I laid me down… wanting wanting wanting the in-between place, that place in the middle of awake and asleep where the pillow and the blanket speak a comfort that all is safe and good.
Sixty days without the vulnerability of drifting.
Sixty days without the submission of dreaming.
The heart pound in a middle-aged body out of sync pushed open the door with a bang in the middle of every night for two months dumping a load of anxiety and fear onto the bed like a kid dumps a backpack after a long day at school.
There it sat like a weight in the room. An unwelcome and stubborn mess.
This was no quiet monster under the bed.
When sleep eludes us, when sleep is interrupted we do not feel whole, we do not feel put back together. We were created to sleep well. Upon waking in the morning what is it that we ask our children, our spouses, our guests?
“How did you sleep?”
We are not looking for a literal answer. What we are really asking is: ” Have you been restored?” “Have you been renewed, re-charged, replenished for another day?”
Sleep re-orients us and when we don’t get enough of it we begin to live off-plumb, meaning we are living our lives slightly askew. The sleep-deprived always feel a little off balance, they do life a few degrees off the mark.
As children we fought hard against Winkin’, Blinkin’ and Nod, afraid to miss out on things when we didn’t know that sleep is a gift.
Yet, have we grown wiser with stature when so many of us are sleep deprived still? Must productivity rule the day and the glow of technology steal the night from us because we have to be so connected that we are unable to dis-connect for fear of missing out on things even now?
When sleep is stolen from us due to illness, or put on hold because of babies crying in the night, all we can do is cling to the One who never sleeps, trusting that it will last only a season.
He will not let you be defeated.
He who guards you never sleeps. Psalm 121:3
We are all children in our beds. Some of us have our legs splayed and sprawled upon the mattress, others keep limbs tucked up tight near the chest. We drool like babies, our mouths open for maximum sleep breathing. When we wake we are embarrassed that we know this about ourselves. But it is here, in this vulnerability that we receive our repair. We are in God’s body shop and what was taken apart the day before gets put back together for another day. It is in the morning that we are able to receive our new mercies.
Sleep is a reminder that we’ve come from the ground. We began life lying down and we will end it there. Sleep is like death in that way. We lie down in the green pastures of trust, knowing that God will raise us up again, fully restored, fully renewed, fully equipped to move forward. Sleep re-orients us to where we need to be. It gets us to the other side of things.
When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Proverbs 3:24
For encouragement, check out the links below:
James Bryan Smith in A Good and Beautiful God explains how sleep is good for our souls and in a TED talk, Arianna Huffington says it plain.