March 5, 2004
Encouragement for Today
by Rachel Olsen, Certified Speaker
Psalm 127:2 God grants sleep to those He loves. (NIV)
I love to sleep. In fact, I earned the nickname “Sleeping Beauty” in college. It seems I never outgrew my teenage ability to sleep until 11:00 AM if left undisturbed. My husband, on the other hand, thinks sleeping late is a waste of time. He wakes every morning about 7:00, and couldn’t sleep another wink if he tried. Did I mention I also love to nap?
Despite my affinity for sleeping, I am not very good at going to sleep. My body temperature rises in the evenings and I tend to gain energy as the sun sets. I find evenings are prime-time for me to get things done, particularly once the kids are in bed. I hate to stop my productive work to retire for the day. Once in bed, my head has the same difficulty winding down as my body. My mind is filled with thoughts of the day, concerns for tomorrow and hopes for the future. Do you ever wish there was a switch in your mind you could flip to “off” when you were in need of some rest?
If any man should have had trouble falling asleep, it would have been King David. David was a man after God’s own heart, but he was also a man with many enemies. His own son Absalom rebelled against him and gathered as many as 10,000 soldiers to kill him. In Psalm 3:5 David said, “I lie down and sleep; I wake again because the Lord sustains me” (NIV). The king echoes this thought in Psalm 4:8 when he says, “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety” (NIV). With so many men seeking his harm, David had left his palace for the cover of wilderness. There in the forest, David declared his life to be in the hands of the Lord and he lay down and slept like a baby. It’s not likely you and I will ever be on the run from soldiers seeking to take our life, but it is likely that this very day we are pursued by strife and stress who seek to take our quality of life. Like David, we should look to the Lord as our source of life, peace and rest.
Jesus told us how we can find rest. He said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11:28-29 NIV). Sleep is like the reset button for the body. It helps us recover from the day’s events. While sleeping our bodies repair themselves at the cellular level and we regain our strength. Coming to Jesus with our burdens is like hitting the reset button for our souls. It too will help us recover from each day’s events. While we pray, the Holy Spirit repairs us at the spiritual level and we regain strength of mind and heart.
I have found the best way to quiet my body for sleep in the evenings is to stretch to a 20-minute Pilates video or take a 15 minute soak in the tub. I also have found the best way to quiet my mind in the evening is to spend a similar amount of time contemplating my blessings, meditating on promises in the scriptures, and laying my concerns before Jesus in prayer.
The apostle Paul advised in Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” No sleeping pill is a better prescription for rest than this promise. So when you get ready for bed tonight, spend some time in pillow talk prayer with Jesus, the lover of your soul. Sweet dreams.
My prayer for today:
Dear Jesus, teach me to daily lay my burdens at your feet. Show me I can trust in your loving care. Grant me, your beloved, the nourishing blessing of rest and peaceful sleep.
Whether it is on a pillow or in the bathtub, find a place to spend time alone with God before drifting off to sleep. Thank Him for all that went well today and release to Him all that did not. Ask Him to develop in you His gentle humbleness, and to give you a restorative night’s rest.
God made our bodies in such a way as to require a certain amount of sleep each night for us to function at our best.
As wives and mothers are we seeing that our families get the necessary amount of rest and sleep each day?
As wives and mothers are we seeing that we get the necessary amount of rest and sleep each day?
When your mind is anxious or your body weary, do you turn to the Lord as your source of comfort and strength? How long does it usually take you to turn to Him?
I reflect at night on who you are, O Lord, and I obey your law because of this. Psalm 119:55 (NIV)
Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in Him, for He shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between His shoulders. Deut. 33:12 (NIV)
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths will grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall. But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40: 28-31 (NIV)
So now the Lord says, “Stop right where you are! Look for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls.” Jeremiah 6:16 (NLT)
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