Sleep is something I don’t take for granted. Even with my trusted eye mask and ear plugs, I have a lot of trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. Night-time is when my fears and anxieties plague me the most. Often I lie awake in bed for hours, staring at the ceiling, trying desperately to turn off my racing brain.
Recently a German friend told me about a period of her life when she was extremely anxious and depressed. For weeks she didn’t sleep any more than a few minutes at a time. “When you sleep, it’s the one time you’re completely out of control,” my friend explained. “I couldn’t relax because I didn’t want to be out of control of my life.”
What is the real cause of my sleeplessness? Are my anxious thoughts the result of trying to run my own life? It’s easy to say “give it over to God,” but how do I actually do that?
In Psalm 4:8 David says, “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.” David was running for his life from enemies that wanted to kill him! How could he lie down and sleep in peace? With danger all around him, David chose to put his trust in the Lord. His peace came from releasing control of his life to God.
I’m going to try a new strategy at night now. Along with my ear plugs and eye mask, I’ll employ David’s technique for sleeping soundly. If an anxious thought is keeping my awake, I’ll identify it and surrender it to the Lord, declaring that I trust Him with my life, and that I give Him control of my future. Only then can I say with David, “in peace I will lie down and sleep.”