rest is so necessary to put to sleep the negative thoughts and memories so they do not find their way into my heart.
In the middle of it all, I am reminded that life, much less my calling, is not easy. What I do is one of the hardest things to do in the world. Being a minister means having to always be willing to give, always willing to forgive, to love when there is no love in return, to extend grace when none is extended to you. It means always being willing to sacrifice yourself. What could be a huge blessing full of joy, love, hope and gratefulness to often becomes a painful, difficult task. The enemy knows this. He tries to force upon you doubts, fears, pain and self loathing. He forces memories to make you doubt your calling, to question whether you heard God correctly. He forces doubts, and “what if’s.” What if I was misunderstood? What if things do not get better? What if something goes wrong tomorrow? What if…? He forces it, because he knows their are lies or weaknesses in your past to exploit. And I know it well. So I find it hard to sleep peacefully. He is good at what he does, that Accuser. The question is, am I going to see the lies for what they are and be strong enough to dismiss them?
Trust in the Lord with all your heartProverbs 3:5-6
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
But I am not strong enough…
…not on my OWN…
…I need GOD!
I am reminded of Who God is and Who He has called me to be. I am reminded that He is MY GOD. This amazing God who created the world and me, only to keep transforming me even more to His liking. He is a God so powerful that He can bring the earth to a standstill, move mountains and stop the flow of water with a word. Yet, He is a God who cradles me, wipes my tears and holds me tight and whispers, “You are my child. Everything will be alright, TRUST ME.” He is the God who sent His son to die for me and make me whole again. Who saw the pain years, years ago and erased it. Who saw the brokenness and sins and made me whole and forgiven. Who lifted me up from the “shallow love” to an amazing overwhelming one. So amazing and so powerful that it consumes me. A God who comes in the form of the Holy Spirit to fully change me, transform me, guide me, and make me more like Him daily. Who teaches me to love like HE loves. To see the people the way He sees them, through His eyes and His heart. A God who never gives up on me. Who goes before me, beside me and carries me. This is the God I serve, the one I LOVE the one I said “Yes” to many, many years ago.
I am reminded that it is GOD who called me, for a reason that I still have yet to discover, but it doesn’t matter because He knows it. I am reminded that TRUSTING in HIM is my only power over the enemy and all his lies and accusations. God can reveal the TRUTH and all I have to do is listen to Him. I am in need to be reminded not to “lean on my own knowledge” but in God’s, reminded that the thoughts in my head are not truths just distractions. I need to be reminded that throughout my past GOD has sustained me and He has carried me through. I can find peace in HIM. So I pray, a long prayer, it gently rocks me and leads me to rest. I finally sleep.
In the morning I sit with my coffee. As I ascertain the thoughts of the night before, I realize that there is nothing there to bother with. For I have learned that God’s amazing grace shatters the barriers of distrust, worries and lies that the enemy has created. That His LOVE conquers any doubt. His TRUTH strengthens any weakened resolved. Knowing that if I Stand Firm, my GOD is FAITHFUL and He will do it. ” Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” – 1 Cor. 15:58. I will not be afraid, I will not fear for I will not only be steadfast but I will TRUST God. (Psalm 112:6-8a) I am grateful that I have such an AWESOME GOD who sees me. Who sees this unique person, that may be little and insignificant to many, but is so SIGNIFICANT to HIM.
In the meantime I will HOPE in God who will grant me peace. I will not give in to the “what if’s..” of life. I will find rest and peace in God and in GOD alone. And those nights that I find myself tossing and turning, reviewing events, conversations, decisions and all… I will not be weakened by them. I will pray and find rest in God. For my HOPE is in GOD and my PEACE is found in HIM. I will sleep knowing that HE is by my side and in my heart and that struggling uniquely MIND of mine.
And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:7