CAN WE HAVE PEACEFUL SLEEP?
Whenever we go through physical, mental, and spiritually demanding events during the day, if we fail to really calm down before going to bed, it can be very difficult to have a peaceful night. For some of us it is challenging to stop our brain from processing thoughts to be able to fall asleep. Others may fall asleep much easier and sleep deep, but even for them, life in this chaotic world may keep them awake at times. So, what do we do?
We can have the Lord’s true peace if we give Him our thoughts, worries, anxieties, frustrations, and everything that bothered us during the day and can disturb our sleep. We can sleep better if we make it a habit to give these thoughts to the Lord before bed and take time to read the Bible to feed our spirits and minds with God’s truth. During the deep sleep, without dreams, the brain is cleansing itself of toxins produced by nerve cells as a result of their activity during the day. But for this cleansing process to take place effectively, we need about 7 to 8 hours of good sleep. Lack of sleep makes us grumpy, lack energy, and if we don't get enough sleep for long periods of time, the brain cannot eliminate toxins and we may expose ourselves to diseases with serious consequences.
When we wake up in the morning feeling tired, most likely we didn't sleep deeply long enough. Thoughts are formed by connections (synapses) between neurons (nerve cells), which during the night loosen and form other connections becoming dreams. If during the day we think about a lot of negative thoughts, painful and unpleasant memories, the chances of having a restful sleep at night are very slim. Whatever other connections would the nerve cells form between them, they cannot produce beautiful and pleasant dreams, if we do not take the time to cleanse our minds through the Word of God before going to sleep. Jesus tells us to give Him our burdens and even our fatigue and take His rest. When we do everything together with our Lord, following His directions, we are not handling the problems alone, but "yoked" together with Jesus. This means that He will bear the heavy loads for us and teach us how to deal with all of life situations. Also, Jesus is the perfect example of meekness and humility and if we choose to be like Him, we will live better lives and rest better.
Sometimes it may be hard to identify if a directional thought is coming from the Lord or not, but we can ask ourselves, “What would Jesus do in my place?” and then act based on what we know the Bible says about God's character. Meekness helps us not to act harshly based on first reactions, and humility helps us not to have a higher opinion of ourselves than we should. When we make decisions calmly and objectively, following the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can have more peace, and no longer lose sleep over bad decisions or suffer from their effects. When we do everything together with Jesus, respecting His values and principles, it is much easier to fulfill His will, because He is “yoked” together with us.
What we think, feel, speak, and decide during the day influences our sleep at night. We were created by God for love, joy and peace. But because we live in a fallen world, more often the natural response to what happens to us is the opposite of love, joy, and peace. In order to change our human way of reacting to negative situations, with the spiritual one, we must be transformed “by the renewing of our minds, that we may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2). A transformed mind will continue to transform a person's emotions, decisions, speech, and even character. The mind is made up of the totality of a person’s thoughts, feelings and choices. We are called to think, feel and choose based on the truth of God’s Word, and by doing so, we can reign in life. A renewed mind changes our character too. Integrity and good behavior increase the quality of our lives and we become a positive influence on those around us as well. The more seriously and deeply we study the Word of God, the more we enter in the presence of the Lord, we hear Him more clearly and as we change, we become more like Jesus.
The sooner we get our peace after being disturbed or hurt, the better we will rest at night. The quicker we give our problems and frustrations to God, the less time we will spend during the night being frustrated and searching for solutions.
By forming the habit before going to bed of giving the Lord what happened during the day to Him in prayer, we can relax our minds and sleep peacefully, trusting that the Lord will work all things out for good. If you do not know how to pray, you can develop and adapt the prayer below to your situation.
Dear Lord, please help me remember what has troubled me during the day and I have not yet given unto You. Please forgive me for... and please show me if there is anything else I have done wrong without realizing it. Please cleanse me of all my sins and help me keep a pure heart and my mind free from bad thoughts. Please help me to recognize the thoughts that come from You and give me the wisdom and strength to follow your guidance step by step. I am giving You my thoughts, emotions, and dreams and please help me rest deep and wake up refreshed. Thank You Lord, for in You alone I can lie down in peace, sleep, and truly rest. Glory and honor to You forever, in the Name of Jesus I pray, amen.
I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;
For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
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