What thoughts run through your mind when you can’t sleep at night? If you’re like me, your imagination probably falls into one or more of these categories:
- The next day’s to-do list. Where should I begin? How will I get everything done?
- Worries about kids and other family members.
- How to address an irritation in a relationship.
- How to rise above difficult circumstances.
- How to encourage a loved one who’s facing a hard time.
- How to respond to a particular conversation or incident in the past.
- How to accomplish a particular goal or tackle a certain project.
The downside of entertaining the above is that my brain races and prevents me from enjoying a good sleep. The only solution is to deliberately turn my thoughts to prayer. Rather than worrying about the negative what-ifs, I commit them to the Lord. I discipline myself to give thanks and to praise God for His faithfulness. Doing so settles my mind and brings rest.
The Psalmist wrote wise words when he penned, “I reflect at night on who you are, O LORD; therefore, I obey your instructions” (Psalm 119:55). Reflecting on God’s character is an important discipline at all times, but especially at night when anxious thoughts tend to run rampant. Habitually doing so increases our understanding of who God is and enables us to trust and obey.
As the Christmas season approaches, I’m focusing on the truth found in Isaiah 7:14—“Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” When anxious or busy thoughts threaten to keep me awake, I turn them to the reality of Immanuel—God with us—and thank Him that He’s fully reliable to take care of whatever concerns me.
How do you handle sleepless nights?