“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is [near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” [Philippians 4:4-7]
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A comment to a recent post discussing spiritual warfare brought up the topic of sleep. There are times that the enemy seems able to mess with our ability to fall asleep, the content of our dreams or nightmares, our ability to stay in peaceful restful sleep, and the like. I was struck with the vivid reminder of how true all of that is, and how important is our ability to rest, renew, and refresh in peaceful sleep.
So this is a quick “How-To” post regarding peace and sleep. As per usual, while there are scriptural anchors to this, along with some traditional theology, this is not “authoritative” “finger-pointing” “take notes now, ’cause you gotta do it THIS way” stuff. This is just “here’s some stuff I’ve learned along the journey and if it helps you, use it… if it doesn’t fit, throw it away” stuff.
- Jesus is/was Son of Man, Son of God… both
- We, in His image, have physical and spiritual nature
- We, in His image, have will and creativity… imagination, ability to form and direct the mind in configurations we design
- We, in His image, are subject to “spiritual input of others” whether of darkness or of Light, and we can choose how to respond
- God is Our Father, Our Mother, Our Parent… neither abusive, nor neglectful
- NO ONE and NOTHING is more loving, powerful, and/or protective of us… than Our Father
- Sabbath is not only a command, but a blessing, a time for “trusting God with the care of ourselves and our stuff” without our own effort or help
- God is Light and in Him is no darkess
- Darkness cannot bear Light
OK, I could write an entire post (and often have), and more (and sometimes have) on EACH of those bullets… but not here, not now. If any one (or more) of them need more words from me… leave a comment or send an email.
The enemy can, at times, intrude on our thoughts and minds to prompt anxiety, stress, and restlessness. God, on the other hand, brings peace, trust, joy.
Before bed, take a few moments to prepare:
- “Count blessings” – Childish as it sounds, “enter His gates with thanksgiving” is real, true, and grown-up. You are preparing to “sleep like Samuel” in the Holy of Holies of the Temple that is you, your own life. Begin, simply with a heart of gratitude (“gratitude is foundational”, a friend of mine says… True ‘dat.)
- Leave worries outside the gate – Don’t deny or repress, just acknowledge all the stuff on the To Do list, pat them on the head, wish them a good night’s sleep, and resolve to see them tomorrow. For right now, you all need rest. They will manage without you for this time.
- Wash up to change clothes – We all accumulate “road dust” through our days. Without making any big deal of it, take some time to reflect and acknowledge those moments of the day where conscience prompts that “this could have been handled better”, and resolve to improve. No archaeology here… no deep digging… just the thanks for what was done well, acknowledgement that not all was done perfectly, and resolution to do better… in our role of “clear vessel” for Him in our days.
- Put on Your Night Robes – Draw onto your clean washed self, the fullness of your Private Interior Robes of the righteousness of Christ. He clothes you in His power, love, grace, and righteousness. Such clothing is embued with the very aroma of His grace and care. NOTHING can damage these, or pass their protection.
- Enter the Holy of Holies, and settle in for the night.
- Let Daddy tell you a bedtime story. Go to the Gospels, let the Spirit select a scene. Read it over, close your eyes. Use your sacred imagination to “apply the senses” to the scene. Envision it utterly, including sights, sounds, smells, textures, flavors… Then put yourself into the scene, AS A SMALL CHILD, hanging on to Jesus’ robes, or hand. When He sits down, climb into His lap and listen to Him speak.
- Let the Spirit do whatever the Spirit chooses, and let Jesus rock you to sleep in His arms, there by the fire after supper. (Btw, He often sings or hums.)
No mother bear ever so guarded her cubs, as He guards a child in His arms.
Over time, with practice, this becomes ever more fun. He not only guards His children with peace, but He starts taking them places in their dreams and sleep. And THERE, they can do extraordinary things together.
When threatened with violence by human authorities that were astonished by His lack of fear, He responded, “…do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” [Matthew 26:53]
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“Well!” one could say, “If we can do all this… Why isn’t EVERY night like this?! If THIS is what God intends in sleep, why hasn’t it ever happened to me before NOW??!!”
Um, it kinda depends on where we choose to sleep, dunnit? I myself, used to sleep in the scrub… at the mercy of every passing weasel and wolf. Then I figured out that I had my own “fortifications” available, and I used that. My own mansion, prayer closet, chamber. I knew I could hedge and post angels, and I did that for a long time.
Why didn’t I sleep in His arms? Um, ’cause nobody told me it was OK. Sounds dumb, I know… the Bible screams it at us constantly, but frankly… I thought it would be too “bold”, too “forward”, too “irreverent”. But then, one day I paid some serious attention to Samuel as a child in 1 Samuel 3, and found myself thinking/praying, “Wow, how neat would it be to have slept in the Holy of Holies with the Ark?”
God challenged me to try it. We actually LIVE in the presence of the Ark. The Ark dwells within us. The Holy Spirit within us occupies the Mercy Seat.
So… things have never been quite the same.
As to “night terrors” I shall say only this. The Immediate Presence of God is Light… no darkness. Darkness cannot enter that space. Evil, sin, cannot enter that space (just ask Nadab and Abihu). WE can enter that space because of the cleansing we have undergone in Jesus.
Use Superpowers… will, co-creation… following the prompts of Holy Spirit… and try an evening sleeping there.
Let me know how that goes…
Grace to thee — The Little Monk
P.S. This may help…