My mother tells a story of when I was about 5 years old. She heard a noise in the middle of the night. She got out of bed to go investigate and noticed I wasn’t in my bedroom. She then walked into the kitchen and found me pushing a baby doll stroller back and forth with a dazed look on my face. Sounds like stuff out of a scary movie. She said I had no memory of it the next morning.
My friends from school have stories of me sitting up in bed and talking about random things during the night when we had sleepovers.
My husband most often gets to witness my bizarre behavior during my sleep. Mostly talking nonsense in the middle of the night and sitting up in bed sleeping. Once he got up and found me in the kitchen rummaging through cabinets. I'm not sure what that was about.
I’ve had seasons of insomnia for as long as I can remember. My mind won’t shut off. The daily stresses of life always seem to create the most sleep stopping thoughts right about bedtime.
My typical insomnia-fest routine looks something like this:
Lay in bed, eyes closed, hoping I’ll fall asleep.
Start hearing noises. Assume someone is trying to break in my house. Get up and check door locks. Double check to make sure alarm system is on. Peek in the kid's bedrooms to make sure they are still in there. Give the dog the ‘you let me know if you see anything fishy’ look.
Go back to bed to stare at ceiling.
In no certain order my mind then begins to relive conversations, contemplate if my son’s dentist appointment is tomorrow or the next day, think about upcoming social events, kick myself for something dumb I said to someone, what I’ll wear, did I remember to send in the enrollment form for my daughter’s next thing, etc., etc….
Fall back to sleep approximately 45 minutes before alarm goes off to start the day.
What ticks me off the most is when my husband is in the bed, has been in a deep sleep since 30 seconds after hitting the pillow and is clearly not thinking about a thing. Hateful Amanda wants to jerk the pillow out from under his head and make him talk to me about chemicals or monthly EBITDA goals. That talk normally spaces me out and has me sleeping with my eyes open within seconds. Nice Amanda doesn’t do that. She just stares at the ceiling and listens to him snore
When I mention my insomnia to friends and they respond with ‘try some melatonin’ or ‘don’t drink caffeine’ I nearly want to punch them because I’ve already taken enough melatonin to induce a coma and haven’t had caffeine in months yet still sleep evades me. No remedy helps, no cocktail that is promised to help me sleep works.
The biggest problem with me not getting sleep is that being tired for too long makes me emotionally fragile. The outcome resembles the same attitude of when I’m overly hungry and the restaurant is being slow with the food. You have been warned.
This week during my middle-of-the-night-reading-something-anything moments I happened upon this scripture. Pretty confident it wasn't just by coincidence that I stumbled upon this specific verse out of all the verses in the bible.
Matthew 11:28 "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
Therein lies my problem.
My lack of trust. Lack of faith. My attempts to depend on myself and do it on my own. Falling into the reoccurring problem of people pleasing. That’s what keeps me up at night, not insomnia.
Upon this lightbulb moment, I began to pray...silently, so not to wake Mr Sleeping Beauty. I say something along the lines of ‘Thank you for taking this. Thank you for caring about the details of what worries me. Thank you for promising to give me rest. I need it. I’m so sorry for making this harder on myself than it needs to be. I must be hard for you to watch. Please forgive me for forgetting how much more full my life would be if I would just trust you more.’ I then begin to have a conversation (prayer) silently in my head of what’s really eating at me and ask him to take it. He already knows anyway so I lay it all out no matter how petty. I tell him I don’t want to worry about some frustration I have with a friend. That I’m really tired of being worried about how many calories I consumed that day. How I'm worried about how someone else will act at a meeting. Everything. I go into detail of each and every thing and thank him for taking it.
The most intriguing of this to me is that I fell asleep during this prayer. If it were anyone else offering to be dumped on and I fell asleep while dumping they would be offended, but I think in this case that it must be a promise being fulfilled from God. Maybe when he sees me finally throwing up my hands and surrendering and trusting him he gives me the desire of my heart. Sleep.
I woke up the next morning, realized I fell asleep during the prayer and felt exactly what he promised. Refreshed and new.
Before anyone comments let me say that insomnia is a real medical condition that people really have. It’s miserable to want to sleep and not be able to. I, however, wasn’t suffering from insomnia. I was suffering from a self-induced, perfectionistic method of trying to be in control over what I most often had no control over.
I’m the child of a king. I can sleep well at night!
And now I do.
Until the next time.