Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Cease Striving and Know That He is God

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.


Samantha Johnson said...

Thank you so much for the encouragement Kristie! What a great reminder that Christ has a certain and specific plan for every aspect of our lives. The things that are so ritualistic to us like sleep, are so mightily planned and thought out by God so His glory can be shown to us even in the moments we don't realize.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for reminding me that the effort to surrender and trust God is far more rewarding than the effort it takes to lay in bed and worry. Your blog really blessed me today. (it always does!)

Lisa Q.

Rusty said...

I completely agree Kristie. We are helplessly out of control when we're a sleep.

Over the years men at my church have prayed on a consistent basis to protect us in the "helplessness of our sleep," which I found odd for a very long time. But as you point, when you consider the amount of time we spend sleep, completely unconscious, it can be a frightening thought. A lot can happen in this down time. But all the while we are able to trust God and know that He is watchful and will remain sovereignly in control of our lives.

Count Casie

Brent Klontz said...

I clearly remember when Luke reminded us at 7ten, that sleep is a perfect example of how we are not God. What an awesome truth, that God is God and I am not. Thanks for the reminder!!

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luke simmons said...

kristie, i appreciate your thoughts and honesty and am thankful that i am more like matthew in the "take out your brain and set it on the nightstand" category. the article you referenced is in John Piper's book, Taste and See, but you can get the gist of his thoughts in this sermon: http://www.desiringgod.org/library/sermons/80/072780p.html

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Heather said...

I almost died picturing you smashing a scorpion with a baseball bat. I will be praying for you guys. And thanks for the reminder that God has a purpose for our many weaknesses.

Anonymous said...

what?? Scorpions?? I didn't know there were scorpions in AZ--I'm moving back to Cali NOW! :O

I'm amazed you managed to fall asleep (by God's grace?)at all but I'm not sure i can do the same under such circumstances. I'm still up and fretting because of a presentation at work tomorrow (for the Chief Engineer! EEP!)

But yes, I do remember what John Piper said about sleep. I guess sleep is necessary because we are not infinite like God...who is never wanting for He is infinitely resourceful and in Whom all things consist!