Stress, Sleep, and Surrender: September 2019


Maybe you are reading this because you haven’t mastered the tick to falling asleep.  Maybe you are like me and sleep has started to evade you.  Surrendering to sleep seems like a weird thing that we do every day.  Sleep is vulnerable, we lie there, prone and oblivious to all that is going on in the world, and yet without it we will waste away.  Worrying about what will happen to me while I sleep is not why I’ve had trouble slipping off into sleep.  What I get anxious about is plain old sleep and work.  My brain just won’t turn off sometimes because I am stuck in a cycle of anxiety and stress.  As I have struggled to sleep God kept reminding me He wanted my heart no matter the situation. I couldn’t control my life.  He was taking back the things that were his anyway.  God wanted me to surrender and open up about my struggles.

Finally, a little over a year ago, I told my older sister that I was struggling with sleep.  She said, “me too.”  That moment of connection was what I needed.  It was as if I had been heard.  I started to sleep soundly again.  Yet here we are deep into 2019 and I am taking a small amount of sleeping pills during the work week and I still occasionally wake up sweaty.

I am not sure why my sleep patterns haven’t fixed themselves and I am doing my best not to stress over the answer.  The best thing to do while going through a difficult or painful situation is not to ask why or try to interpret what is going on.  Struggling to figure out the meaning of my sleepless nights only led to more sleepless nights.  Maybe part of why sleep has not come easy could be my silence; my refusal to surrender to God’s will and share what He has been doing in my life.

But this September I felt challenged to open up about my sleep problems.  Every September I celebrate how God showed up when I was in the hospital due to Necrotizing Pneumonia.  I realized if I can share about how God used that pain, I needed to open up about what God was doing in my life now.  I was being selfish by holding back on talking about my sleep pain.  I would rather have God use my pain than waste it.  So I am opening up.  Millions of Americans suffer from sleep deprivation and maybe I can help.

I have learned that instead of asking God why I am awake in the middle of the night or unable to fall asleep, I want to ask God what are you doing in me?  He wants my heart no matter the situation.  So each night I am practicing letting go of my own desires.  God has taken care of my finances, my wife, my health, and everything else I have surrendered to him.  If I do not sleep well, he gives me what I need to make it through the next day.

I do not want to keep silent about my sleep or lack thereof because God has been too good to me and I want to praise him for that.  At night when I can’t sleep, I have decided to sit with Him and pray.  Some nights I leave my bed and go to the couch where I sit with my hands palm up on my knees.  I breathe deeply and listen for God.  I think of the beauty I have seen in His world and know that He is in control.  I surrender to him and trust that if He can make a world where Aspens exist, He can love me even in my stress. He might never heal me of this sleep problem, but all the while He is making me into the man he created me to be.  And isn’t that the ultimate adventure?


7 thoughts on “Stress, Sleep, and Surrender: September 2019

  • as I said last week, I was looking forward to this ~ like a sequel in an adventure story!,… part of the reason is that I really don’t have regular sleep patterns myself, and probably never really did,… even as a young high school student, I really hated alarm clocks ~ and oddly enough, my personal electric alarm clocks would end up grinding to a halt and seizing, long before any one else’s did, in the family,… hmmm,… also, I would develop the habit of waking up before the clock would go off, to avoid hearing it, and to this day (many decades later), I still refuse to use one ~ preferring “mind over matter” efforts, that usually do work,… (planning ahead of time and adjusting automatic schedules so that I have extra “down time” in the day(s) preceding the need to arise early, etc etc etc),…

    your approach sounds very wholesome to me,… I guess I’ve developed a basic habit of “trusting God” to, somehow or other, allow me to achieve sufficient rest, whether it’s in a long 8 hour stretch (rare), or just plopping me into a really deep sleep for a shorter period of time,… “whatever works” is ok with me, but God really is the ongoing source of my ability to rest,… and I did eventually get serious about minimizing the coffee intake, (not easy, but helpful),…

    so nice to hear from you!,… & greetings to your family!,… (-:

    • I agree alarm clocks deserving being switched off, while my late mother used to like ticking clocks, I found them to be the source of keeping me awake!
      I would listen to the rhythm and tunes pop into my mind

      • I’ve “learned” (taught myself) to lie very very still if awake late at night, as if actually asleep with no active thinking,… it can be very restful and even soothing, and feels as if it becomes helpful in preparation for the next day,…

  • Beutiful photos of coulerful trees. As for surrendering, for me it wasn’t until I had reached a point in my sinful past, where my sin had taken over control so strong it was choking me
    Then I heard “I surrender all” and surrendered everything to God, even my free will as I was unable to control it

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