Goodnight, Sleep Tight Day 3: What Keeps You Up at Night?
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28, ESV)
I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me. (Psalm 3:5, ESV)
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:29-30, ESV)
Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. (Psalm 127:1-2, ESV)
Rest doesn’t always come easy. Many people struggle with restlessness. We lie in bed at night thinking through our to-do lists, replaying past events, or worrying about the future. Maybe it’s even all three of them at a time. Our heads swarming with thoughts, it can be difficult to allow our bodies to fully rest. While there are sleep disorders that require help from a medical professional, I believe that restlessness, at its core, stems from a need for control.
We often think of someone’s “needing to be in control” as a negative characteristic. Maybe you think so-and-so is obnoxious because they always have to be in control of what’s going on around them. However, I think we all struggle with the idea of control. We all have things we have trouble letting go of and allowing God to work through. For me, I struggle to let go of solving problems. Whether they are my own or someone else’s, I always feel burdened with the responsibility to fix them. But I am not in control.
The need for control can keep us awake at night. Maybe you don’t feel in control of your time. Your work load, home needs, and social life are piling up a mountain of to-dos and it feels like you have no time to waste. Your mind is racing at night with things you need to remember to grab, projects you need to finish, and tasks you keep putting on hold. God intentionally created our days to fit within a 24-hour period. No more. No less. If you were meant to get it all done in one day, He would have given you more time. So, let yourself rest. You have accomplished as much as you can and now it is time to let your body relax and rest, knowing that you will be able to pick it back up tomorrow.
The need for control escalates our anxieties. When we need to be in control it can be hard to look past the what-ifs in life, which can lead down a dark road. What-ifs apply to the past, the present, and the future. Maybe you lie in bed at night thinking about what would have happened if you just hadn’t said those words. Maybe you are thinking about the what-ifs of your finances, family, or health. Whatever is consuming your brain, it is all in God’s hands. Rather than worrying about the future, we can rest assured that it is all in His control. True peace comes when we let go!
We can only truly rest when we finally relinquish control. God takes our burdens when we choose to lay them at His feet. We can feel confident in leaving the worries and anxieties of our hearts with Him because He alone is capable and willing to work a plan for our good. He alone is in control, and that truth can give us the peace we need to rest.
My challenge to you today is to make a list of all the things you are holding on to, whether past, present, or future. Take that list and pray to God to help you let go of these worries and let Him take control. Make it a habit to pray for God’s hand to be present in these worries. Daily lay them at His feet until you are no longer picking them back up. Give Him control so you can rest, knowing that your life is in good hands.