Saturday, April 4, 2009

Purposeful Sleeplessness

Sleep seems to all but ignore me entirely these days. The head gets foggy, the eyelids droopy, the cobwebs start forming and by 8:00 I am quite the party pooper in this household. Little ones are put down for the night and I am ready to be put down myself. Yet sleep eludes me. How purposeless it is to lay in bed for hours on end, fully awake.

Or is it?

Maybe not always.

I talk to God. I listen for the grace gift of a reply. I chuckle over aspects of the day. I regret the incidences I could have handled better. I cry. I repent. I ask forgiveness. I let go. I go on to the next thing. I marvel at my blessings. I admit my unworthiness. I stare at my selfish pride. I cry again. I repent again. I ask forgiveness again. I let go again. I go on to the next thing. All the while being amazed, awed even, that the God of the entire universe would care to hear the sound of my voice falling on His ear.

So I lay awake and talk to God.

Then I get bothered. I get bugged. I am annoyed at the sound of my husband’s deep breathing. I toss to my right side. I groan and roll to my left. I untangle legs from sheets. I lay on my back. I ask God why I am still awake. I ask if there is anything else He would like to talk to me about. I ask if there is more He needs to reveal. I am sometimes annoyed when I ask. I lay there quietly. I am even more bothered. I am more bugged. I hear nothing from God. I feel it is pointless to be awake. I think ahead to the long day awaiting me. I think about the faces of children that will be looking at me for a smile in the morning. I mumble to myself about how hard it can be to smile when I am so tired. I get frustrated. I even get angry.

So I lay awake and complain.

Being faced with my selfishness is never a delight, but oh how revealing it can be.

I am amazed at how quickly I can go from being grateful to God to being put out. From smiling at Him for smiling on me to grumbling at Him for not thinking of me. I mean, He gave me this family and all. He knows how much effort each day takes. All I’m asking for is a little sleep with which to do it all...right?

It’s not God’s job to help me go to sleep. Yet I am bothered if He doesn’t.

Then I am reminded of all the other things that I expect from God and am bothered about, frustrated with, angry over when I feel like He isn’t coming through for me like He should. And there I fall into the trap that loves to entangle me—feeling sorry for myself. No one likes to admit that they do. I don’t like to, but I do—too often I feel sorry for myself!

Everything that I am is because of God. Everything that I have comes from God. Every blessing in my life originated from the masterful hand of God. Every struggle (not of my own making) has been allowed by those same hands for my good and His glory.

Self rears its ugly head again. Allowing “self” audience with my mind and my emotions only feeds this ugliness.

Have you ever thought of all the different ways that the sin of self manifests itself in our lives? Selfishness, self-protection, self-centeredness, self-abasement, self-focus, self-hatred, self-image, self-justification, self-pity, self-indulgence, self-fulfillment, self-absorbed...and the list goes on and on.

Focus on self always rises above the needs of anyone else around us. Focus on self keeps us from being able to focus on God—in fact, it distances us from Him. Focus on self really doesn’t get us anywhere. It only makes us better at focusing on self. I don’t know about you, but I get tired of my own self!

As the sleepless nights continue, I am trying my best to embrace this time as purposeful and not a waste. I have had a lot more practice in laying down “self” when I lay me down to sleep—that’s for sure!

I may be more tired throughout my day, but I smile a little easier knowing that God and I have conquered a little bit more of my self in the process.

Sweet dreams...