October 12, 2012

sleep (and the pursuit of rest), part 2

So I went to see a doc (I don't really have a primary - I just see whomever they suggest at the clinic I go to) about my sleep issues. After a brief back-and-forth, he gave me a prescription for a mild sleeping pill. I took half of one that night, half the next night. I guess I slept a little better but felt like I had a groggy hangover the next day. A few days later I took a whole pill. Slept okay, but really not any better than when I drink half a cup of hot milk - and the milk gives me calcium and vitamins that the pill does not. Plus it's just more wholesome to me; I like the idea of feeding myself something completely natural that just helps me calm down, rather than taking a chemical that forces my body to do the same. Part mind over matter. So, I've decided to stick with the milk and I think I'm making more out of this than I should. Ironically, I've slept really well the last couple of nights - probably because the boy has a horrendous cold which makes him miserable, which gives us both a lot more to do, which takes a lot of energy, which exhausts me all the more. So I'm tired but at least I'm getting a solid 7 hours of sleep a night. And that is acceptable. Until I had him, I always knew that I thrived on 8.5 hours of sleep a night and that's probably still true. One day, that sleep will come back to me. Until then, I'm leaning on God to give me just what I need every day.

I'm convinced that what I really need is a better way to rest within my mind and heart. I can't always just stop what I'm doing and chill out (yoga helps, but it's only once a week). I remembered Jesus' invitation to "take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (Matthew 11:29 NIV) but I just didn't understand it. I wondered if 'taking up a yoke' was an expression in that day, but an expression for what? A burden? That's what it sounded like to me. I wondered what kind of burden Jesus has, and why it would be so light.

Then one day a friend posted this on her Fa.ceb.ook wall:

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." http://bible.us/Matt11.28.MSG

Ohhh.... that's just what I needed to see. "Yoke" doesn't make any sense to me, but "unforced rhythms of grace" definitely does. A little gear in my soul clicked into place.

So now, before bed, I read that passage and consider each part. I am meditating on it. Every time I read it, God reveals something else to me bit by bit, angle by angle. And it occurs to me that all I really want is to be closer to Jesus. His life is the key to mine.

At our small group this week, one of the leaders asked us each to answer the question "What do you love about Jesus?" I immediately had a picture in my mind of an ocean with turbulent waves, dark clouds, swirling winds.. and in the middle of this a small island: no waves crashing on it, no rain falling on it, no clouds covering it, just perfect sand and stillness. Since I was near the end of the circle I had a few minutes to consider putting it into words. I said what I love about Jesus is that he is always an island of calm and peace, no matter what storms are going on in my life. I am finding rest for my soul, even if I constantly have to keep swimming back there.