Laying down to sleep each night is always a bit of an ordeal for me. My mind needs time to unwind and organize itself before it can completely shut off. Unlike Matthew who says he simply “takes his brain out and sets it on the nightstand”, I have to file through the day’s events and plan out the next one, which sometimes makes falling asleep a tedious task of its own. A few nights ago this whole process was compounded by the unsettling discovery of a scorpion in our laundry basket. Unfortunately, scorpions are not rare visitors in our home. This was an unusually large scorpion, one that you might find encased in glass and sold as a paperweight to some sick individual who has undoubtedly never encountered one scuttling across their bedroom floor. After Frank (our cat) alerted me to its presence, I plucked out the gym shorts that it was clinging to, rinsed it off into the bathtub, and crushed it with a baseball bat.
Thus was the advent of scorpion season in the Braselton household. This is a season of watchfulness- eyeing the floor with every step, scanning ceilings as you walk into a room, and performing black light inspections of the nursery before laying the babies down at night. Needless to say, this made getting to sleep that night even more difficult that usual. I was laying in bed for over an hour, wide awake, thinking only of scorpions and how to protect the kids from their potentially fatal sting. Jumping every time the sheets brushed against my legs, I went over my anti-scorpion warfare tactics and wondered if maybe I should peek into the cribs just one more time. It was in this anxious restlessness that God chose to teach me something about sleep.
John Piper has an excellent article on why we sleep. I can’t remember the title (Luke, maybe you have a link or something that you can post in comments), but he speculates to answer the question of why God would create us to need to spend a third of our lives sleeping, when so much more could be done for the kingdom in that time. He says a lot of great things, but his bottom line is that our need for sleep is to show us that God is God and we are not. It is along those same lines that I have been brought to look at sleep as a nightly opportunity to trust Him.
I think that women are generally very fearful creatures, which is probably why Peter admonishes us specifically not to give in to fear. I spend roughly 12 hours a day working and worrying, and doing my best to care for and protect my family. But as surely as the sun will rise the sun will set as well, bringing with it an inevitable moment when I must relinquish all control. It is at that point that I must lay down my fearful vigilance and realize that I was never really in control in the first place. Going to sleep renders me unable to continue pretending that the burden of running my little universe rests upon my shoulders.
I must sleep. I have no choice in the matter. And so it serves as a wonderful daily exercise for me to literally cease striving, and know that He is God.