Usually, I sleep pretty well . . . until I don’t. No problem knocking out. Don’t think I toss and turn a lot. But way too often, if I need to get up in the middle of the night, before I can fall back to sleep my mind starts racing. It kicks into high gear as it starts processing cares, concerns, and to dos. People, projects, problems–they’ll often flood my head. And then my heart starts to churn. Anxiety sets in. And inside I feel like a clothes washer during the spin cycle. So, I’ll pray. And maybe try some fall-back-to-sleep exercises. But often the “spin cycle” going on inside of me won’t slow down, and so I’ll just get up and read and try and calm myself that way. But this morning, I was reminded of another source of calm. The LORD saying to me, in effect, “Lean on Me.”
You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.
Trust in the LORD forever,
for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.
(Isaiah 26:3-4 ESV)
Perfect peace. Literally, peace peace, shalom shalom. That’s really what I need on those sleepless nights. The tranquility Paul talks about which passes all understanding (Php. 4:6-7). And such shalom shalom comes from a mind that is stayed on the LORD GOD, the everlasting rock.
Poked at that word, stayed. Not really about establishing a fixed focus, but more about leaning on a firm foundation.
The mind that is stayed on Jehovah is the one that rests upon His power, His provision, and His promises. It’s supported by trusting in the One who is forever faithful. It leans against the immovable wall of an unchanging God who is committed to finishing the work He has begun (Php. 1:6).
Perhaps part of my problem in not being able to quiet my mind and calm my heart as I pray in the middle of the night is that I’m overly focused on the petitions that need to be made and less on the Person to whom they are being addressed. My brain processing all that needs to be dealt with, rather than my heart resting in the One who is familiar with all my circumstance, . . . and all that needs to be done, . . . and all that needs to be prayed for. Consumed with what’s on my plate and not really aware of His presence through the One sent to draw alongside as my Helper. And the Spirit says, “Lean on Me.”
Maybe that’s why getting up to do my devotions when I can’t sleep is so helpful in eventually returning to rest. Because, in reading His word, and believing what it says, I find anew the support that is found in Him. What I read might not address what I’m fretting about, but it does remind me of who I abide in . . . and abide with. The one who says, “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). “Lean on Me,” Jesus whispers.
And it’s not just about getting sleep at night, but also finding strength for the day. The mind leaning on the Father, resting in the Son, and supported by the Spirit, is the mind that knows shalom shalom because it trusts in the LORD in all things.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He will make straight your paths.
(Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV)
Lean on Me.
I need to hear that. I need to do that.
By His grace. For His glory.