Used to, I could fall asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow, it seemed. Now, not so much. My mind just takes off whenever I lie down.
After some reflection, I have discovered that often the root of all of this mental activity is fear. It is actually fear keeping me awake at night.
For over twenty years my husband’s job had a swing-shift schedule. He’d work twelve-hour shifts, back and forth between a 12-hour day shift and a 12-hour night shift. (He is now finally working day-shift only! And 8-hour days! Praise the Lord for answered prayers!)
Nights were the worst. For him, of course, but also for me.
Especially after we moved to the country. Out of police jurisdiction.
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I knew should anyone break into our house it would not be good. The soonest we’d get help from a 911 call would be around 20 minutes! Too late, really!
Some nights I’d lie awake and listen to the sounds in the house. And repeat these words to myself, “All houses creak at night. It’s no big deal.”
And then rehearse as many verses as I could remember to calm me down.
Have you ever been there?
Our minds can play tricks on us. And soon we are in an all-out spiritual battle with fear.
And sleep is nowhere to be found, with all that adrenaline pumping.
Do you struggle with going to sleep? Does fear play any part in your struggle? Maybe your fear isn’t for your physical safety, but maybe it’s a financial fear, or a health scare, or fear for your children’s spiritual condition and life choices.
Whatever it is that has you concerned and your mind spinning keeping you awake at night, God has the answers and longs to be your comfort and peace. And rest.
Only God Can Keep Me Safe
It was during the early years of my husband’s job that the Lord led me to one of my now favorite verses for whenever fear comes to war against my peace, especially at night. And it is found in our reading this past week in the Book of Psalms.
I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety. Psalms 4:8
The first part tells me I have a choice to make. “I will…”
I can choose to hold onto the peace of the Spirit within my heart and lie down to sleep.
Or, I can choose to reject God’s peace and lie there and worry all night.
The choice is mine.
The second part of the verse is what gives me the strength to let go of my fear.
for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety. Psalms 4:8
Todd and I tossed around the idea of getting a security system at one time, but decided…what’s the point?
We knew that not even the most sophisticated security system can keep out a determined and skilled intruder. The news and crime TV shows shatter that illusion of safety all the time with reports of daring break-ins to high-security-level homes and businesses.
So, even if my husband and I had a security system, a guard dog, and I knew how to use a gun—if God did not protect me and my girls when my husband was at work, we’d be done for!
I know that doesn’t really sound like a comforting thought. But here is the comfort for me.
However, if God has a different plan, and allows some hurt to take place, then because I know His promises, I know that it will be for my ultimate good. (Think of Job and Joseph.)
And so, why worry about it? Why let it keep me awake at night? I may as well just lay down and go to sleep. I can’t keep myself safe by staying awake at night worrying, anyway.
Only God can keep me safe.
And I can choose to trust Him to do just that!
When I choose faith, fear flees, and I can rest in peace in the safety of my Saviour’s loving arms. And drift right off to a restful sleep.
What keeps you awake at night?
Here are a few fears, besides safety fears, that I’ve allowed to rob me of sleep at one time or another. Can you relate to any of these? If so, then you might like to memorize these verses I’ve found and relied on to help me fight my fears, turn over in bed, and rest in God.
My unfinished To-Do list
As I’ve already said, I used to be one of those people who could most nights lay my head on the pillow (if my husband was at home) and go right to sleep. But not so much anymore. Therefore, it is easy for me to let my mind spin with all the things I did not get done that day. And all the things I have on my growing list for tomorrow. Can you relate?
When my mind fills with fear of not being able to get it all done, I remind myself of these verses—
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30
Stress in general
Other times when I’ve had a bad day and just need to hide away from it all, I think of and pray this verse. Pray that God would hide me under the shadow of His wings. Hide me away from all the stress of the day and help me quiet my mind for sleep.
Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings, Psalms 17:8
I love this verse and the imagery of it. I picture a large swan covering her babies, protecting them under her wings. God hides us and shields us from our enemies…those without, as well as, the stresses within.
Who among us has not stressed over finances? But God owns everything and will provide for His own, as I remind myself often using these verses.
(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:32-33
I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. Psalms 37:25
Children’s well-being and/or spiritual needs
Oh my! This one has been a big one for me for several years now. We love our children so much. And we would love to have everything go smoothly for them, but they have to learn some things the hard way. Just like we did. But oh, how hard it is to watch!
On those nights as I pray and cry out to God and seek His peace again, He reminds me of this most comforting truth—
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Philippians 1:6
Then I’m able to again surrender them to His care and guidance, knowing He loves them even more than I ever could. And is simply bringing them along in their spiritual journey. This verse assures me that God is working with purpose in all that He allows in their lives. And is growing them up in Him. And that my job is not to sit up worrying, but to trust Him and rest!
Of course, this promise only applies to saved people. So it’s a comfort only if we are reasonably sure that they are saved, but simply running from the will of God in their lives for a time.
There is no comfort or peace without assurance of their salvation!
And that’s hard, because if they aren’t living out their salvation, showing evidence of a changed heart, then we cannot have that assurance.
So…we pray. And cry out to God. And pray some more!
Trusting in God’s love for them. And the power of prayer!
We don’t know the future.
Will there be social security by the time we retire?
What should we do to prepare for retirement?
Can you tell my husband and I are nearing retirement age? These are the kinds of things that could keep me awake at night. And honestly, have more than I should have allowed. But God is directing our path and revealing, in His good time, all that we need to know about what He wants for us.
And you can trust Him to do the same for you!
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
I really have to fight this fear. My mind screams at me—“I can’t! I’m not enough!”
If I let it, this one could really paralyze me and render me absolutely useless. But God has given me the most wonderful and clear promise that is the perfect weapon when Satan comes calling with this particular fear.
And I love it, and use it often!
Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:24
Has God called you to be a wife? A mother? A witness of the gospel? A career woman? A home-school mom? A Sunday school teacher? A single lady?
Then He will do it through you!
You can depend on it!
No matter what your weaknesses are. Or even your strengths. You need not fear and fret, because whatever call God has placed on your life right now, HE will get it done!
God’s not looking for ability. But avail-ability!
So, in conclusion, whatever fear may be keeping you awake at night…
Rest in His promise, and go to sleep!
The Lord knows our frame and our need of sleep. He desires peace and rest for His children.
It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. Psalms 127:2
When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet. Proverbs 3:24
It is vain for us to worry and fret and fear.
Instead of letting fear keep us awake at night, we can choose to trust in our trustworthy God. And know that He will carry us safely til the morning and through each new day. As we continue to…
Draw nigh to Him,
LET’S TALK ABOUT IT.
Do you have trouble sleeping? What keeps you awake at night? Planning, fear, worry, or something else? What have you found to be helpful? Please scroll down and share in the Comments!