I ended last week’s blog with the image of Jesus asleep in a boat on a storm tossed sea. He could sleep because his faith was in the God He knew well enough to trust.
All week I have talked with people about sleep deprivation and its effects on our bodies. I heard stories involving serious health issues, tragic divorce, and mental breakdowns. I am now convinced that how we handle the stresses and storms of life is directly related to our level of trust in God Almighty.
I spent the bulk of my early years a work alcoholic perfectionist and addicted to caffeine. Twenty years ago this month, God convicted me of that destructive lifestyle. The first step was to give up all caffeine. I went cold turkey while I was taking two accelerated courses at WVU graduate school. He gave me the assignment and the test simultaneously.
I have never liked the smell or taste of coffee so therefore my addiction was fed by Dr. Pepper , sweet tea, and chocolates. I was never without. Therefore the withdrawal headache was in direct proportion to my addiction. Imagine that? 😉
I had lied to myself that I needed caffeine to wake up and to keep me going throughout the long days. God proved to me that I needed only Him. I was much like the disciples who were convinced that they needed all hands on deck or they would die. Jesus proved them wrong too.
I can remember my caffeine fueled days and especially the nights. I tossed and turned for hours fretting over my day, agonizing over my past, worrying about my tomorrows, planning my future, and daydreaming my fantasies. I assumed that without my micro-managing skills that my life would be more stressful than it already was. Considering the roller coaster life I was enduring, the fear of a spiral plunge into utter despair terrified me.
The opposite was true. I began to sleep soundly each night and awakened with renewed energy and sharper clarity. I stopped experiencing the highs and lows throughout the day that are so often evident with addictions. I became steady and assured. I discovered a new confidence and peace. I was euphoric. I love this word. Its synonyms are: overjoyed, elated, ecstatic, exhilarated, blissful, over the moon. J All of which are the opposite of despairing.
In those few weeks, I learned that without sleep (faith), it is impossible to please God.
God is pleased when we are willing to trust Him in every arena of our lives. What are some things that you believe you need each day to survive? What is controlling your body? Are you willing to let them go and trust in Him alone?
Once my sleep deprived brain was healed and my faith level was growing, then He began to expose a few more lies that were ruling over me. He replaced them with His truth.
- I am not necessary. God does not need me to accomplish anything. My skills are irrelevant to the survival of my family, my church, my career, and even my own life.
- God is all that is necessary. He is in sovereign authority over the universe. His hand is what will save my family, my church, my career, and even my own life.
- When I yield to Him, He will micro-manage me.
I am smiling now. Sure hope you are too.
Resting in the All-loving, Omnipresent, Omnipotent, merciful Good Shepherd to calm our storms is a sweet way to live. We would all agree. But why don’t we all live in such blissful peace? See if you can discern the root from the following examples.
- We say we are going to trust and not say another word about it, but at the next confrontation, we explode.
- We say His way is best and we will wait for Him to direct, but we conceive our own plan, just in case.
- We lay it at His feet in prayer and walk away, but at the first sign of crisis, we grab hold again.
- We say we will leave that destructive relationship or sinful habit, but at the first temptation we run right back into its outstretched arms.
- We recommit our days to the Word and prayer but soon the desires of this world edge Him out of our focus.
- We say He is our Lord and Master of our choices yet we ask everyone we know for advice instead of Him.
- We say we will trust Him to provide all our needs but we fret when we don’t have enough and we broadcast our needs until someone comes to our rescue.
The only true source of all these failures is our own pride. We try to blame the temptations of this world. But the truth is, we really believe we can do it better than God. If we will daily confess our pride then we will have front row seats to what He can and will do in our storms.
We may not be necessary but oh, are we ever loved. He doesn’t need us but He wants us. Yield to Him. Trust Him. Learn to sleep through the storms trusting in the God you can know well.
Father, set me free from the addictions of this world and show me the pride that holds me bound to the storm tossed seas. You alone are God and I want to trust in You.
Next week we will move on to Key #2: Unlocking the Isolated Mind.