Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Except When I Pray

I've been plagued lately with insomnia. Not the "up all night" kind; more like the "when I get up to go to the bathroom and lay (lie?) back down, I'm wide awake" kind. The problem with something like this is that when I wake up, I immediately worry that I won't get back to sleep; that thought alone will keep me awake.

I don't seem to have a lot of say in the matter. Either I'm awake or I'm not. My mind starts whirring, like a helicopter. Thoughts churn around and around until they come back again. Nothing I do seems to help. Except when I pray. 

I don't get out of bed. I don't turn on the light and grab my bible. I just lay (lie?) there and people start coming to mind. And I just send up a quick "think" prayer---you know, the kind where you don't really go into an actual prayer, but you just think about the person and their situation. After all, God knows my thoughts, so a think prayer counts just as much as a formal prayer does. 

Or, instead of dwelling on my problem at hand, I meditate on a scripture. I just keep repeating it in my head; something that might help my anxiety like, "I will not be afraid of the terror of night," (Ps 91:5). Because when I lay (lie?) awake in the middle of the night, I start thinking about things that might be wrong, and that can lead to more anxiety. Things escalate and become bigger in the middle of the night.

A similar thing happened immediately after I had surgery. I heard this voice, "You're in Recovery." I opened my eyes and tried to say, "Yay!" but nothing came out. But in my head I shouted, "Yay!" My mind was alert and almost on overdrive, but my body was at the other end of the spectrum. It was the strangest thing. I wanted to talk, but I couldn't. Very frustrating for a person who never shuts up. It could have been a reaction to the anesthesia...I don't know. I had to talk to myself in my head. I told myself to let them do their job; they know what they're doing. I told myself to relax, that my body would awaken when it's ready. I couldn't get relief. Except when I prayed. I don't remember what I prayed, but I remember that the only way I could calm myself down in my head was to pray. I believe I thanked and praised God. 

There is something soothing about prayer, whether it's for myself or others. It puts me into a different zone and I forget about the fact that I can't sleep...or can't wake up! Eventually, instead of my mind whirring like a helicopter, I feel a settling peace, my thoughts become more sparse and I even I start to forget that I'm praying. Calm trumps anxiety and I begin to drift off. When I couldn't wake up and talk, that calm gave me the ability to accept where my body was and needed to be...in a state of recovery. 

If you have an overactive mind, like I do, I'm sorry. There isn't a whole lot you can do about that. Nothing will turn it off. Except when you pray. Trust me...it works.

Blessings Along the Path,

Song of the Day
In the Stillness (Ruth Fazal)..and others...apparently the link has many songs... (great music for helping you get to sleep!)

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