If I’d never have had experienced it myself, then I’d probably be someone who would scoff at people who voicing their frustrations of having bouts of insomnia.
I mean, seriously – you hear so many people who deal with the opposite, like fatigue and the inability to stay awake when they need to, and then these “insomniacs” can just stay awake all night?! How could that be so bad?
Think of how much one could get done with no interruptions during the night hours!
Yeah, well, experience taught me the lesson of humility and empathy. My first bout with insomnia was when I was a young teenager when a medication gave me the wonderful gift of insomnia as a side-effect. Those long, daunting nights were like cruel and unusual punishment after extended days of going to school, doing homework, and then AGAIN being unable to get the much needed rest that my body (and mind) craved! Needless to say, after a week of that, I refused to put another one of those pills in my mouth!
As an adult, I have had spells where I wake up in night, unable to sleep for a period of time before finally falling back to sleep. Funny how some of those times I would actually wake up at an exact time, on the dot, every night consecutively. Bizarre.
In addition to being very annoying, it feels like night will never end – like your mind and body are playing tricks on you. I hate lacking control — especially when I can’t FORCE myself to go to sleep, especially when, by all normal standards, I should be tired (and there was never a medical reason). Oh, and no matter what anyone says, you can count as many sheep as you want, but they don’t put you to sleep.
There came a point during one of these bouts that, after much prayer for this to STOP, God gave me a very clear picture of why I was having the insomnia: HE was causing it!
Apparently, I was so busy and focused on my life, everyday filling my schedule and my thoughts to the brim, that this was the ONLY way He could grab and hold my undivided attention. Sure, I loved Jesus and tried to follow Him the best I could, prayed and whatever else, but He wanted a closer RELATIONSHIP with me. He wanted me to use that insomnia time to just be still with Him…He wanted me to experience His peace and refreshment that comes from being quiet and listening. If I wasn’t going to make time during the day, He was going to teach me how to do it…even if at night.
Psalm 63:6 says “I lie awake thinking of You (God), meditating on You through the night.”
The Psalmist could have laid there awake thinking of his troubles, his girlfriend, or even plan his schedule for the next day. But he didn’t – he meditated on God.
I came to realize that I didn’t always have control over going to sleep, but I did have the CHOICE to use my insomnia for Him, instead of loathing and ‘wasting’ it. I actually began enjoying this personal time along with Him, and seeing it as a gift. In fact, I coined a new phrase: “HIMsomnia” (well, at least with myself, haha!) I didn’t focus on the lack of sleep or the annoyance factor anymore…I focused on Him and listened to Him. Talk about a way to grow and get to know Him! There have been times when He has had brought a specific person or situation to mind and I’ve been able to spend time in prayer for those. It was pretty neat, and I now count it as a gift that my Creator and the Maker of the universe wants to spend time with ME. While I usually do take time during the day to spend with Him now-a-days, there’s still something different about the dark, void of distraction, wide-awake quiet time with Him that I miss a bit…though don’t get me wrong, I’m not wishing for a chronic problem of HIMsomnia 😉
Disclaimer: There are many reasons for insomnia, some of them medical/emotional/physical and I in no way am trying to diagnose, treat, cure, or downplay insomnia in any way. I’m only sharing with you my personal experience, and perhaps offering a way to simply enrich your life, if you should ever go through something like this.