Going to the Shepherd instead of Counting Sheep

Have you been there….counting down the hours on the clock. Ok, if I can fall asleep now then I’ll at least get five hours of sleep. And a bit later…. Ok, if I can just fall sleep now after these boring few pages then I’ll get at least four hours, kinda like a long-extended nap. Tick, tick, tock. We check the time on our phone screen, the alarm clock, and count in misery the few crummy hours we are chasing through the night.

Not being able to sleep can feel like the worst. We need sleep to function as normal humans and yet so many of us are going without enough.

I lay down and slept,
yet I woke up in safety,
for the Lord was watching over me.

Psalm 3

In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe. Psalm 4 

Sounds like a delightful dream doesn’t it?!  I remember last September studying the Psalms with ladies from church and having an aha bible moment that I hadn’t noticed before. It seems as though David struggled with sleep or maybe even insomnia. He writes over and again about the promises of God speaking them aloud as mantras and meditations over himself at night. Our table leader shared that after chemo treatment she struggled with insomnia and found rest in David’s insomnia struggle and his speaking truth out into the night.

How about you, ever struggled with good sleep? Research shows that around 1 in 4 U.S. adults struggle with getting enough rest. The list of reasons why we struggle with sleep is as long as you can imagine and fill-in-the-blank with your own situation. I struggled with consistent sleep during months of back pain and from that grew deep empathy with those who struggle with insomnia, sleep apnea or even consistent sleep deprivation. Most of us know the benefits of sleep once we go a few nights without good deep rest and feel the physical, mental and emotional drain on our bodies.

We need that 8 hours of recharging our batteries so we don’t run our machines into the ground. I don’t have a magic wand I can wave to send you better sleep to night, but MAN OH MAN if I could, would I ever? I have seen several ladies in my life struggle with sleep and the tax it pours out on them. I don’t have said magic wand. Nor do I have 4 simple steps to bring you rest guaranteed.

But I do want to encourage you to seek words of promise from God’s word to us.

But they delight in the law of the LORD,

meditating on it day and night. Psalm 1

Get into the Psalms and let God’s promise of goodness bring you hope. Read those prayers of desperation out to the Lord as you beg of Him to bring that rest that your body longs for. I believe God in His goodness gives us David’s story of restlessness and his desperate cries to show the intimacy that He longs to have with us. He wants to join us even at night amid the counting sheep doing no good at all. He wants us to look to Him, to rest our weary souls in him, and to praise Him for the rest we find only by grace alone. (Wonder if the whole counting sheep thing was something David a shepherd made up as a tactic to try and get to sleep those restless nights out in the fields watching his flocks wander about?)

“I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, John 10

Praying tonight you rest. You find deep sleep not only for your body, but also for your soul. What helps you at night? Do you stick with a night routine to get your sleep pattern into a rhythm? I rock my earplugs and lavender eye mask every night whether the hubby has a snide remark or not. What are your nighttime tips? Please leave a comment to encourage others with what helps you or any verses that you claim as promises when feeling restless in the wee morning hours?