In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, Lord,
make me dwell in safety. (NIV)
So many people struggle to get to sleep at night. They may be tired, ready for bed, but the restless mind prevents the weary body going off to sleep. All the regrets of the day gone by and the fears of the day to come crowd in.
Some take medication; others meditate; others develop routines to slow down the mind and calm the heart. Some might even count sheep. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t. The times when routines or pills don’t work remind us that going off to sleep is an exercise in trust.
When I sleep, the world gets by without me for a time…just as it did before I was born and just as it will do when I die. When I sleep, I surrender control. I realise that all my worrying, all my regrets, all my fears can’t actually change a thing. I sleep trusting that the God who made the world and who made me does not slumber or sleep.
There are no easy snap solutions to sleeplessness. But recognising our need to leave things to God for a few hours at least may help in some way. Lying awake won’t resolve anything and can even make things worse as it affects our physical and mental health.
Worrying about not sleeping can prevent us falling asleep too. When I sleep, I remind myself how ultimately helpless I am. I have to trust in the help of God. Counting sheep is no substitute for trusting in the good shepherd.