Last week I barely slept at all. The tossing and turning began on Tuesday night. I went to bed at a decent hour but my mind was not at ease. On some level, I knew I was taking burdens to bed. The thing is: these weren’t even my burdens. They were burdens of friends, family members, and church sisters and brothers who confided in me. Sometimes I pray the words of Bob Pierce, “Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God” and sometimes I pray the words of Rom. 12: 15 so I might rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. There was a lot of mourning going on. I had been praying throughout the day, but did not pray before going to bed.
I’m starting to think this “pray without ceasing” thing is a literal need and responsibility. Praying keeps me humble. It reminds me that God is God and I am not. Most importantly, prayer allows me to take my burdens to the Lord and LEAVE them there. I was so tired that I spent the whole night trying to force myself back to sleep when I should have gotten up to pray. Better to lose one night’s rest than to lose the entire week’s worth.
There was another reason for my uneasiness. I had a message that needed to get out. I’ll be giving the message at our Women’s Mentoring Dinner in May. God had been speaking to me over the past few months on the topic of the message: love, but the words started to flow into me in the wee hours of the morning. Seriously, God? I don’t know why God gives me words in the most awkward situations, as he frequently does when I’m in the shower. Anyway, I found myself prioritizing other responsibilities and what I deemed more immediate needs throughout the day, while God continued speaking to me in the wee hours of the morning. God, you know this dinner is not until May right? And you do understand that I have other immediate needs. When we say to God, “not my will, but your will” (which I was singing several days last week), we need to mean it.
How quickly we forget that God is in control and his will shall be done when he messes with our personal agendas. While trying to understand my sleepless nights, it is as if God was saying to me, “When I tell you to do something, do it.” Then I was reminded of a message I heard in October where the speaker said, “Delayed obedience is disobedience.” I spent two restless nights trying to mentally hold on to the message God was giving me so that I would not forget it. By Thursday, I reasoned I needed to write this stuff down and I needed to do it quickly. Once I began putting the words to paper, sleep started to return to me.
The first time I had this experience was a few years ago when I started to get the idea, “Maybe I should write.” I attended a conference and had a conversation with a man who got my wheels turning concerning of all the possibilities of telling God’s story through the experiences of my life. Afterward, I could barely sleep for three weeks. I was up all night writing: writing those things that I thought, experienced, learned, feared. Writing reminded me of the different paths and turns my life had taken, most of which were not planned by me but are constant reminders that “[I am] God’s masterpiece created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for [me] to do (Eph 2: 10).” Writing reminds me that God is in charge of my life and he is going to work everything out for my good, so that everyday I am being conformed into the likeness of his son, Jesus. Writing may keep me up at night, but writing is another way I pray and commune with God.
How does God remind you that we are on his agenda? In what ways do you commune with God?
© Natasha S. Robinson 2012