Have you seen a mattress commercial lately? Of course, you have. The entire “sleep” industry is huge. Have you heard or seen a “no-snore” apparatus or a pillow commercial lately? Of course, you have. Our culture is having a hard time experiencing restful, rejuvenating, glorious sleep. In fact, a large part of our culture is hardly sleeping. No wonder some people are in a bad mood.
One hundred million Americans experience brief symptoms of insomnia; sixty million have short term sleep issues lasting less than three months. Thirty million Americans have a chronic insomnia disorder three times per week. It’s exhausting just thinking about it.
How do we get to sleep and stay asleep? Beyond physiological reasons, there are basically four reasons that we don’t sleep like we need to sleep. Maybe you can arrest the culprit robbing you of your sleep. The following are reasons why sheep refuse to lie down and rest. Maybe you too are sheepish about sleeping. Not all of these may be true for you, but it only takes one to keep you up.
Sheep are social animals. If they have unresolved issues with other sheep, they stay awake. Few people like confrontation. Most people stink at confronting others. If we stink at something, we tend to minimize it. Who do you owe an apology? Who do you need to meet for coffee? Who can you bring in to help you reconcile with another? It may be keeping you up. Get on it.
Who likes flies? Flies to sheep are like constant frantic busyness to people. Are you busy or productive? The reason your mind is racing in the wee hours of the morning is because it’s been racing all day. Busyness is a distant dark cousin to being strategic, focused, and productive in life.
Sheep won’t sleep if they are afraid. The opposite of fear is love. If we are not getting enough love and if we are not valued enough, we are bothered by it and we fret over it. We sleep best when we are loved and when we are loving others. “Perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). Whatever is getting in the way of you giving and receiving real love, deal with it. A 12-hour work day and an obsession with your career needs some dialing back. No love-no sleep.
Some people do not rest because of an underlying angst. Are you unsatisfied with who you are and what you have done with the opportunities that you have been given in life. Some people don’t sleep because they are overwhelmed, others toss and turn because they are underwhelmed with their own purposefulness in life. Some people are ravenous for meaning and a personal passion in life, and the absence of such leaves them hungry for something more.
I don’t know what you think about the Bible, but if you’re not sleeping, the following passage may sound pretty good to you. You have heard this before, but hear it now in the context of sleeplessness:
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul… (Psalm 23:2-3)
Maybe you are not sleeping because you need to exercise more and lose some weight, or you need a new pillow? Maybe your back hurts? But maybe, if you look under the hood, you may find an anxiety only extinguished by a greater love, a deeper sense of purpose, a greater sense of satisfaction, and a greater harmony with yourself, others, and your Shepherd. He makes us lie down, not just anywhere, but in green pastures. Sleep tight… Maybe instead of counting sheep, we should discover the Love in our Shepherd.
-Dr. Gary Hewins,
For more great blogs like these please subscribe to Lifepoints.org!