…his mind was troubled and he could not sleep.”

Daniel 2:1b

What keeps you up at night? For Nebuchadnezzar it was troubling dreams that he couldn’t understand. For me, it’s an avalanche of work details that I can’t seem to shake loose.

What is it for you? Replaying awkward conversations in your head? Worrying about money or your health? Chronic pain or chronic anxiety?

If you’re the type that drifts right off to sleep every night, you are blessed indeed. For the rest of us, sometimes, insomnia can be a nightmare of its own.

There are techniques to overcome it, of course. Deep breathing, a mug of warm milk, reading a book, avoiding caffeine and so on. And those can work really well. Sometimes.

But other times, it feels as if your brain just refuses to shut off and let you slip into slumber. You are literally fighting your own mind for the right to shut down for a few hours.

In this passage from Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar needed help to sleep at night. He called Daniel in to interpret his troubling dreams. It’s true, sometimes insomnia can be so severe that professional help is required.

For me, I tend to rely on spiritual help. I turn my ceaseless ruminating into prayer. I figure, if I’m going to be up for a while, I might as well strike up a conversation with God.

I place before the Lord all my worries, my conflicts, my details. I heap them up at the imaginary altar in my mind, and I give them over to someone who can manage my life better than I can, at the moment. I can choose to share this frustrating late night moment with someone who understands and comforts me.

Do I drift right off into blissful slumber? Sometimes. Other times my prayers end and my insomnia continues for a while. At least I did something productive with my time.

If you suffer from sleeplessness, my heart goes out to you. You’re certainly not alone. Know this – sleep is a mysterious part of our daily lives, and it serves a valuable purpose. So if it’s not happening for you as much as you need it to, try something new. Don’t just let it consume you.

Know that God will lie there with you as you stare at the ceiling, filling your lungs with gentle breaths, whispering calming words in your ear, bidding you to let go. At the very least, God encourages you to turn over your thoughts to someone greater, someone who is with you, awake or asleep.

Counting sheep may not always help you to drift off, but for a good night’s sleep, you can count on a little help…

from the Good Shepherd.

Have a good week,