It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I have insomnia on a regular basis. I love to sleep, I need a solid 8 hours to function at my best, but I seem to have so much trouble actually going to sleep during normal sleeping hours. I cannot get my mind to shut down. I cannot get the thoughts to stop spinning. I cannot get my heart to be calm. Usually I try to work or read online until I’m just too tired to stay awake. It’s an ugly cycle and something I keep trying to overcome.
Earlier tonight (ok it was after 5am, so technically morning), I had an interesting experience on my personal Facebook account. I won’t go into the details but basically someone I really didn’t know that well and not really sure why we were even “friends” on facebook, made a very rude, totally unfounded comment on a post I made on Facebook and called me of all things a “fear monger” and accused me of encouraging people to NOT help others.
Obviously she didn’t know me at all and had some personal issues related to the topic. I hate that I set her off with a post that was actually intended to of all things, HELP people and warn them about potential danger. (She quickly thereafter unfriended me and after a couple short private messages I have blocked her as I felt based on her replies that was what was best. I did try to be nice and show grace in all my conversations and I told her I had nothing against her and wished her well.)
Though her words deeply upset me to the point of crying (because I just care too much what people think of me, even if their thoughts are not true) I just had to stop and pray and ask God to help me to bless and release. Not always an easy task when you feel like someone is attacking the core of who you are and what you believe, but it is the only way to show grace to those who don’t appear to understand grace.
It didn’t help my struggle to find sleep though. After my blood pressure went back to normal and I calmed down, it got me to thinking though more about fear and that horrible word “fear monger”.
Fear is one of my weaknesses. I think it is a big reason for my insomnia too, or at least it’s cousin “worry” is to blame. The thoughts in my head late at night literally spin and build and make me want to scream sometimes.
I worry about things I know I can’t control or change. I worry about what I didn’t accomplish, what I need to accomplish, what I wonder if I should attempt to accomplish. I worry about what people think of me, about if words I said came across the right way, about disappointing people.
Ever since I had an intruder in my carport a couple months ago, I worry about someone breaking into my house. I worry about the safety of my grandparents who live nearby too. I worry about someone stealing my most treasured possessions when I am not home to protect them.
I worry about the state of our country, the agenda of our government, how things will be in 5, 10 and 20 years from now for us Christians. I worry about having those treasured freedoms and privileges I grew up with taken away.
I worry I am not living up to my potential. I worry I am not being the example I should be as a Christian. I worry that I am just going to continue to be living a “three steps up and two steps back” type of relationship with God.
I know God has a plan for my life grander than I could imagine. I know He will protect and provide for me. He has shown me that over and over and continues to remind me with amazing things like 2 little sparrows that spend the night in my carport from time to time. I know God has everything under control and that me worrying won’t change anything.
So why do I keep worrying? I know all these things in my heart, but my over-rationalizing head has a hard time accepting them sometimes. That is where faith has to come in though. That is when I have to get my thoughts back on Jesus and off of the thoughts that are sure to consume and drown me.
I’m glad to know that I am not the only person who has this struggle. Peter, one of the Disciples had the same problem.
Remember the passage in Matthew 14, when the Disciples and Jesus were out fishing and the water was crazy wild and a storm was brewing? Peter saw Jesus walking on the water and couldn’t believe it. He asked Jesus to prove it was Him and Jesus invited Peter to come take a stroll on the water with Him. Peter did and at first it was awesome, he was walking on water, oh my! Then all of a sudden fear, worry, doubt, all those thoughts about how un-rational this was and how un-capable he was came over Peter. What happened next? He took his eyes off Jesus and he started to drown.
29 And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and *said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:29-31 NASV
Even though Peter doubted, Jesus was still there, still holding him, still in control, still protecting Peter. All Peter had to do was get his eyes back on Jesus.
Even in the midst of doubt, fear and worry, if we will just stop our crazy thinking, stop focusing on our worries, stop letting the real “fear mongers” control us and just keep our eyes or get our eyes back on Jesus, we can keep from drowning too. Ah, what a lesson, what a reminder I needed. What a strange way for God to remind of me these truths.
For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. (Isaiah 41:13)
“Oh Lord that I would remember this every waking minute of every day. I pray you will remind me to return and keep my eyes on you when I start to doubt and fear. I pray you would help me to not over think, not over rationalize, not over worry and to just have faith and keep my focus on you, your truths and your mercy. I thank you for continuing to save me from drowning and I pray for this person especially that you will heal her heart and for all the others who are drowning to turn their eyes to you.”
What are the “fear mongers” in your life? Do you struggle with worrying and keeping your eyes on Jesus too? You are not alone and you don’t have to over think it all, just remember to have faith and keep your eyes on Jesus. This is something I will be working on changing in my life and my prayer is that this encourages you to do the same.
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