Psalm 77: 2-9 (ESV) 2 In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted. 3 When I remember God, I moan; when I meditate, my spirit faints. Selah 4 You hold my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak. 5 I consider the days of old, the years long ago. 6 I said, “Let me remember my song in the night; let me meditate in my heart.” Then my spirit made a diligent search: 7 “Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable? 8 Has his steadfast love forever ceased? Are his promises at an end for all time? 9 Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger shut up his compassion?” Selah
I have struggled with insomnia all of my life it seems. I remember as far back as four years old just lying awake, staring at the ceiling, heart racing, mind reeling. I would think of all the things that were bothering me, or things that happened throughout the day, and even as a small child I would wonder what I could have done differently. Over the years, that has never changed. My sleepless nights have often been due to anxious thoughts and feelings. The subject matter has evolved as I have matured, but the cause of my lost sleep has always been the same thing…anxiety.
Anxiety is defined, in short, as excessive uneasiness, nervousness, and/or worry. Sometimes it’s temporary, caused by one single event or problem, but other times our anxiety is a recurring condition. When worries take over our hearts and minds, things start to happen with our bodies as well. Stress and worry affects our digestive and cardiovascular systems, it disrupts sleep, it can affect hormones causing reproductive issues, and it can lower the entire immune system leaving our bodies vulnerable to a myriad of illnesses and ailments.
Beyond all of that, the emotional and spiritual affects of anxiety can be crippling. Not only does it hold us prisoner to our thoughts and emotions, but it also erodes our personal relationships with friends and family. It even interferes with our connection to God. We begin to feel far away from Him, imagining that somehow He has found Himself willing to leave us…and that’s just crazy thinking!
So how do we combat this epidemic of the mind? We have to take charge of our thinking…align our thoughts with scripture…with what we know to be true.
10 Then I said, “I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High.” 11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. 12 I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds. -Psalm 77: 10-12 (ESV)
God has proven Himself, and sometimes, because we are human and doubtful by nature, we have to remind ourselves just who our Creator is and of all of His marvelous works. When we truly put Him first, worshipping and honoring Him with our lives, we take the focus away from all of the things that keep us up at night, and we are able to reclaim our peace.
Philippians 4: 4-7 (The Message) says, “Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute! Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I recognize anxiety for what it is, I take charge of my thoughts and feelings, and rather than fret over things that are out of my control, I choose to celebrate YOU and all of the wonderful things that You have done. Thank you for rest. Thank you for peace. Amen.