Lately I’ve been struggling with sleep. I can’t fall asleep at bedtime. I can’t fall back to sleep when I wake up at 2:00 am every. single. night. I don’t even have to look at the clock anymore when I wake up. I know it’s 2:00 am.
You too? Let me share with you two things I am doing to help with that.
The first thing I do is open up the Bible app on my phone. If you don’t have one, YouVersion is a popular Bible app. Then I navigate to the scriptures I would like to listen to. At 2:00 am, it’s often the Psalms. Then I press the play button at the bottom of the screen and let the narrator read scripture to me as I try to fall back asleep. It really helps!
Bonus, I often wake up with those scriptures in my mind the next morning.
And here’s the other thing. On nights when I am particularly anxious and having trouble going to sleep, a prayer that utilizes God’s gift of imagination often helps to settle my thoughts. I close my eyes and imagine a large field in front of me. Standing in the field are all the things bringing me anxiety, like current stressors in my life, confrontational moments, tension with loved ones, worry about the unknown ahead, or health concerns. Whatever is renting negative space in my head at the moment, I imagine those things standing in my field. Then I imagine a giant hand and forearm lowering down to the field from the sky. Slowly, but steadily, the forearm wipes all my worries on the field away. The field empties and the hand gently opens, revealing soft and gentle wings. I climb into them, curling up to rest in their protection as they fold over me.
In my imagination, the forearm, hand, and wings belong to God. I take several deep breaths and begin to meditate on scripture about God’s kindness and refuge. This simple prayer exercise helps me to remember that God’s refuge and kindness are more powerful than my anxiety.
In the Bible, God’s love for us is often depicted as “wings of refuge.” Here are some truths from my favorite verses about God’s loving wings of refuge:
- God’s wings hide us and keep us from harm. (Psalm 17:8)
- God’s wings provide mercy and refuge (Psalm 57:1)
- God’s wings offer a shelter of safety (Psalm 61:4)
- Protection under God’s wings gives us reason for joy. (Psalm 63:7)
- God’s wings offer us armor and protection. (Psalm 91:4)
When my story feels overwhelming, imagining God’s wings of refuge and kindness brings me great comfort.
If falling asleep tonight is difficult, listen to the Word of God being read over you, or imagine my wings of refuge prayer exercise. Or create one of your own.
God loves you so very much. And I am rooting for you.
*Portions of this email were taken from my Bible study, Renewed: Finding Hope When You Don’t Like Your Story. I researched the wings of God when writing Renewed. If today’s email resonates with you, I invite you to study the book of Ruth from Naomi’s perspective with me in Renewed. Order it here with 10% off using code NODUSTYBIBLES