Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Sleeplessness

I'm a member of the 2:00 club. It's called that because those of us who belong to this club (a dubious honor at best) wake up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep. I can remember belonging to this club way back in my teen years, and maybe even before that. My brain turns on and I can't turn it off.

In those young days, I did my best creative thinking in the middle of the night. I composed papers for school, letters I needed to write, and youth group lessons - in those days we didn't have youth pastors to direct our activities; we had to create them. We were each assigned a Sunday night to give a "lesson." If one was really lazy, she/he could have a "Bible quiz," which mostly consisted of hollering out a verse "address" and the first one up to read it aloud got a point. It was a great way of learning where things were in the Bible, but lacked a lot in lesson value. I always wanted to do a better lesson than the one I did before. And I did my best planning in the middle of the night.

One middle of the night the summer after my senior year, I was asleep trying to figure out how I was going to afford to go to college. I know - it was pretty late to be thinking about this. But in those days you didn't get a lot of help from school counselors. I heard my parents talking and found out they were discussing the very same thing. I went back to bed and wrestled with the thought my dad had voiced, "Maybe you should stay home a year and work to get some money saved up." No, No, No. I didn't want to stay home another year. I had been looking forward to going to this particular school for two years and had been counting the days. As I struggled with this idea for a long time that night, I began praying about it. I finally got to the point of surrender when I told God I would stay home if that was His will. At that point of surrender, I began to see the advantages of staying home another year - I could have some money! I could pay for tuition! I could have some new clothes! As morning dawned, I was at peace. The miracles began happening that day. Church people started calling (I was the p.k.) and offering things I needed. They had a "shower" for me. I got everything I needed from the shower and from unexpected sources - my younger brother and his friend even got involved and bought me a winter coat and towels. Talk about a faith booster! My lifelong scripture promise became Matthew 6:28-34: "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

You'd think, with my membership to this club, that getting up with babies would have been a snap. Not so.

As time moved on and things got tougher in the growing-up family years, that club membership involved lots of worrying. I know, I know, "why worry when you can pray?" But worrying is one of my worst faults. And I had lots to "be concerned" about. Isn't that what we Christians like to call worry, since the Bible clearly states it is not God's will for us to worry?

Aging has not been kind to my sleep habits. The trip down the hall, which I avoid as long as possible, causes wakefulness, which causes my brain to start buzzing, which causes me to be unable to sleep. It's not very spiritual, but middle of the night t.v. puts me to sleep immediately. I do try to take notes of what is going on in my mind so I don't forget it when and if I ever do go back to sleep. Some of my best blogs are created in the middle of the night sleeplessness!

King Xerxes chose to get up and read when he couldn't sleep. He read some history of his kingdom (probably thought it would bore him back to sleep). Esther 6 tells the story. According to the Message version, "He ordered the record book, the day-by-day journal of events, to be brought and read to him." In this history reading, he was reminded of the time Mordecai had exposed a plot to assassinate him. He asked what great honor had been given to Mordecai for this. When he learned that nothing had been done, He called Haman in and asked him what Haman would advise for someone who should be given a great honor. Of course, Haman was sure the king was talking about him, so he came up with a great plan - "Bring a royal robe that the king has worn and a horse the king has ridden, one with a royal crown on its head. Then give the robe and the horse to one of the king's most noble princes. Have him robe the man whom the king especially wants to honor; have the prince lead him on horseback through the city square, proclaiming before him, 'This is what is done for the man whom the king especially wants to honor!' " The king ordered Haman to do it for Mordecai - what mortification for Haman! What glory for Mordecai - and for God who used this man, through his niece, Esther, to save the Jewish nation.
I love this story. I especially love the verse, "Maybe you were made queen for just such a time as this." I love the song that was written from this verse. I love to think that something I do someday may be God's answer "for such a time as this."

I really wish I could turn off my brain as easily as I can turn off the t.v.! But I really, really wish that I could use my sleeplessness for something important, and I need to be paying better attention to what that might be.

FROM THE MOUTHS OF BABES IN THIS TECHIE GENERATION:

Anakin was looking at a world map (his greatest interest right now) and asked me, "Grandma, where's Hong Kong?" Care Bear piped right up, "Is it a video or a CD?"

Then she was playing with her new drawing toy she got for her birthday, an updated modern version of Etch-a-Sketch. She wanted to erase what she'd drawn, and said "I need to rewind this."

Cracks me up!

16 comments:

Barb said...

I used to belong to that club, too, Dawn. One of the bad sides of getting older is how it changes your sleep habits. But I got tired of waking up tired. So I take Tylenol PM at night now and I sleep straight through.

That remark about rewinding the Etch 'N Sketch cracked me up. So funny how they see things, isn't it?

Kristen said...

I hope I don't eventually inheirit this problem from you. I can't afford to lose anymore sleep.

Maybe you should join Barb and start taking Tylenol P.M.

At least you always seem to get things accomplished when you have problems sleeping.

Pamela said...

Haman's own greed came back to bite him. Crowning Mordecai was pure torture for Haman! lol In a way, not being able to sleep did save the Jewish nation. lol

I recommended Tylenol PM to my Mom cause she has so much trouble sleeping as well, and it is non addictive! She says it works great! :)

Dawn said...

I have been taking Tylenol PM, but it's not working for me as well as others. My SIL recommended it this summer as well.

Nikkie said...

I'm a member of that club. If I do fall asleep before 2 am I'm up again at 2. And your totally right, being in this club doesn't make the late nights with babies any easier.

theresa said...

I too am a member, I get back to sleep around 4am, but I'm wide wake between 2 and 4. That's when I pray and think.

The etch-a-sketch comment is too cute!

Linda said...

If you ever find a cure for this let me know Dawn. I either take forever falling asleep or wake up in the middle of the night and stay awake for hours. I've tried all the mild things that should help, and they only seem to make my mind overactive (or more overactive I guess). The real problem is feeling like I could fall asleep on my feet at about two o'clock in the afternoon.
Ah well...perhaps I will get a brilliant thought or two in the wee hours.

Brenda said...

I've had many a sleepless night worrying over my girls, and the only remedy I've found that really does work is prayer. I start with my list of others for whom I've committed to pray, and by the time I get to my worries, they seem so much smaller. Then in the morning, I feel refreshed and renewed, no matter how little sleep I've had. I highly recommend it!

PEA said...

I seem to be waking up around 4 a.m. every morning...I usually get on the computer and work on my blog then when I feel tired again, I get back into bed. I can usually fall back asleep for a couple of hours.

Zanne said...

greetings from a cold and wet Belgium, thought I would come over the water for some sunshine!!!
the only time i am awake at 2am is to ask hubby to stop snoring lol!
i go to bed REALLY late as I am a night owl, I have always done my best assignments late at night, reading back through them now it baffles me that I ever created such brilliant pieces!
When my kids wake during the night I ask them what woke them, sometimes it was because they were dreaming of somebody, I encourage them to pray for that person and theeir family, invariably they go back to sleep having chatted with their Father.
Have a bless├ęd day

Maine Mom said...

It sounds like you have used the time you're awake at night wisely. My mom has a hard time falling asleep at night. I encourage her to get up and do something productive and maybe that will help her to settle down later on, but I'm sure it is frustrating to want to be asleep, but it just won't happen.
Kids are so much fun to listen to!

MugwumpMom said...

Can totally relate. I get up and go lay on the sofa, pray a bit and fall asleep. I used to feel bad falling asleep while I prayed but then I got to thinking that I was just falling asleep in my Father's arms.

Grafted Branch said...

I love this post! My poor, darling husband has struggled with insomnia most of his life. He, too, finds a t.v. in the bedroom helpful for those times. He'll be glad to know he's not alone.

truth said...

Currently, I do not belong to this club but probably will again. I used this time as a night watch and would pray. It was amazing how quickly I could fall back asleep when I took my worries out of my head and placed them in his hands.

mouse said...

I don't usually wake once I am asleep my problem is getting to sleep to start with. I seem to get energized at bedtime. What works for me is to turn the TV on and that puts me to sleep after awhile or get hubby (also a night owl) to come rub my back and that puts me to sleep pretty fast most nights but 1:00 AM or 2:00 AM is not a good bedtime when I have to get up at 6:00 AM. I need to start going to bed earlier but that is just so hard to do.

Rewind the Etch a Sketch, how funny.

Morning Glory said...

I'm a little behind in chiming in on this, but I have found that one Tylenol PM is the perfect gentle aid for getting a good night's sleep. Give it a try. It's non-habit forming and very gentle, and works the best when I head to bed around 10 p.m.