Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Hurried to Sleep

A friend Shannon has started a new blog over at Life Prompted. Each week she writes and responds to a writing prompt and invites us to join her. I'll be playing catch up for a while, but hope to use her discipline to breathe some new life into my own writing...

Hurried to sleep

I can not remember a time in my life I did not hurry. Even as a child teachers constantly told me and my parents that I just needed to slow down or take my time. My oldest son was diagnosed fairly early with ADHD. While some corners of the internet like to pretend this is a myth diagnosis and I'm just failing at motherhood somehow and should probably just feed him differently, I know from my own life experience that Hurry is more than a choice sometimes. Hurry is a state of mind. Hurry is a chemical imbalance in our brains.

 Do you hear music while you have a conversation with a friend- while at the same time seeing colors and remembering what you wore to the eigth grade dance and wondering if your husband has the right socks in his bag to match his shoes? I do. Does this Ally Mcbeal life soundtrack follow you to bed? Im very aware of my sleeping thoughts, maybe because they aren't sleeping. I wake up hearing music, and remembering conversations from my dreams which are in vivid color and full of all senses. My dreams feel real and my sleep monitor on my fitbit has shown me that half the time I think I'm asleep, my body is actually restless. Even in my sleep, I hurry.

My pastor shared last week about the need for rest as a spiritual practice. He reminded us how Jesus took time to rest in order to prepare for his ministry. We must also rest. God commands it. I left the sermon somewhat frustrated. I WANT to rest. Sleep especially frustrates me. I WANT to sleep.
The beginning of Lent coincided with my realization that I was not sleeping. So as part of Lent practice, I decided to give up as much caffeine as possible, leaving me a sore headed zombie most days. The more I tried to sleep the less I did.

Everything hit a low point Sunday night. We've had sick kids rotating through a stomach bug for the last week. We've seen worse, but a groaning child on the couch does not encourage sleeping mothers. My second born was taking his turn, and my husband was heading out to a job site Monday morning. His wake up call would come at 1:30 am. I went to bed around 9:30. At 3:30 I was still staring at the clock. This was unusual even for me. Wide awake, 3:30. I was so hurried for sleep that I could not sleep.

I don't think I have a solution for this yet. Clearly. Last night I went to bed at 9:30 with a little help from my "sleep supplements". While I don't really remember waking my fitbit says I was restless 20 times for a total of 5 hrs 26 minutes asleep, and 4 hours 7 minutes restless/awake.

The only answer I have for myself is Grace. I've changed my diet, drastically cut out caffeine and am trying to limit screen exposure in the evenings. We recently changed our bedroom from a nonfunctional purple to a calm and soothing blue. My bed feels like a spa. There is nothing left to change. I simply can not hurry myself into rest. I'm only pushing myself deeper into anxiety and further away from my goal.

In psalm 4, the psalmist writes about the people frustrating him by worshiping false gods. He says in vs 4, to the people "Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be SILENT." How often do I instead search my heart and find noise? Noise of anxiety, noise of discontentment. Noise from ADHD. Then in verse 8 he says "I will both lie down and sleep, for you alone oh Lord make me dwell in safety." This last verse is one I know by heart and my boys repeat as "I will lie down and sleep for you God keep me safe". When they are afraid of storms or nightmares we repeat it until they can sleep again. I never noticed the connection to verse 4 before. The psalmist is comparing his confidence in his sleep to the discontented hearts of the people. Verse 6 he works out that "Many LORD are asking, "Who will bring us prosperity? Let the light of your face shine on us. Fill my heart with joy when THEIR grain and new wine abound." I could rewrite this as "Who or what will bring Emily sleep? Shine your light on us and fill my heart with joy when Emily closes her eyes and rests until she needs no more rest." Could sleep be as simple as laying down our current burden and expecting God to provide? Could sleep for me come simply by expecting God to eventually provide it and resting in his goodness until he does?

So today I will rest, but in a different way than I've been trying (and I don't mean by abandoning the melatonin or drinking a giant coffee with my dinner). I'm going to clean my kitchen, deep clean the tile like I've been meaning to for weeks and be thankful for a home. I'm going to finish the laundry mountain and be grateful for dressed children and cute fashions. I'm going to take a walk with the kids after dinner, and read them a chapter from their current read aloud before bed and see them for the gifts they are. I will read today's scripture from my bible in a year, even if I've missed the last six, and  I will choose not to carry anger at myself for not sleeping but instead repent for trying to hurry to make it happen on my own.