I've been having trouble sleeping lately. Mostly I lay in bed, cats to the left of me, cats to the right, stuck in the middle with an insomnia of sorts. I find it difficult to get comfortable, though Lord knows it's not from a lack of pillows as I've somehow managed to surround myself with a fort of them in all different shapes and sizes. No, it's my mind that just won't be quiet, churning away, fixating on the stressful items I don't have time to focus on during the day. What sleep I do get is frequently interrupted as I'll wake up several times throughout the night for various reasons. Each time, I have to start the sleep process all over again, like downshifting my car through its gears - if my car was a stick shift instead of a knee-friendly-if-less-fun automatic.
My wonky dreams aren't helping as they seem to sift through the same issues I deal with during the day. Doesn't tend to facilitate a restful sleep. It's gotten to the point that I dread turning out the lights. I've tried some medication, but it's a last resort because without enough time to sleep off the effects, I wake up groggy and function poorly throughout the day. I'm a night owl by nature - I start to wake up around 8pm - but even I fade early when I've only gotten an average of fours hours sleep a night in a week's time.
I was slugging through my day yesterday (in desperation, I'd taken a muscle relaxer around midnight) when my eyes fell on the inspirational flip calendar my sister had given me for Christmas a good seven or eight years ago. Each day lists a verse or a quote on a variety of themes though mostly relating to issues of faith. Although dated, the calendar has no year or days of the week, which allows me to flip through it anew every year. I've often found encouragement from this calendar, and once place two particular quotes from it on my office wall several years ago when I was going through a particularly tumultuous time with my family. They're still there to this day.
The calendar has been stuck in September since last year when I landed on a verse that particularly resonated. Yesterday, it gonged again.
I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8
So there I lay last night, awake again, repeating this verse over and over again in my head until I fell asleep, which actually happened fairly quickly. And when I woke up at God knows what hour and feared I might not get back to sleep, I thought of that verse again and dropped off. At least until 5am when my bladder and an insistent Baxter woke me up. Every time I stopped scratching her and tried to drift back to sleep, she'd bumped her head against my hand until I started scratching again. Persistent kitty.
I'm certain the sleep I had was thanks to the relaxing inspiration of the Psalm, to consciously working to release my burdens to Him and dwell in safety. But I'm sure the medicinal rum didn't hurt either.